MLK Day of Service

As we aspire “to grow in love of God and neighbor” here at Plymouth, how can each of us honor Reverend Dr. King’s legacy?

Martin Luther King Jr Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

With schools and employers taking the day off, we invite you to consider using this day as a time to “practice radical love” in a tangible and meaningful way outside the walls of the church.

Check out the list below to find a project that interests you! Sign up on Church Center here, or contact Erin Riker at

Brought to you by the Board of Christian Social Action and Board of Benevolences.

In-Person Volunteer Activities on Monday, January 16

1. Des Moines Refugee Support — January 16, 12-2 p.m.
This local nonprofit identifies and bridges gaps for refugee families as they establish their new lives in Iowa. Their work focuses on filling immediate and basic needs, early education, activities, and empowering teenagers.

  • Volunteers will help with sorting and organizing donated baby items; putting together a collection of items to be gifted to refugee families who are expecting babies soon.


2. Food Bank of Iowa — January 16, 1:20-4 p.m.

  • Volunteers will work together in the warehouse to label, count and box donated food for distribution.


3. Children & Families Urban Movement (CFUM) — January 16, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
CFUM’s mission is to create a community that supports the potential of children, youth, and families through educational success, healthy living, and community engagement. Their initiatives are centered in the Riverbend Neighborhood in Des Moines.

  • Plymouth’s Welcoming Migrants Committee will be cooking and serving a meal for CFUM’s Supper Club, which takes place each weekday evening at Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church.
  • Space is limited, but we will be organizing additional dates throughout the year. If you are interested in learning more about this activity, please contact Erin Riker.


In-Person Volunteer Activity on Saturday, January 21

Not available on MLK Day? No problem! Here is another opportunity to serve.

Packing meals for Plymouth Food Buddies — January 21, 4:30 p.m.
Since 2017, this program has provided non-perishable, healthy, and easy-to-prepare meals for children with a need for food. The meals are delivered to Hubbell Elementary every Friday throughout the school year—filling a critical gap for children over the weekend when the students do not have access to school meals.

  • Volunteers will meet in the hallway outside Waveland Hall to pack meals before Plymouth’s Saturday night service on January 21


Do-It-Yourself Activities

Need some flexibility? These activities can be done whenever it’s convenient for you.

  • Donate items for Plymouth’s Food Buddies program (List of needed food items will be provided.)
  • Shop and stock items at Little Free Pantries and community fridges. List of suggested items and pantry locations will be provided.
  • Donate wishlist items for Callahan Middle School and Roosevelt HIgh School. Lists will be provided.
  • Make no-sew t-shirt bags for Bidwell Riverside Center—the largest serving food pantry in Iowa and a member of the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) food pantry network. More info will be provided.


Sign up on Church Center here to receive more info about these Do-It-Yourself projects, or contact Erin Riker at

Looking for other ideas? Create your own project! Check in with your favorite nonprofit to see what needs they might have. Invite your family and friends to join you.

Share your work! Take photos and share your activities on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #MLKDay and #PlymouthChurchDSM and tag @plymouthchurch

MLK Day of Service prayers

Pastor Melody and the Board of Christian Social Action created special prayers for Plymouth members to use during their MLK Day activities. We pray these will be a blessing to you as you are a blessing to others. Click here to read the prayers for MLK Day of Service.

“[The passage of time does not] inevitably cure all ills. Actually time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of [people] willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy, and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”

—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in “Letter from Birmingham City Jail,” April 16, 1963