Kindness Calendar: Annual Awareness and Service Days


We know that you’re kind every day, but some organizations create special days/weeks/events to promote kindness, awareness, volunteerism, community community-garden-volunteers-kindness-calendar-events-listingsservice, good deeds, etc. We’re keeping a running list of those days here. If you know of others, please contact us so we can update the list.

Don’t miss our monthly “Five Ways to Be a Good Neighbor” column, which lists up-to-date events happening each month, and check out the Community Calendar for even more events.

Click on the name of the month below to jump immediately to those listings.

January                    April                    July                    October

February                  May                     August               November

March                      June                    September        December


National Blood Donor Month: Blood banks all across the nation promote public awareness of the need for blood donations. The need is especially high after the holidays.

mlk2005_nolineMartin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: The third Monday of the month. Became a federal holiday in 1983; declared a national day of service by Congress in 1994. Local organizations often plan events throughout the three-day weekend, in addition to the day itself.


Courtesy of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Random Acts of Kindness Week/Day: Starts the second Sunday and lasts all week to the third Sunday, which is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Encourages all of us to perform acts of kindness for others all week long. See our Be Kind: Kindness Page for past stories about this week.


neighbordayWon’t You Be My Neighbor? Day: Celebrated on Mr. Rogers’ birthday, March 20. Wear your cardigan sweater, lace up your sneakers, and do something neighborly for someone else.

International Day of Happiness: The United Nations declared the first-ever Day of Happiness on March 20, 2013, to be celebrated annually.

Good Deeds Day: Takes place every year on a Sunday in March. The day was founded in 2007 by businesswoman and philanthropist, Shari Arison. The day is growing in international popularity every year.

Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning: Labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez is remembered every year on his birthday, March 31. The day was declared a state holiday in California in 1995; Colorado and Texas later followed suit. Nationally, some organizations recognize the day as an opportunity to serve and educate their communities.


national-autism-awareness-monthWorld Autism Awareness Day/Month – April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, since 2007. April has been recognized as National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. Autism organizations everywhere host events, fundraise for their cause, and encourage people to lobby lawmakers for changes that will help people with Autism and their families.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month – Since 1983, governmental agencies and nonprofit groups have used April as a time to educate the public about the prevention of child abuse. Groups sponsor special events and educational presentations. People are encouraged to wear a light blue ribbon in support of the cause.

Keep America Beautiful Month/Great American Cleanup – April is historically Keep America Beautiful Month, which dovetails nicely with Earth Day and Arbor Day (see below). The group Keep America Beautiful organizes  a day called the Great American Cleanup; in 2013 it is April 6.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) – “The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence,” according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Local groups host events to educate the public.

National Volunteer Week – Celebrated one week each April; see link for current dates, since it moves around every year (in 2013 it’s April 21-27, in 2014 it’s 6-13. Organizations plan special events to honor volunteers, as well as schedule service events throughout the week. April is also recognized by some organizations as Volunteer Appreciation Month.

World Health Day – Commemorated every April 7, the anniversary of the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO). Each year WHO chooses one health issue to focus on, for example, in 2013 the group is focusing on blood pressure. Events around the world focus on prevention and treatment.

Earth-Day-good-neighbor-stories-kindness-calendar-of-eventsEarth Day – Celebrated on April 22. The day was first launched in the U.S. on April 22, 1970; it went international in 1990. Service events are planned by international, national, and local organizations on days and weekends on both sides of the date. Often there are multiple events that week, including Arbor Day, celebrated in the U.S. on the last Friday in April.

Pay it Forward Day – On the last Thursday of April we are encouraged to pay kindness forward to others. The day was born out of the book, Pay it Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The day itself was founded by Blake Beattie in Australia in 2007. The idea is to perform one to three acts of kindness that day, asking each person you help to “pay it forward” to one to three others. The website has downloadable cards you can print out and give to people you help. They in turn pass the card on to the people they help, and so on.

beautiful-day-san-jose-westgate-church-2013-volunteer-eventBeautiful Day – Local to Silicon Valley, usually the third week of April. Thousands of volunteers work at a wide variety of work sites helping to make the community a better place. See our Beautiful Day Page for past stories about this annual service event.

Compassion Weekend – Local to the San Francisco Peninsula and the Silicon Valley, usually the last weekend in April. Identical in scope as Beautiful Day (see above). Leaders from Menlo Park Presbyterian Church organize volunteer service events from San Francisco to San Jose throughout the weekend. Participation is open to anyone interested.

National Rebuilding Day/Month – The last Saturday of the month, this is a day sponsored by the group Rebuilding Together. Affiliates all over the Bay Area and the nation organize thousands of volunteers to refurbish homes owned by people who struggle to care for their homes on their own. The national group claims April as National Rebuilding Month, to raise awareness and lobby elected representatives about housing issues and affordable home ownership.

Neighborday – The website declared the last Saturday in April as “Neighborday” (GOOD’s spelling), and each year encourages people to commit to having an event to get to know their neighbors.


