“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way,” wrote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s an excellent guiding principle, especially as we celebrate his birthday in January.

During the month of January, Americans across the country step up to make communities more equitable and take action to create the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream. A Beloved Community is a community where everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger, and hate. While Dr. King believed the Beloved Community was possible, he acknowledged and fought for systemic change. His example is our call to action.

MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. Over the last quarter-century, volunteerism around MLK Day has grown, and its impact increased as more Americans embraced the idea that citizenship involves taking an active role in improving communities.

Together, we can strengthen ties to our neighborhoods and one another while addressing the critical issues that divide us.

United Way of Greater Lorain County has made acts of service a central part of its programming for more than a century. Most recently, through the Collect.Sort.Deliver. Impact Initiative, volunteers have collected, inventoried, and delivered high-need items directly to Lorain County residents.

In 2022 alone, over 1,400 volunteer service hours were spent assisting valuable United Way initiatives. Numerous community members pitched in to organize literacy kits that were distributed to Lorain County children—a crucial step in preparing kids for kindergarten. And United Way urges you to visit the website and sign up for upcoming volunteer activities to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his message during the month of January and beyond.

This is what Dr. King had in mind when he talked about a Beloved Community. United Way of Greater Lorain County understands that no matter where we were born, the color of our skin, or the size of our bank account, we are all interconnected. Our individual well-being is inextricably linked to the well-being of others.

So, whether it’s cleaning gently used books to distribute around the county, or assembling literacy kits for our local education collaboratives, small acts of service are meaningful and help establish a Beloved Community for all.

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