MLK Day of Service Mini Grant Awards

The Virginia Service Foundation awarded 11 mini grants to organizations honoring Dr. King’s legacy through community service. Projects will take place on or around January 16th, 2023.

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

On Monday, Jan. 16 and the days surrounding, we invite you to join one of our grantees, or organize a project of your own, to:

  • engage with your community and create constructive action;
  • act on Dr. King’s legacy of social justice and equity; and
  • recommit by volunteering to serve others.

Find a Volunteer Opportunity

Sign up with one of the projects listed below, or use the AmeriCorps Volunteer Search, powered by VolunteerMatch, to find an opportunity near you.

2023 Mini Grant Awardees

Aspire! Afterschool Learning — Arlington

Every day, the team at Aspire! serves over 120 students from marginalized communities, connecting students and families with the resources and support to help them thrive. In honor of Dr. King’s idea of a “beloved community”, Aspire! will gather community members through a “Listen and Learn” session with Volunteer Arlington and a service project in collaboration with Eco-Action Arlington. Through the Listen and Learn session, Aspire! will engage community members in a dialogue about educational equity, and the academic challenges facing students in Arlington. Afterwards, participants and volunteers will participate in a park and stream clean-up, helping to protect a resource often utilized by Aspire! students.

Want more details about the Listen and Learn session or park clean up? Contact Kristy Milburn at Aspire! (

Chesterfield Food Bank Outreach Center — Chester

Every January, the Chesterfield Food Bank Outreach Center holds a special food distribution in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, promoting his principles of civic-mindedness and community empowerment. Volunteers provide immediate food relief through helping organize and pack donations for the Food on the Move program. In collaboration with Journey Christian Church, this food distribution will provide fresh, nutritious food and nonperishables to residents in need. Volunteers will bag four days’ worth of groceries, including fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, canned food, pantry items (cereal, beans, rice), and bakery goods.

Sign up to volunteer here, or contact Kim Hill for more information (

CRi — Arlington

CRi, Choice. Respect. independence. (formerly known as Community Residences, Inc.), is a community based organization with a focused effort on providing people with developmental disabilities and/or mental health needs the resources, supports and services they need to live their lives with purpose, actively engaged in communities of their choosing. We believe in serving individuals within the communities in which they live and supporting the individual’s choices and independence. CRi, in collaboration with Volunteer Arlington, is planning an in-person service project for MLK Day, Monday, January 16. Volunteers will create over 350 foam Valentines cards complete with a sweet treat. These valentines are specially designed for individuals of all abilities to enjoy, and engage volunteers of all ages. This project, like all of CRi’s work, embodies the teachings of Dr. King of embracing our differences and building community.

Join CRi on January 16th, or contact Janet at CRi to learn how you can get involved.

Dan River Year AmeriCorps — Danville

AmeriCorps members serving across the Dan River Region will come together to support community members participating in the Healthy Families program offered by Danville Pittsylvania Community Services. Volunteers will build diaper cakes using donated diapers to support new parents, and embody the compassion that is central to Dr. King’s legacy.

Interested in learning more about AmeriCorps in the Dan River Region? Contact Dana Silicki at

Emory & Henry College, Health Sciences Campus — Marion

Emory & Henry students will volunteer across fifteen different non-profit agencies in the Smyth County, volunteering alongside students from other academic programs and staff and faculty. The participants will begin the day by reflecting on Dr. King’s legacy and the choice to designate the day as a national day of service. At the end of the day, participants will reassemble for a time of reflection and a closing program that will focus on the importance of Dr. King’s work to healthcare providers.

To learn more, contact Tracey Wright at

Elkton Area United Services Food Pantry — Elkton

Since 1972, Elkton Area United Services has served residents and visitors to eastern Rockingham County with comprehensive social services to meet a variety of critical community needs. In honor of the MLK Day of Service, volunteers will gather and engage in civic reflection while helping others. Volunteers will pack over 50 food boxes for families and seniors, extending the mission of Elkton US.

To get involved, email or call 540-298-8685.

Virginia Peninsula Food Bank — Hampton

With nearly 55,000 food insecure individuals in their service area – 20,800 of whom are children – Virginia Peninsula Foodbank serves communities with one of the highest rates of food insecurity in Virginia. The BackPack Program, supported by volunteers that prepare the bags, is designed for students on free and reduced lunch programs in elementary schools across the Peninsula. Volunteers pack these food bags and deliver them to school sites for the students to take home on the weekends when they don’t have access to their school’s lunch program. To celebrate the MLK Day of service, the Foodbank will enlist the help of volunteers to fill 28 BackPack food bags for students to start the year with full bellies.

For more information about volunteering, visit the Food Bank’s website here.

King of Kings Lutheran Church — Fairfax

In celebration of Dr. King’s vision for a “beloved community”, volunteers will make toiletry kits for the Dulles South Food Pantry. The kits will contain toiletry items such as shampoo, conditioner, dental floss, toothpaste, soap, etc. These kits will be packed and given to the pantry to distribute to families in need. The service project and reflection on Dr. King’s legacy will inspire the volunteers, and promote faith and hope across the community.

For more information, contact Garrett Wolf, Mission Pastor, at

Kids Give Back — Fairfax

For the third year running, Kids Give Back will host their annual “Volunteer for Valentines” event. On January 22, Kids Give Back will host a virtual event where to assemble Valentine gifts for senior citizens who are served by local nonprofits. Attendees will receive supplies to make sock “cupcakes” that are packaged with a Valentine’s card. Every Kids Give Back project begins with discussions about why volunteering is important, and reflection on many of the beliefs espoused by Dr. King. Children as young as six-years-old volunteer, and all get the chance to discuss how small gifts can make a big difference. The end of each project also includes time for reflection so that participants can share how the volunteering made them feel and other ideas for continuing to serve the community.

To sign up, visit Kids Give Back here

Volunteer Fairfax — Fairfax

Volunteer Fairfax is proud to offer a weekend of activities for the community to treat MLK Day as a “day on, not a day off.” Volunteer Fairfax will host and promote many volunteer service opportunities for all ages to ensure that families, teens, and grandparents share in the ethic of volunteerism and service to our communities. Through a community conversation, Valentines Challenge, and family friendly volunteer opportunities, everyone is invited to lend a hand and make a difference.

To learn more and see the full schedule, visit Volunteer Fairfax online here.

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