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National Day of Service

On Monday, January 18, we will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a National Day of Service. As we reflect on all that Dr. King accomplished in his life, I hope we recognize his dedication to serving others and strive to follow in his footsteps. Let us remember that Dr. King not only fought boldly for equality and opportunity for all, he focused on how he could best serve all Americans.

Every day, the Federal workforce fulfills its mission to serve the American people and gives back to communities throughout the nation. Whether it’s donating hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and household items to food banks all over the country, or donating millions of dollars to charities through the Combined Federal Campaign, Federal employees live up to the challenge Dr. King issued to all of us.

January 13th - Graphic with grey background. An image of Martin Luther King Jr. inside of a bright colorful diamond with bars that reads: Make IT A DAY ON, DAY OF SERVICE, NOT DAY OFF and MLK JR. Headline: Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only Federal holiday observed as a national day of service- a 'day on, not a day off.' Footer: MLKDAY.GOv, #MLKDAY.

MLK Day builds on that spirit of generosity. It is the only Federal holiday observed as a National Day of Service and is a day when we can all pledge to come together as a tribute to Dr. King’s legacy. He encouraged us to think of others by contributing our time and talents to serving others.

In 1957, Dr. King told an audience in Montgomery, Alabama, that, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Each one of us can help answer his question by pledging to serve next week. And by doing so, we will stand with him and honor his dedication to public service. Visit www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday to find out how you can volunteer to make a difference on the MLK Day of Service and throughout the year. Ask a friend, family member, or co-worker to join you on this special day.

In his 2015 MLK Day proclamation, the President said, “As we honor his legacy, Americans across the country will join one another for a day of service, picking up the baton handed to us by past generations and carrying forward their efforts. As one people, we will show when ordinary citizens come together to participate in the democracy we love, justice will not be denied.”

These words echo Dr. King’s philosophy and express the importance and the potential of the National Day of Service. Let us use Dr. King’s example of service to guide us as we continue to serve. By continuing to make service a part of our daily lives, we can help make Dr. King’s dream come alive.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong believer in service to others and to our nation. That is why every January, in honor of his birthday, hundreds of thousands of Americans come together for a National Day of Service to recognize Dr. King’s life and legacy.  

As public servants, Federal employees already know the power of working for others. The MLK Day of Service gives us an opportunity to come together with family, friends, and neighbors to give something back to our communities and to those less fortunate than we are.

Every day, I see firsthand the incredible generosity of Federal employees. Every summer, they give hundreds of thousands of pounds of canned goods and other non-perishable items to food pantries at times when it’s needed most. And they donate millions of dollars to charities through the annual Combined Federal Campaign. So I know service to others is hardly a difficult sell to our Federal family.

That is why I hope many of you will find some way to volunteer in your community on Monday, January 19. Visit www.mlkday.gov to find a project that interests you or to promote your own. Opportunities in communities all across the country range from tutoring students and mentoring at-risk youth to working to protect the environment to assisting veterans and the military. I know that everyone can find a service project that matches his or her interests, time, and abilities.

By putting the core American principles of citizenship and service into action and by addressing local challenges, together we can help make our country a better place.

I hope that the MLK Day of Service can be the spark that leads people to get involved in their communities all year long. During the past year, more than 1-in-4 Americans did volunteer work. Altogether, 62.6 million Americans gave nearly 7.7 billion hours of their time, which represented an estimated economic value of $173 billion. That’s incredibly powerful. Become a part of that movement. Take the MLK Day Challenge and pledge to serve not only one day, but throughout the entire year by visiting www.serve.gov.

“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve,” Dr. King said of the value of giving back. Help us to continue to celebrate that legacy. Even one day of community service can make a difference.

Enjoy your day!

Martin Luther King Jr image with the text What Are You Doing to Serve? www.mlkday.gov

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