Community service

Community service projects to do from home this MLK Day

(WHTM) — On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many people will participate in a day of service. With the snow and the ongoing pandemic, here are some community service projects you can do from home.

Make hats and scarves

Operation Warm Hearts in central Pennsylvania collects knit and crochet hats and scarves to donate to various Pennsylvania organizations. Hats and scarves for men, women, children and babies are accepted. More information on Operation Warm Hearts can be found here or by emailing [email protected]

make blankets

In addition to hats and scarves, Operation Warm Hearts also collects seamless fleece blankets. These blankets should measure approximately 50 x 60 inches. Instructions for no-sew fleece blankets are readily available on the internet, but here’s an example to get you started.

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If you want to try something a little more complex, Unto accepts quilts. Here are some instructions for making the quilts, and additional guidelines for quilts and other handmade quilts accepted by Unto can be found here. Blankets can be sent to Unto Global Logistics Center in Mount Joy, PA.

To write letters

You may be more used to texting and emailing at this point, but there’s something special about getting a handwritten letter. Love for our Elders provides information and addresses for seniors nationwide and invites people to write them kind words. Follow these guidelines when preparing and sending your letters.

Soldiers’ Angels accepts handwritten notes sent to deployed members. Volunteers on the Soldiers’ Angels Letter Writing Team write unique letters to service members and commit to writing at least one letter per month for three months. Learn more about this program here. And Operation Gratitude accepts letters for military service members and first responders. You can find more information about participating in this program here.

Make pet toys

Did you know you can make pet toys using recycled materials like old clothes? If you like to tinker and take care of animals, this project may be for you! The Anti-Cruelty Society has guidelines for pet toys here, as well as information on where to send your donations. The Pennsylvania SPCA will also be accepting donations of handmade pet toys.

Preparing the LuoPads

LuoPads are washable and reusable feminine sanitary pads made from used flannel sheets and terry cloth pads. Unto accepts donations of LuoPads, which can be made at home by following the instructions located here and sent to the Unto Global Logistics Center in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania.

Decorate gift bags and prepare craft kits

Volunteers can decorate gift bags and assemble craft kits for Caitlin’s Smiles in Harrisburg, PA. The kits are distributed to children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses in Pennsylvania and other surrounding states. Learn more about decorating bags and making craft kits here, or check out Caitlin’s Smiles YouTube channel for additional specs and video instructions. Completed items can be delivered by mail or dropped off at the Caitlin’s Smiles office in Harrisburg.

This list may be updated periodically. If you know of a home-based community service opportunity that could be added to this list, email [email protected] with the details.