16 Effective Ways To Volunteer In Your Community

Most people you talk to will tell you they would like to have more time to volunteer, or have more opportunities for volunteer projects presented to them. Volunteering is a great way to help your neighbors, and the world at large, and while there are a plethora of service organizations you can volunteer for, there are just as many ways for you to make a difference volunteering your time around your own community. You don’t have to go to Goodwill, or the American Red Cross (although these are perfectly acceptable organizations to volunteer for) to have a positive affect on the world; you can do it right from your own neighborhood. Here are 16 community service ideas for anyone of any age to make a difference where they live today.

1. Buy non-perishables for charity when you go grocery shopping.

Whenever you go grocery shopping, buy some canned foods for charity and drop them off at your local food bank, church, or other such organization. 

2. Donate books to libraries, shelters, schools, and churches.

Chances are great that there are some old books or movies sitting around your house. Donate some of these to the local library or homeless shelter. You can also donate them to hospitals, schools, and churches.

3. Visit the local retirement home.

Take some time out of your Saturday morning to visit the local retirement home and play some games or watch a movie with the elderly citizens. If you play an instrument, chances are they have a piano in the place, or you can bring a guitar or other instrument with you.

4. Rake leaves and shovel the snow for elderly neighbors.

The fall and winter months can be a real hassle for your elderly neighbors. Volunteer to rake the leaves in their yard or shovel the snow out of their driveway and portion of the sidewalk. You might also pop in once in a while and do a little housework for them.

5. Donate old clothes/goods.

Drop off some old clothes that you no longer wear at Goodwill or your local shelter. You can also drop off old household items like furniture, kitchen supplies, and other such appliances.

6. Volunteer to teach music.

Again, if you play an instrument and have the ability to read music, offer to give lessons to some of your neighbors, or their kids. You can also offer to teach a class at the local community center.

7. Clean up trash.

A really easy way to help your community and get a little exercise is to go around and pick up trash. Invest in a long reach grabber and walk around your small downtown area and around parks and residential neighborhoods with a trash bag and do what you can. Every little bit helps. 

8. Volunteer at the library.

The local library usually hosts reading events and other such things with the local schools. Volunteer to help out, or to work at the library re-shelving books, checking items out, or assisting patrons in finding what they are looking for.

9. Take old toys to the Children’s Hospital.

You younger readers might still have some old childhood toys sitting around. If you don’t have any younger siblings or cousins, take them down to the local Children’s Hospital, and volunteer to read or hang out with the kids.

10. Ask that people donate to charity for your birthday instead of gifts.

An unconventional way to celebrate your birthday is to ask people you know to donate a gift or money to charity instead of giving it to you. You can ask that it be a charity of your choosing or allow them to pick, but either way, it’s a nice way to help out.

11. Become a tutor.

If you have a college degree and certification, volunteer as a tutor in your neighborhood or the local school system. You can also volunteer at tutoring services like Kumon Learning Center.

12. Send a care package to the troops.

You might not have any in your local community, or know any personally, but another great way to have a positive influence is by sending a care package to the troops. Check out any of the service websites to find out what you can send and where to send it to today.

13. Teach computer skills to elderly.

Elderly citizens can benefit from using computers too. Volunteer to teach computer skills at the local community center or retirement home. You don’t have to be an expert; just basic skills like how to use the internet, listen to music, watch a movie or television show, and send emails is quite enough to get started with.

14. Local run/walk-a-thon events.

If you like to run and/or exercise, or you just want a nice outdoor activity to volunteer for, research some upcoming marathons, 5K runs, or walk-a-thons for causes like hunger and cancer. You can pass out cups of water, help register runners, or hand out food once the run is finished.

15. Volunteer at homeless shelters.

You can also volunteer your time at the local homeless shelter, helping with evening meals cleanup, and building maintenance. 

16. Plant a tree.

Everybody likes breathing right? Read up on some information regarding your local climate, and when the season is right, plant a tree in the local park or in your backyard. Choose a colorful selection that will compliment the trees and plants in the surrounding area.