Service Project Planned for MLK Jr. Holiday

Jan. 18 effort will provide sack lunches and personal care packages for homeless persons; donations in advance are encouraged

Students, faculty and staff from the University of Missouri-Kansas City will be partnering with the Kansas City chapter of the Human Rights Campaign on a Day of Service for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday on Jan. 18.

The UMKC campus will be closed for the holiday, but the partnership is designed to give the UMKC community an opportunity to “take the day on, not off.” The local effort is part of a nationwide volunteer effort led by the Human Rights Campaign, with activities in 20 cities.

In each of the communities, HRC and local partners are working together to address the challenge of LGBT youth homelessness. According to a study by the Williams Institute, The Palette Fund, and the True Colors Fund, LGBT youth make up to 40 percent of homeless and at-risk youth. Also, according to a study by Center for American Progress, LGBT youth are eight times more likely to commit suicide if rejected by family members.

In Kansas City, UMKC volunteers and other community members will assemble sack lunches and personal care packages for distribution to homeless people, working with Neighbor 2 Neighbor, an organization that provides food 365 days a year to anyone in need in the Kansas City area. The volunteer effort will run from noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Mary Kelly Center, 2803 E. 51st St. Pizza will be served to the volunteers. Volunteers, from UMKC or throughout the community, can sign up for the event at

The project is also collecting donations of food and personal care items in advance of the holiday event. People can purchase items through an Amazon Wish List at or drop off donations at Neighbor 2 Neighbor through Jan. 15 at 500 W. 40th St., Kansas City, Mo., during the following hours:

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a new opportunity for us to empower our community by helping each other. Even the smallest opportunity to help can make a substantial impact,” said Chris Piel, HRC Kansas City Steering Committee Co-Chair. “We hope you will join us on January 18th to support Neighbor2 Neighbor or purchase items off the Amazon Wish List for the organization if you cannot attend.”

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