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8 Volunteer Opportunities in Houston

There are many local organizations that would love to increase their number of volunteers. But often it's hard for folks to find them in a city the size of Houston. Especially if you want to bring children and volunteer as a family.

Luckily, there's plenty of volunteer opportunities in Houston that you can get started with – many of which encourage you to bring the family! Feel good about giving back to the community by donating your time and enthusiasm. Here are 8 of the best places to volunteer in Houston.

Online Houston Volunteer Resources

1. VolunteerHouston

This online resource connects people with their passions. This amazing nonprofit has worked since 1974 matching people with local charities and nonprofits who need volunteers. They help acquire 50,000 volunteers each year for 950 agencies.

VolunteerHouston.org is a great starting point for your volunteer search. You can filter your search by age (55 or older, family friendly), distance or interest. Or even search by agency name. The volunteer options range from one-time events to ongoing needs at places like nursing homes, animal shelters, nonprofit thrift stores, food pantries and more. Or consider driving patients to their cancer appointments or doing landscaping for a local nonprofit location.

2. VolunteerMatch.org

This site helps pair volunteers with nonprofit needs. Many of these are one-time events looking for assistance – like the Houston Rockets' Dog Walk, Hermann Park Kite Festival, The Original Mud Run and more. Use the search feature to filter by Kids, Teens, 55+ and Groups. Examples of ongoing needs include ESL tutor, literacy volunteer, middle school mentors and more.

3. AllForGood

This national site serviced by Points of Light offers volunteer opportunities around the country. Simply search by zip code – and add a key word, if you want. There is even a special area to search Disaster Response and Recovery opportunities. Some of the sample volunteer needs include office assistance at a nonprofit, student volunteers, assistance as hospice volunteer, social media and design assistance at a local nonprofit, and meals on wheel drivers.

Local Volunteer Opportunities for Nonprofits in Houston

4. Kid’s Meals

This nonprofit provides 2,500 meals to children 5 and under each weekday. During the summer it feeds kids up to age 18 in the same home, so it increases to 3,700 meals. Harris County ranks as the 2nd highest rate of child food insecurity in the nation.

Volunteer opportunity: Prepare sandwiches and pack lunches. Young kids can decorate the lunch bags in the board room!

Age: Family-friendly (age 8 and up)

When: Monday – Friday, 9 am to noon and one Saturday a month

Where: 330 Garden Oaks Blvd. (Heights)

More info: To volunteer, you can register online here.

5. Books Between Kids

This Houston nonprofit collects and distributes books to children in need to help build home libraries. 85% of HISD students live at or below the poverty line, so the need is certainly there.

Volunteer opportunities: Sort and box children's books in the Books Between Kids warehouse, set up a book drive, donate books…

Age: Family-friendly (age 5 and up)

When: Sorting Saturdays are 8 am – 3:30 pm. Shifts are 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Where: Books Between Kids warehouse, 9947 Harwin Dr., Suite B

More info: Sign up at the online volunteer calendar or get more info.

6. Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston

Since 1969, this organization has been instrumental in bringing people together of different faiths to serve the community. It provides 1.5 million meals to Houston-area seniors and helps resettle thousands of refugees.

Volunteer opportunity: Variety of options include delivering meals to hungry seniors, packaging pet food for their dogs and cats (aniMeals on Wheels) and pet food delivery, Chore Corps (doing chores for homebound Meals on Wheels clients). Volunteer orientation is required.

Age: Family-friendly (no minimum age for delivery since parent provides supervision). Other individual volunteer age is 6 or higher for other needs.

When: aniMeals on Wheels pet food delivery (3rd Saturday a month); Meals on Wheels Warehouse Crew (weekdays 9 am – 3 pm)

Where: 3202 San Jacinto (for Meals on Wheels volunteering), 3303 Main Street is the office

More info: To volunteer, check out the individual volunteer opportunities or contact volunteerinfo@imgh.org.

7. Habitat for Humanity NW Harris County

Habitat for Humanity provides safe and affordable housing for its partner families. These families apply, qualify for a loan and provide sweat equity to their own home.

Volunteer opportunities: Help build a home with other volunteers, provide lunch for 60-100 volunteers on site for Saturday builds

Age: Family-friendly (any age for lunch providers) and age 16+ (for build team)

When: Lunch providers (Saturdays 11:30 am – 1 pm); builders (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 8 am – 3 pm). Individuals must sign up online using the Sign Up Genius form. Groups of 5 or more must coordinate with the volunteer coordinator.

Where: Homes are currently being built in Spring (north of Houston)

More info: You can visit online or contact (281) 477-0460

8. Houston Food Bank

Houston Food Bank is America's largest food bank providing 79 million meals a year to 800,000 people in soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers and more. It has served the Houston-area community since 1982. It is so organized when it comes to processing, orienting and leading its volunteers, who contributed more than 450,000 volunteer hours in 2016!

Volunteer opportunities: Opportunities at two locations — 535 Portwall – inspecting/sorting food, repacking dry food into family-size bags, or stocking/cleaning the Emergency Food Panty. Keegan Kitchen offers folks the chance to prepare and package nutritious hot meals week days.

Age: Family-friendly (Kids as young as 6 can volunteer on kid-friendly projects at Portwall, age 16 and older at Keegan Kitchen).

When: Portwall:

  • Morning: M-S (8 am – noon)
  • Afternoon: M-S (1 pm – 4 pm)
  • Evening: M-F (6 pm – 9 pm)
  • Sundays: Every Sunday (9 am – noon)

Keegan Kitchen: M-F (8 am – noon, 1 pm – 4 pm)

Where: 535 Portwall, 2445 North Freeway (Keegan Kitchen)

More info: Sign up for your shift online. Learn more about volunteering here.

How to volunteer in Houston? It's easier than you think to get started. Use this list of volunteer opportunities to help you find what you're most passionate about. You'll help make an impact and feel good doing it.

About the author

Vicki Powers

Vicki Powers, formerly of Houston on the Cheap, is a native Texan and freelance journalist. She loves helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks.

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