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Volunteers Make Big Impact at MLK Day of Service 

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
January 22, 2020
Volunteers at table writing notes of encouragement on cards at MLK Day of Service at Cleaver YMCA.

More than 1,450 volunteers participated in family-friendly service projects at five Ys across the metro for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 20, 2020. As part of the Y’s focus on social responsibility, the events encouraged all ages to give back in the spirit of Dr. King and make it a day “on,” rather a day “off” from work or school.

The Cleaver Family YMCA, Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center, Olathe Family YMCA, Platte County Community Center South and Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center hosted events. Check out photos in our online album.

Thanks to all of our volunteers and partners for joining us in our cause to strengthen the community! Special guests included Kansas City Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas and U.S. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver at the Cleaver Family YMCA, and U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers, and Kansas State Rep. Stephanie Sawyer Clayton at the Olathe Family YMCA.


A range of activities to address a variety of community needs included: 

  • 9 sleeping mats out of plastic grocery bags for homeless people (these “Beds of Bags” typically take a skilled maker seven hours to complete)
  • 1,500 notes of encouragement written for neighbors in need, including military families, patients and families in hospice care and students preparing for state tests
  • 850 care and supply bags assembled, including first aid bags for the homeless, blessing bags with toiletries and snacks for the homeless, and birthday bags for children in need 
  • 300 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made for the hungry
  • 400 toys made for pets in shelters

Partner organizations included:

  • Amethyst House
  • Bed of Bags
  • Care Beyond the Boulevard
  • City Union Mission
  • Friends of the Parkville Animal Shelter
  • Lakemary Center
  • Hospice of Olathe
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Kansas City Public Schools
  • KC Pet Project
  • Operation Breakthrough
  • The Starfish Project
  • Veterans Community Project


Looking for additional ways to get involved? Volunteer opportunities are available through the Y throughout the year. Learn more about our Togetherhood program that connects Y members to service projects, or explore our volunteer project catalog for a complete list of volunteer opportunities available through the Y.