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5 Ways You Can Honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy Today

Here are five ways you can help those in need across Chicago today.

Shovel volunteers during Saturday's winter storm.
My Block, My Hood, My City

CHICAGO — Have the day off today? Here are a few ways you can honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — who is the reason you’re off in the first place. 

Donate Children’s Items: If you’ve been tidying up since the start of the new year, put some of that unused stuff to good use. Help Cradles to Crayons celebrate MLK Day of Service by donating new and like-new children’s items on Monday until 1 p.m. Specifically, they’re looking for new and like-new winter coats (size newborn to adult medium), winter boots (size newborn to adult 10), warm clothing (size newborn to youth 18/20 or adult medium), toys, (ages 0-12), books (ages 0-12). View the full guidelines and drop-off locations here.

Show Up For Shelter Animals: The Anti-Cruelty Society invites pet-lovers to their Downtown shelter, 157 W. Grand Ave., for a day of service in honor of Dr. King. Participants will have the chance to prep supplies for animals while also meeting some of the dogs and cats in our care. Behind-the-scenes tours will also be available. Show up for an hour or stay all day.  For more information, click here.

Last year’s Teacher Swap Circle netted 10 tons of items that helped 500 teachers spruce up their classrooms. (Photo; Chicago Creative Reuse Exchange)

Help Teachers: If you’re the owner of a Chicago-area business with stuff to give away, the Chicago Creative Reuse Exchange can use your help. The collective is accepting donations for its fourth Teacher Swap Circle, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 19-23 at the Envision Frick Center, 2124 W. 82nd Place. The Swap Circle will also be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26. “Lots of teachers spend out of pocket for basic supplies, so this is about helping people who have their boots on the ground and kids who love to learn,” said Barbara Koenen, executive director of Chicago Creative Reuse Circle. Read more about how to help here. 

Help Your Neighbor Shovel: On Saturday, volunteers from across Chicago showed up on the 79th Street to join My Block, My Hood, My City in shoveling for elderly South Side residents. You sign up to be part of the M3 Snow Shoveling crew here — or just keep an eye out for neighbors who could use a hand on your block. Can’t shovel? You can make a donation to M3 here to help them buy shovels, salt and other supplies. 

Create Toiletry Bags For Those In Need: The Institute for Nonviolence Chicago and Friends Who March are hosting an event at Friendship Baptist Church, 5200 W. Jackson Blvd. where they will discuss the nonviolence work they’re currently doing and put together toiletry bags for those in need. Volunteers are asked to bring men & women’s deodorant; shampoo and conditioner; toothbrushes; toothpaste, soap; body wash; lotion; combs and brushes. The event will run from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m. For more information, click here.