Be Kind to Animals Week: The tradition of this week started in 1915. Usually celebrated around the first week of May. Local animal shelters hold events to promote public awareness.

Stamp Out Hunger 2012Stamp Out Hunger: Celebrated the second Saturday in May. A collaboration between the National Association of Letter Carriers, Campbell Soup, and food banks across the country. Leave out non-perishable food items in a bag near your mailbox for pick-up and distribution to hungry people in the community.

National River Cleanup Day: Takes place the third Saturday of the month. Local waterway protection groups schedule volunteer cleanup events all over the country.

National Bike to Work Month/Week/Day: National Bike to Work Day is usually the third Friday of the month, with a week full of events and promotions leading up to it. National Bike to School Day also happens during May.


Gay Pride Month – Events take place all month long to celebrate the LGBT community. In San Francisco the month culminates with a big parade and festival on the last weekend of the month.

National Adopt-a-Cat Month – Spring is “kitten season”, when thousands of kittens are born and turned over to local animal shelters and rescue groups. June is about the time many of these kitties are ready for adoption.

World Blood Donor DayWorld Blood Donor Day – Happens every June 14, which is the birthday of Nobel Prize winner Karl Landsteiner, the creator of the ABO blood group system. The first day was held in 2005.


Global Forgiveness Day – Observed on July 7; created by the Christian Embassy of Christ’s Ambassadors. See International Forgiveness Day, in August.

United NationsInternational Day of Friendship – July 30 was officially declared as the International Day of Friendship by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011. SeeInternational Friendship Day in August.


International Friendship Day – Celebrated on August 4 around the world. Also see International Day of Friendship in July. Also in August is National Friendship Week, which runs from the first Sunday in August until the following Saturday.

International Forgiveness DayInternational Forgiveness Day – Observed on the first Sunday of the month. Created by the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance, to promote the practice of forgiveness. See July for Global Forgiveness Day.

National Night Out: Observed the first Tuesday of the month. Promoted as a way to bring together communities and deter crime. Cities across the country often hold special events. Neighborhoods are encouraged to host gatherings; individuals can leave a porch light on all evening as a show of support.

Be Kind to Humankind Week – Established in 1988; takes place the last week of August.


9/11 Day of RemembranceSeptember 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance – Started with nonprofit efforts in 2002, one year after the tragedy, and was formalized in 2009 by Congress. Nonprofit groups and government agencies collaborate to organize service projects on that day, and throughout the week.

International Day of Peace, Peace Day, Peace One Day – Sept. 21; recognized by the United Nations and promoted by groups such as Peace One Day. People everywhere are encouraged to participate in peace-making activities.

International Coastal Cleanup Day – Takes place the third Saturday of the month. Millions of volunteers around the world participate in coastal and waterway cleanup events all over the world, co-sponsored by government agencies and nonprofits. It’s organized internationally by the Ocean Conservancy. To find out more info about California efforts, see the Coastal Commission web page.

Good Neighbor Day: The U.S. Senate officially recognized Sept. 28 as “Good Neighbor Day” in 2003; the idea for the annual day got started in the early 70s.


Pink for OctoberNational Breast Cancer Awareness Month – A collaboration of nonprofits, health organizations, corporations, and governmental agencies working to lift public awareness of breast cancer prevention, treatment, and research. There are usually numerous events to boost prevention and educate, as well as fundraising efforts to combat the disease.

Carter Work Project – Just for 2013 we are including this here, since the Carter Work Project is coming to the San Francisco Bay Area, Oct. 6-11. About 2,000 volunteers are needed in San Jose and Oakland that week. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter will be on hand to kick-off the week. The event coincides with the following listing for World Habitat Day.

World Habitat Day – First Monday of the month. The United Nations, Habitat for Humanity, and others work to promote awareness of the need for affordable, safe housing for all peoples of the world.

Make a Difference Day – Billed as a “national day of doing good”, the day was founded by USA Today Weekend, and the newspapers that carry the Sunday magazine. Takes place the fourth Saturday of the month.


Joining Forces LogoVeteran’s Day – Observed on Nov. 11. Governmental agencies, like Joining Forces, and numerous community nonprofit groups organize volunteer events in the days leading up to, and after, to specifically support veterans, current service members, and their families.

World Kindness Day/Week: The day is celebrated every year on Nov. 13; everyone is encouraged to perform acts of kindness on that day, and throughout the surrounding week. In the U.S. it is promoted by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which also sponsors Random Acts of Kindness Week each February.

621422_10151107927531640_977751174_oThanksgiving – Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month in the U.S. Community groups schedule service events leading up to, and on this day.


Holiday GiftsDifferent religious traditions or cultures are celebrating holidays during this time, and giving to others who are less fortunate is often a part of those celebrations. Numerous nonprofits and agencies ask the public to donate money, food, and other items, and are in need of volunteer assistance to distribute them.