There are plenty of reasons to volunteer your time for a good cause.
I do it because I believe in the work and have the time. Both Habitat for Humanity and a Pantry/Closet for local residents down the street called Open Arms are my go-to charities now. In the past, I was a respite Foster Care Provider and cared for a disabled woman. We all have reasons and favorites during our lifetime, you may be surprised you will get a lot more out of it than expected.
There are so many organizations that are thankful for the help, its hard to choose any best or favorite. I went ahead and made a list of some well known and some just ideas that may spark your interest.
1. National Parks
Volunteering at a national park means more than just cleaning up litter. It’s enjoying the exercise and fresh air. You can explore opportunities to work at historical sites maintained by the National Park Service. Consider Alcatraz Island in California if you live in the west. It’s part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and absolutely gorgeous. Yes I have been there!
2. Food Pantries
Food pantries and soup kitchens can always use a helping hand. Unfortunately during the holiday’s people are more willing to help than during the year. There are tons to do to help to organize a local food drive, raising money, or just help to hand out those meals to those in need. Offer any specific skills you may have, such as copyediting, data entry, or even cooking, and you can be of great value to these organizations. Check out FoodPantries.org to search for one near you – and bolster your resume with any relevant experience you may acquire.
3. Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity offers various locally targeted volunteer opportunities. I helped build several homes in my local area. You give what you can, and learn what you are willing to. Its a great way for couples to spend a Saturday afternoon. If you have – or want to develop – experience in home repair and building maintenance, check out its A Brush With Kindness campaign or the Women Build program, designed specifically to help women learn construction skills. You may learn enough to remodel your own home or help a friend.
4. Local Libraries
Volunteering at the local library for a few hours a week is easy for anyone. Young or old, and reading is a gift that keeps on giving. Libraries typically need help organizing shelves and assisting patrons, and you may also be of help setting up and running public events, such as author signings and book fairs. If you have those skills, put them to work.
5. Art Museums
If you love art, this is the place to be. And don’t forget to get involved in the community by volunteering for family programs and children’s activities at your local museum, and once you build up your knowledge base, you may qualify to be a tour guide or event planner.
6. Animal Rescue Shelters
Everyone loves cats and dogs, and most of them love us. Local animal shelters almost always need volunteers. aking You may be able to make some connections by offering your dog walking services to the pet owners-to-be who pass through. It makes for a great part-time job, and could even turn into a full-time venture – professional dog walkers can great money. And young or old, staying active is a bonus!
At the YMCA, you can volunteer to help both children and adults. Check your local YMCA’s website, or simply walk in and introduce yourself to find out if there are any positions they need filled, or even any one-time activities you may assist with to help get your foot in the door.
8. Red Cross
The American Red Cross offers a list of positions that can help those in need. It’s not all about giving blood, If you prefer, you can assist customers looking to do so. Your skills may make you a good fit for other tasks such as clerical or help manage other volunteers.
There is never a shortage of places to volunteer. Free and compassionate volunteers are always needed. You will meet others with a big heart and form real lasting friendships. Who wouldn’t like new friends?