Just because we have the day off from work doesn't mean we should waste it wallowing in Chinese takeout on the sofa. In honor of Dr. King's enormous contribution to making dreams into realities, the MLK Day of Service provides hundreds of opportunities to put that extra time off (if you're so lucky) to good use. As the good doctor once said, "Everybody can be great…because everyone can serve." Even couch potatoes like us. And whether your propensity for greatness lies in cleaning up community gardens, painting over murals, or delivering meals, there's a bevy of ways to serve. Get to it, ATL:
For aspiring green thumbs:
Here's your chance to play in the dirt. For Truly Living Well's King Day, volunteers will plant trees, paint rain barrels, and more to help maintain the Wheat Street community garden—located in the very community where Dr. King himself grew up, we might add. Closing the gap between food and the land it comes from, Truly Living Well connects through education, training and demonstrating successful, natural urban agriculture. The name of this game is edible landscaping, empowering people to grow their own food and encouraging healthy eating and a unified community.
For would-be muralists:
Remember the days when the kindergarten teacher would pull out all the craft supplies and let you go to town? Well, this is sort of like that—only instead of fine-tuning your fingerpainting expertise, you're helping intrepid West Atlanta whippersnappers on their path to collegiate success. Volunteers at KIPP Collegiate will be painting murals inside the tuition-free, public charter high school that's working to help students achieve success in high school, college, and beyond.
For those who believe that food = love:
Sharing a good meal with friends and loved ones is always an experience worth treasuring. But even more special? Sharing a good, freshly cooked meal with someone who truly needs it. Project Open Hand has delivered 20 million fresh, nutritious meals to those who need it since their 1988 inception—and on this day of service, they're inviting Atlantans (at least those of us with driver's licenses) to chip in.
For those who like to do a little beerin' with their volunteerin':
Founded in 2012, Community Bucket works to make Atlanta a better place, one beer-fueled project at a time. And we're of the opinion that their "Service Made Social" model — meet up, do good and move on to down some post-volunteering brews and noms — can't really be beat. Join up with the crew this Monday, put in an honest day's work of good-doing, make some new friends, then toast to it all at Monday Night Brewing that evening.