53 Acts of Kindness to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

With thoughtful gestures, the University community remembers the civil rights leader.

When the Rev. Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke at Jefferson in 2018, she asked the audience to perform acts of kindness to honor her father’s memory.

The Office of Student Engagement continues this tradition for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year, they compiled 53 acts of kindness shared by the University community—one for each year since Dr. King’s tragic death in 1968. Louise McShane, community service coordinator on East Falls Campus, will share this list with Dr. Bernice King:

1. I sent a card to my friend who’s quarantining to tell her I miss seeing her.

2. I participated in our neighborhood empty lot clean-up and met a few new neighbors.

3. My family and I helped with updates on our neighbor’s home since he recently became wheelchair-bound.

4. We made Valentine’s Day decorations for the residents in our area’s assisted living facility.

5. I went to the local park and cleaned up the trash.

Volunteer in yellow gloves collects garbage

6. My brother and I cleaned out the junk from my neighbor’s backyard because he can’t lift heavy things anymore.

7. I purchased groceries and delivered them to a local grandmom who’s raising her grandchildren.

8. I donated to an area homeless shelter in the amount of my stimulus check.

9. My sister and I cooked dinner for our neighbors since they’re not supposed to use their oven anymore.

10. I let someone else take the last parking spot in the shopping center.

cars in the parking lot

11. I bought my friend an electric blanket since she cannot really afford her heating bill and she gets cold easily.

12. I baked cupcakes for people at our outdoor clean-up event.

13. My dad and I built handrails and grab bars for his uncle.

14. I went with my friends to Philabundance to pack food for the hungry and to try to see Joe Biden.

15. I left a thank you card and gift card for my postman in his mail truck and signed it from everyone on our street.

16. I did my brother’s laundry, and his socks are really smelly!

Clothes in laundry basket

17. I sent a thank you letter to Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who led the angry mob away from the Senate chambers. I let him know how much that meant to me and my family.

18. I knitted hats with my grandma for babies in the intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

19. I made blessings bags for a hospice in Center City to share with people experiencing homelessness.

20. My friend got into a fight with their friend and messaged me about it. I let them vent even though I was emotionally drained due to issues going on around me. I validated their feelings and provided the best advice I could. I care about the friendship of my friend and, hopefully, my presence helped.

21. I paid for the meal of the person behind me at the drive-through.

22. I cleaned out my bookshelves and donated the books to the neighborhood Little Free Library.

23. I helped my neighbor carry her groceries in from her car.

24. I volunteered to read the paperwork people needed to sign before getting their COVID-19 vaccine if they couldn’t read or understand it.

25. My friend and I made thank you cookies for my cousin in the military and sent extras to share with his friends.

stack of cookies

26. I dropped off a large Thermos of hot chocolate, marshmallows and cups to the medical staff at our community hospital.

27. I bought and decorated hand sanitizers for everybody in my neighbor’s senior church group.

28. I organized a group of my neighbors to write thank you notes for our sanitation workers. Lots of them baked treats and gifted them with drinks as well.

29. I volunteered to sing at church at our parish’s MLK Day tribute.

30. I read books virtually online to my little cousins and their friends, so my aunt could rest since she had a migraine.

31. My friend and I made thank you posters and gave them out to our local pharmacist, corner store owner, bank teller and post office worker.

32. I left a bouquet of flowers at my neighbor’s front door since she lives alone and has been really lonely for a long time.

bouquet of lavender flowers

33. I collected blankets from my family and friends and brought them to a homeless shelter.

34. I helped my dad clean out my parents’ attic.

35. I donated blood, and I hate needles.

36. I gave the gift card that I received for Christmas to somebody I know needs it more than I do.

37. I painted positivity rocks and delivered them to the front gardens of a neighborhood where many new immigrants live.

38. I helped a stranger on the side of the road change her flat tire.

39. I called my friend’s grandparents to see if they’re OK.

40. I made dinner for my family for the first time and brought the leftovers to my neighbor.

41. I walked my neighbor’s dog since he just got a cast on his leg.

puppy on a leash

42. I held open the door for more than 20 people.

43. I donated diapers to our local women’s shelter.

44. I called a church member who’s going through difficult times and shared Bible verses with her.

45. My friends and I cleaned out our closets and donated clothes to local families who recently lost their jobs.

46. I contacted the supervisor of my cashier to tell him what an awesome employee he has and how he deserves a promotion or a raise.

47. I gave the blanket from my bed to a man sleeping on a bench in our local park.

48. I helped my middle school neighbor with his algebra homework because he’s been failing math online this year.

49. My friend and her mom have been fighting for a long time and haven’t spoken to each other lately. I asked my friend if I could call her mom and just let her talk. She said yes. I think they might talk to each other soon.

50. I bought an extra meal at lunchtime and gave it to the person sitting outside of Wawa.

51. My roommate and I cleaned all our neighbors’ windshields of their cars parked on our street.

52. I left positive sticky notes at every place I ran errands.

53. I paid for the lemonade of everybody in line at the lemonade stand one of our neighbors set up as an MLK Day fundraiser. That left them with more money to donate to the pediatric cancer research fundraiser. It made everyone smile under their masks.

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