As we commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service on Monday, January 16, it’s important to reflect on the legacy and teachings of this incredible leader. Dr. King’s message of nonviolence, equality and social justice is as powerful today as it was in the 1960s.

One of the most significant aspects of Dr. King’s message was his call to service. He believed that we all have a responsibility to give back to our communities and to help our neighbors in need. He once said, “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

As we think about our roles within the American Red Cross and our communities, as Red Crossers there are countless ways we serve every day. Whether it’s handing out meals at a shelter, providing a comforting smile, retrieving or donating blood, helping a military family, being an integral member of the corporate departments, volunteering your time or providing humanitarian aid at home or aboard – through our service, we make a difference every day.

Especially on this day, we encourage you to do an act of service that is outside of your day-to-day job. Whether that is donating blood at one of the Red Cross drives across the country, signing up to serve as a Red Cross volunteer in your local community or helping a neighbor in need – any act of service goes a long way to make a difference. Watch Dr. Shanita Williams’ story on why volunteering honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and why she chose to volunteer for the Red Cross.

By being Red Crossers and helping to strengthen our communities, we not only honor the memory of Dr. King and the principles he fought for, but we also set great examples for our fellow neighbors to follow. Together, we make a difference for our communities and neighbors when they need hope the most.

Thank you for your continued commitment to being a Red Crosser and for serving with grace and love to move our lifesaving mission forward.