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The Spirit of Service

Many of us look forward to national holidays as “free” days, extended weekends for a quick trip, or just pushing back that inevitable Monday morning feeling. It has become too easy in our daily hustle to overlook the history and purpose of these holidays. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is unique among the other days that are automatically on our calendars, as it is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service. In the words of Coretta Scott King: “It’s a day to get involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress. It’s a day of service.” 

It is in this spirit that the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona celebrated and participated in our first annual MLK Day of Service on January 16th, 2023. The chilly rain that started the day did not dampen the spirits of the amazing community members who selflessly donated their time. While the outdoor events were postponed in favor of a sunnier day, 36 volunteers donated their time at our United Way offices–either coloring bookmarks for the My Summer Library program or putting together supply kits for local Opportunity Youth! 

MLK Day of Service at United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

The current estimated national value of each volunteer hour is $29.95–Value of Volunteer Time Report | Independent Sector Resources

The MLK Celebration at Reid Park was a gathering of inspirational speakers, talented entertainers, delicious food, and local agencies—all working together to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Despite the weather, the feelings of kindness and generosity from those who attended the festivities were quite the balm to warm the soul.  

Your local United Way is looking forward to continuing this Day of Service for many years to come.


Looking for more opportunities to help our Tucson community thrive? Check out our Volunteer Center here, or donate to the Community Impact Fund here. 

Want to know more about United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona? Look over some of our work here.