Montgomery County communities to hold various volunteer opportunities in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Credit: Getty Images

On Jan. 16, people around the country will come together in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. In Montgomery County, there are celebrations and plenty of volunteer opportunities, from assembling food boxes for Meals on Wheels, to helping animals in need. Here are some of the ways to take part:

Volunteer Center service: The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is hosting its annual MLK Day of Service from noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road in North Bethesda. Activities include packing food for those in need, constructing fleece blankets for hospice patients and assembling “Snow Day” boxes for Meals on Wheels.

County concert: Montgomery County is hosting its annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday tribute and celebration from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Music Center at Strathmore. The free event, “We Are Martin,” will feature special guests, performing artists and a 200-student chorus from Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School. The free tickets can be reserved on the Strathmore’s website.

Gaithersburg week of service: The City of Gaithersburg celebrates and honors King’s legacy during a Week of Service, Jan. 16 to Jan. 23. An official proclamation recognizing King and encouraging participation in service projects that strengthen the community and foster a spirit of equality and inclusiveness was made by Mayor Jud Ashman at the Gaithersburg Mayor and City Council meeting on Jan. 3, according to a news release from the city. Visit the city’s website to explore opportunities for the Week of Service. 

The Metropolitan Ballet Theatre presents the world premiere of Day of Service, an original work honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and the National Day of Service program, Jan. 16 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Arts Barn. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 the day of and $8 for ages 10 and younger. Tickets can be purchased online.

The Gaithersburg Youth Club will host a Day of Service Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will help create a mural for the club. Registration is $15 for club members and $20 for nonmembers. Participants can register online.


Rockville celebration and week of service: Rockville presents its 51st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Jan. 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Richard Montgomery High School Auditorium. There will also be service opportunities in Rockville throughout the week, including creating winter kits for unsheltered veterans, partnering with Project Linus to make blankets for sick children and a Weed Warriors invasive plant pull at a city park. For a full list of volunteer opportunities, visit the Rockville Reports website.

Volunteer options: Soulfull Café and Main Street Connect, the inclusive community and café in downtown Rockville, is offering community members three ways to give back on Jan. 16. Participants can write cards to patients at Children’s National Medical Center, make dog toys for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue or prepare a meal for Stepping Stones Shelter.

Volunteers can write cards and make dog toys from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the cafe. Main Street Members will also prepare meals that afternoon in Main Street’s “Poppy Boy’s Kitchen” (the meal preparation is open to Main Street Members only). Participants can register on Main Street Connect’s website. (Main Street’s founder and executive director, Jillian Copeland, owns Bethesda Beat and Bethesda Magazine with her husband, Scott.)