Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service? It is done so that we can encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”

Jesus reminded His disciples of this principle that night in the upper room when He washed their feet. Look at these powerful words…

” You call me Teacher and Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:13-16).

With Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service approaching (on January 17) and our collective desire to KNOW our neighbors and communities through the #LovePASJ initiative, here are 10 SUGGESTIONS you can use to get to know your neighbors and serve your community:

10. Pick up litter, trash, or debris in your neighborhood or community – and enlist others to help.

9. Have a food drive for a local ministry – make your house the drop-off point.

8. Donate gently used clothes or household items to local charities – make your house the drop-off point.

7. Perform random acts of kindness – shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk, provide meals to others, or take a bag of groceries to someone in need.

6. Volunteer to read books, magazines, or play games to seniors at a residential care facility.

5. Host a teddy bear and stuffed animal drive to donate to a hospital or homeless shelter.

4. Make hygiene kits for the homeless – include items, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, and sanitizers.

3. Host a bake-off – make a pile of cookies and treats and deliver to a local police or fire station and thank them for their service.

2. Prayerwalk your neighborhood – look, listen and learn ways you can serve.

1. Find a local ministry or organization where you can volunteer and serve.

Learn other ways to love our neighbors in Pennsylvania and South Jersey at www.lovepasj.com.