It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our daily routine and focused on our own concerns. For many of us, staring at screens becomes a substitute for connection and our world becomes narrowed to the people we work with, live with, and tweet at.
If you’re looking for opportunities to broaden your horizons and get out of a rut, becoming a volunteer might be just the option you’re looking for. And if you have children, many local organizations offer opportunities for them to volunteer as well, helping to teach great habits of sharing and caring that can last throughout their lives.
And volunteering isn’t just for individuals and families. If you have a group of coworkers who would like to participate, volunteering is a great way to team-build. Consider putting together a group from your local alumni association, a neighborhood organization you’re involved with, a school group, or even create a monthly tradition for a group of friends. Take a look at this list and be inspired to give a little and get a lot back in the form of all the feels.
- Humane Rescue Alliance (website): Formed by a combination of the Washington Humane Society and Washington Animal Rescue League, volunteers ages 12 and up assist in caring for 60,000+ animals each year without turning any away. They help with training, exercise, caring, and helping to place animals as well as helping with the fundraising events that keep the rescue running financially.
- Capital Area Food Bank (website): From a digital food drive to sorting and packing thousands of pounds of food, Capital Area Food Bank volunteers donate millions of dollars worth of time to this vital component of fighting hunger in the DC area. According to their studies, three people can sort 1,500 pounds of food in one morning of volunteering. That means your time has a huge impact. Love gardening? There are even opportunities to build and maintain gardens and conduct demonstrations.
- DC Central Kitchen (website): Even if you’re not a great cook yourself, you can ensure that food that would otherwise go to waste is turned into delicious and nutritious meals for DC residents. Cut, chop, peel, and prep food along with kitchen staff–all experience levels are welcome. And during the warmer months, Thursday volunteers can work as gleaners to harvest food that would otherwise be wasted from local farms.
- DCJCC (website): The DC Jewish Community Center offers a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year, including those to help and benefit the homeless and hungry, blood drives, and housing and construction projects. They also do a great deal of work around holiday time, culminating in their December 25th Day of Service with an array of projects undertaken throughout the DC area on that day.
- Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (website): Animal Welfare League offers a variety of volunteer projects that can be undertaken onsite and at home. One of their signature projects is Book Buddies, a reading project that brings in children to read to animals in the adoption rooms, giving the animals companionship and the kids reading practice. Home projects include making treats and beds for the animals and fundraising, or you can become a foster volunteer and help prepare animals for adoption.
- ThriveDC (website): This organization works with DC’s hungry and homeless population, providing meals and employment help along with a variety of other services. Fresh Food Fridays offers an opportunity to provide fresh produce to the poor, while other grocery distribution programs take place throughout the week. ThriveDC also has programs for those suffering from substance abuse, seeking to re-enter society after time in prison, and offers therapeutic programs for a variety of clients.
- Volunteer.gov (website): This website is a portal to a variety of volunteer opportunities with the National Parks Service, US Geological Survey, and other governmental groups. From on-site guest services to website building and maintenance to a volunteer map editor, there is no limit to the skills you can put to use for the many parks and historic sites throughout the DC area and all around the country.
There are so many people in need of help throughout the area and so many ways you can change lives for the better. Check out any of these great local organizations for ways to give back and do good. And if you’re looking for your own little corner of DC to call home, let us know! Sign in to our website and let us get a custom search underway. We’re here to help!