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MLK Day and the Importance of Volunteering

This year celebrates the 26th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day). Celebrated on January 18th, MLK Day is a day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January, MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage volunteer efforts to improve communities nationwide.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to helping communities across the nation.

He once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is 'What are you doing for others?'"

We wanted to take a moment to reaffirm our commitment to giving back to the communities where we live and work. To honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memory, we encourage associates to seek out opportunities to engage with their communities and encourage associates to volunteer for causes that support PetSmart’s value of Passion for Pets and People and United Together. We encourage you to honor his efforts by giving back to organizations that:

  • Connect with the community

  • Help individuals & families thrive

  • Provide community access to arts & culture

  • Promote diversity, inclusion & equity

How can I serve on MLK Day?

  • In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” If you want to join those associates who will be spending this National Day of Service giving back, connect with your local United Way or use AmeriCorps Search Tool to find an opportunity in your community! Associates should work with their leaders prior to volunteering to receive approval and schedule volunteer hours appropriately.

How Can I Continue to Serve After MLK Day?

  • Want to get involved in your community through the year? Check-out our Civic Engagement page where you can find information about volunteer opportunities and events hosted by the community organizations that we support.

How can I share where I volunteered if I am able to?

  • We remain committed to our vision of building a culture of belonging at PetSmart and would love to hear about how you choose to give back. Please email to share your story or share in the tab above. Where and how you serve is up to you – the important thing is to get involved. We look forward to celebrating with you.


About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On January 15, 1929, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister.

King received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 helped organize the first major protest of the African American civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi, he advocated civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to segregation in the South. The peaceful protests he led throughout the American South were often met with violence, but King and his followers persisted, and the movement gained momentum.

A powerful orator, King appealed to Christian and American ideals and won growing support from the federal government and Northern whites. In 1963, Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph led the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; the event’s grand finale was King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Two hundred and fifty thousand people gathered outside the Lincoln Memorial to hear the stirring speech.

In 1964, the civil rights movement achieved two of its greatest successes: the ratification of the 24th Amendment, which abolished the poll tax, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public facilities. Later that year, King became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the late 1960s, King openly criticized U.S. involvement in Vietnam and turned his efforts to winning economic rights for poor Americans. Shortly after, he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Lorraine Motel, on April 4, 1968.

His legacy lives on still today.


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