"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

--- Dr. Martin Luther King

In 1994, Congress formally designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national day of service. Those who don't work on that day are encouraged to take up community service projects in honor of King's legacy in support of United We Serve, an initiative of the president's calling all citizens to help one another where possible.

It's no accident Congress decided to turn the holiday into a national day of service; in fact, it's the only federal holiday which has been designated thus.

One of King's greatest goals was establishing equality for minorities and encouraging us to show our love of humanity. It's quite appropriate, therefore, that we take time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to offer a helping hand or otherwise work to better our world, something King surely would have applauded.

The nation's economic and political realities make this an especially good time for a call to community service through volunteerism.

Supporting charitable non-profits, seeking cooperation among communities and lending a hand to those unable support themselves is becoming increasingly important as government safety nets are under threat in Washington, D.C.

The recent hold up of aid to those hit hard by super storm Sandy is just the latest example. Volunteerism and community service, worthwhile endeavors any time, can help fill some of the gaps left in federal support.

Find a way to volunteer on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and keep Dr. King's central goal of equality in mind as you do so.

Making efforts to support the downtrodden and lifting up those less fortunate is a fitting way to remember the great civil rights leader on Martin Luther King Day and throughout the year.