I love the idea of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day of community service rather than a day to shop for bargains on mattresses and sweaters. The USA Service website  lists all sorts of opportunities, but by the time I logged on most of the actual organized events in New York City were full, and somehow, lugging a bag of old clothes to the Housingworks thrift store, apparently our town's backup proposal for latecomers, lacks that certain thrill.
So in the spirit of the day, I offer some classroom proposals from Donorschoose.org as a challenge to those of you out there who are in the same fix as me: you want to honor MLK Monday-- and Inauguration Tuesday-- but haven't quite found the way. As you may already know, Donorschoose.org is a website where teachers put up their classroom needs, and donors--that's you -- can give any amount they want to fund them.
I hope you'll check out my Giving Page here . I've focussed on high-poverty schools around the country.You'll find opportunities to fund supplies for the only debate team in the South Bronx, guitars to rebuild a once-famous music program in Baltimore, classroom essentials for Chicago kindergarteners and more.
Ps. Send me your receipt for $50 or more, and if you are one of the first 10, I'll send you a signed copy of Learning to Drive:And Other Life Stories, my collection of personal essays, or Virginity or Death! my most recent collection of Nation columns.