Though Monday, Jan. 20 is a holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for many it will be “a day on, not a day off.”
Across the nation, people will celebrate the day by volunteering to make their communities better places to live. Montgomery County is no exception.
The County and several churches, schools and volunteer organizations have volunteer opportunities planned.
The County program will be held from 1-3 p.m. Monday at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda.
Participants can choose from any of several service projects, many suitable for all ages, such as creating greeting cards, packaging food boxes for the elderly, even putting together fleece blankets for those in need of warmth.
There will be a volunteer fair as part of the activities, allowing residents to learn about the County’s many year-round volunteer opportunities and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Tri Sigma Alumni Chapter will collect coats for those in need at the site.
Registration is required for all activities at the Marinelli Center. Visit montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer center to register.
Montgomery Parks also announced volunteer opportunities for MLK Day Monday.
“Volunteers play a critical role in keeping our parks clean and safe. Each year, during Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Montgomery Parks hosts between 10 to 15 park and stream cleanups,” said Henry Coppola, Montgomery Parks Volunteer Services Coordinator. “Cleanups are a great opportunity for people of all ages to get out into their local parks and make a direct impact to their neighborhoods and the environment. The cleanups are also a chance to learn about how our actions affect downstream waterways including the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.”
Opportunities in the parks include removing trash or non-native invasive plants at various parks and trails throughout the county to see if cleanup will be happening at a favorite park, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org/MLK.
Close to Potomac, Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Blvd., will host a drop-in volunteer opportunity from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for individuals or families to work on projects to improve the nature center grounds. All the projects are outdoors, and participants should dress appropriately for the weather. The projects are approved for Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. Volunteers under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Montgomery Parks began organizing MLK Jr. Day of Service clean-ups in 2012. Since then, more than 2,623 volunteers have removed more than 47 tons of trash and recyclables from parkland, according to a press release.
A list of all MLK Day of Service volunteer opportunities can be found at www.MontgomeryParks.org/MLK.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Operating Hours and Programming
The following facilities will be closed on Monday, January 20, 2020:
Montgomery Parks Headquarters and Permits Office
Brookside Gardens Visitors Center and Conservatory (Gardens remain open sunrise to sunset)
Meadowside Nature Center
Brookside Nature Center
Locust Grove Nature Center (Closed to visitors unless they are participating in a scheduled program)
Black Hill Visitor Center and Nature Programs
Visit MontgomeryParks.org for complete operating hours for all facilities.
A selection of activities available during the holiday weekend include:
Search for stars and planets while sipping hot chocolate at a Star Party at Agricultural History Farm Park.
Draw inspiration from nature and make art work from recycled materials to be displayed at Black Hill Visitors Center.
Join fellow adults on a winter birding excursion at Black Hill Regional Park.
Bring your children to a nature-themed Sunday Storytime at Brookside Nature Center.
Get a jump on summer planning at the Summer Camp and Skating Expo at Cabin John Ice Arena or Wheaton Ice Arena.
Grab your racquet and hit the courts at Wheaton Indoor Tennis or Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center.