Despite a harsh and unpredictable year, communities have continued to show support for one another. If you want to make a positive impact on the people and programs in your area, donating and volunteering are some of the most substantial ways to give back.
The Best Places To Donate To or Volunteer With
Not sure where to start when it comes to donating or volunteering? Backpacks USA has compiled a list of the best types of places to donate to or volunteer with for any of your charitable endeavors. You can commit yourself or your family to one or participate in a few to further your community impact.
Local Public Libraries
Regardless of how much you read, your local public libraries could use your help. Libraries aren’t allocated that steep of a budget, so they’re usually welcoming to any and all volunteers.
Volunteer opportunities with libraries are likely to include administrative or maintenance responsibilities. A few examples of what you may be asked of while serving your local novel hub include the following:
- Organizing returned materials and displays
- Assisting with children’s programs such as story time
- Offering technical assistance for library patrons in need of support
- Organizing library fundraisers for program budgets
You can peruse a few of your local libraries’ websites to learn about their volunteering procedures or give them a call to inquire about donations.
City or County Parks and Recreation Departments
Are you the future Leslie Knope of your community? Dive into the world of public parks and recreational spaces by lending your efforts to your city or county’s parks and recreation department. This department oversees seasonal events, such as State Park cleanups, leaf collection, and picnic or camping area maintenance—all of which are hefty tasks that could use the help of passionate volunteers.
If you enjoy spending lots of time outdoors and appreciate the recreational facilities in your area, donating your energy or funds to your local Parks and Recreation department might be right for you. Some of the events you may be subject to when helping the Parks and Rec department include the following.
- Teaching classes or coaching rec leagues at parks or recreation facilities
- Aiding in cleanup procedures
- Securing staff for any outdoor events hosted at parks
- Maintaining public garden beds
Community centers offer resources to a variety of citizens in the community. For a lot of people, these facilities are fundamental to their lifestyle. Some large cities even have smaller centers that cater to specific audiences or programs.
Ask your local community center how you can best support them. For student-focused programs, consider donating wholesale items from Backpacks USA. We have an assortment of supply kits and bulk lunch bags intended for students of all ages. Volunteering options may include the responsibilities listed below.
- Mentor or tutor students
- Monitor after-school activities
- Help maintain center cleanliness and maintenance
- Occasional groundskeeping and gardening
- Assist with arts and crafts projects
If you’re involved in a religious community, one of the best types of places to donate or volunteer with might be your own religious facility. Many different faiths and religious facilities highlight philanthropic values through local, national, and global charitable activities. Ask your peers whether volunteer opportunities are available or if there are fundraising events approaching.
Public State and National Parks
Those local, stunning hiking trails and forest preserves can only do so well with their delegated government funding. Volunteers provide the much-needed program support that these grandiose spaces need, and donations help keep the parks accessible to the public.
By supporting these parks, you’ll get tons of pleasant time outside with nature. You’re likely to experience mental and physical health benefits while spending time in the park. Check to see if your nearby National or State Park offers a volunteer pass—a pass that waives entry fees for individuals who donate their efforts to the park.
Animal Shelters and Adoption Centers
Want to interact with cute critters, but not quite ready to adopt your own? Animal shelters and adoption centers are the perfect fit for animal lovers who aren’t quite ready to commit. If you do have pets of your own, you know how much of a positive impact they have on your quality of life. Share your love for your at-home pups and cats with those in less lavish situations at shelters or centers.
If you’re able to open up your home for a temporary furry pal, see if your local shelter offers a foster program. Pet fostering programs help acclimate animals to home life before finding their “fur-ever” family…which just might be your own!
Food Banks and Soup Kitchens
Food insecurity affects more people than you may know. Rural, suburban, urban—whichever area you live in, you’ll cross paths with folks who don’t have regular access to food.
Donating to or volunteering at food banks and soup kitchens helps equip individuals and families with the nutrition they need. If your local food bank or soup kitchen is lacking materials, consider hauling wholesale groceries to them.
Shelters for People Experiencing Homelessness
There are a variety of shelters for individuals who are experiencing homelessness. The shelters vary based on the majority demographic of people they serve and the resources provided. For example, women’s shelters provide temporary housing for women and children in need of residence. Shelters, especially those in metropolitan areas, have high demands.
Sometimes, shelters’ demands outweigh their resources. Support the shelters in your area to uplift those struggling financially by donating gently-used clothing, household items, hygiene kits, money, or your time.
Disaster Relief Organizations
When a severe natural disaster strikes, the results can be devastating. Homes get wiped out, leaving tons of families displaced.
In addition to allocating a few dollars off your monthly income to disaster relief organizations, consider becoming a disaster volunteer. Most disaster relief orgs require training for their volunteers to properly tend to the damage, so check with the intended organization before participating in any activities.
Human and Civil Rights Organizations
Lend your energy to the historically marginalized communities. Volunteer opportunities for human and civil rights organizations have a vast selection of services that would benefit from your time. Based on your skillset, you can help human rights organizations with the following acts.
- Providing transportation for individuals without reliable or safe transportation
- Acting as a translator for non-English speaking individuals
- Offering administrative or creative support
- Create awareness via social media and organize fundraising opportunities