Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service 2021

Historically each year UWDATS works with community partners to plan volunteering opportunities on this National Day of Service.  Even though the scope of volunteering has changed, we could not let this day pass without sharing opportunities that every community member can consider and take action. Here are 10 ways to give back for the 2021 National Day of Service (contactless or minimal contact). Choose one or multiple and make a difference in our community!

1.) Tie Blankets for the Homeless 

Each year, staff who work with people who are literally homeless are on the verge of homelessness, spend a day going out into the community to meet with people who are living on the street. They provide them fellowship, community resources, and items to make their stay outside easier (tent, blankets, hygiene supplies, etc.).  Consider making a tie blank that will be distributed to those in need.

How to Make a No-Sew Blanket
Drop-off location: United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States, 215 W 6th St, Dubuque, IA 52001

2.) Hygiene bags

As mentioned above, hygiene supplies are delivered not only during this annual event but regularly to those in need.  Making a hygiene bag is an easy way to help. 
Hygiene bag items: Shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, winter socks, winter hat, hand warmers, deodorant, a bar of soap, washcloth, placed in a gallon zip lock bag.

Contact Person: Amanda Dupont to schedule a drop off time.
Work cell 563-258-9187 | E-mail: adupont@ecia.org

3.) Animal Needs

The Dubuque Regional Humane Society is always in need of supplies for their furry friends.  Consider donating stuffed animals (new or gently loved), dog or cat toys, lap-size blankets, dog or cat food (in its original packaging), cat litter, cleaning supplies (paper towels, Dawn dishwashing liquid, bleach, hand sanitizer). 

Drop off location: Dubuque Regional Humane Society, 4242 Chavenelle Rd., Dubuque IA 52002 (open 11 – 5 Tues – Sun)

4.) Deliver Food to those in need 

So many people in our community are struggling to put food on their table and some are not even able to leave their homes to access food. Consider helping one of the many organizations working to combat food scarcity in our community.

Dubuque Area Labor Harvest – Delivery of boxes of groceries to people’s homes. Typically takes about 1 hour. Organize a team of people (8 or so) to schedule a day to deliver (each person in their own car).
Contact person: Tom Townsend tom@ibew704.com, 563-543-4708

Urban Bicycle Food Mission
Contact person: Melinda Vize ubfmdbq@gmail.com

5.) Food Donations (nonperishables/canned goods/milk/bottled water)

Our local food providers are always in need of donations. Consider adding a few extra nonperishable items next time you are filling your virtual grocery cart or are at the store. Or a case of water could really help at one of our local men’s shelters. If you have a green thumb, you could start growing some fruit or veggies inside and donate your produce when it’s ready!

Drop off at:

Dubuque Area Labor Harvest, 423 W. Locust St., Dubuque, IA 52001

The Salvation Army, 1099 Iowa St., Dubuque, IA 52001 *Call to schedule a drop off time, 563-556-1573

Dubuque Food Pantry, 1598 Jackson St., Dubuque, IA 52001

Almost Home (cases of water), 1276 White St., Dubuque IA, 52001 *Call to schedule a drop off time, Brian 563-495-1353

How to start growing seeds in an egg carton Start Seeds in an Egg Carton: 6 Steps - Instructables

6.) Clothes Donation

Currently, many of our clothes closets are at capacity (what a generous community we have!). But there are still specific needs that can be filled. United Way is accepting gently used business/professional attire that people can use to attend a job interview.  Almost Home could use new or gently used sweatshirts, sweatpants, and bedding (not clothes, I know, but still a need).

Drop off locations:
United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States: 215 W 6th St., Dubuque, IA 52001 (business attire)
Almost Home: 1276 White St., Dubuque, IA 52001 (sweatshirts, sweatpants, bedding) *Call to schedule a drop off time. Ruth 563-495-0885

7.) Children’s Books

United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States Women United Group works hard to get books in the hands of children. They do this by keeping 19 Little Free Libraries located in Dubuque County stocked with books for kids aged 0 – 12yrs old.  If you have any children’s books your family no longer needs, UWDATS will take them! 

Drop off location:
United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States: 215 W 6th St., Dubuque, IA 52001

8.) Donate Blood

The need for blood is higher than ever. If you are over 18, conder scheduling a time to give.

American Red Cross: Dubuque Blood and Platelet Donation Center | Red Cross (redcrossblood.org)
Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center: Dubuque - Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center

9.) Send an encouraging note

Receiving a card or letter with an encouraging message make anyone’s day brighter, especially if that person is unable to have much face-to-face contact with others. Writing a quick note, filling out a card, or drawing a picture to be distributed to those in need of a pick-me-up is a great way to make someone feel special. United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States will collect these special messages and help distribute them through food give-away events, staff working homeless individuals, and others. 

Drop off or mail to:
United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States, 2015 W 6th St., Dubuque, IA 52001

10.) Educate yourself about pressing social issues (homelessness, food scarcity, brain health, equity & inclusion, etc.)

Look for more information to come about United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States’ 21 Day Equity Challenge. Attend virtual committee meetings (school board, the board of supervisors, city council, planning & zoning commission, school parent-teacher organizations, etc.) related to your interests. Increase your knowledge and get involved!

Next school board meeting: Meeting Schedule - Dubuque Community Schools (dbqschools.org) 
Planning & zoning commission meeting: Zoning Advisory Commission | Dubuque, IA - Official Website (cityofdubuque.org)

Board of Supervisors meeting: Board of Supervisors | Dubuque County, IA (dubuquecountyiowa.gov)
Dubuque School Board meeting dates: Meeting Schedule - Dubuque Community Schools (dbqschools.org)