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As the capital city of the United States, Washington DC is not short on volunteer opportunities where you can really help to make a difference. Support is needed in all directions, from disaster relief through to assisting residents who are battling poverty, there has never been a better time to volunteer. From relief volunteer opportunities, organizing food packages, and helping women from low-income backgrounds prepare for job interviews, here are the best volunteer opportunities in DC:
1. Manna Food Center
Manna Food Center is a food bank that is always looking for volunteers to help sift through donated food and create packages for clients. The food packages go to members of the community from low-income backgrounds and really make a difference. Volunteer food-packing days normally happen several times a month and everyone above the age of seven is welcome. Volunteer opportunities take place in the Manna Food Center warehouse in Gaithersburg and throughout the community. Last year alone, over 40,000 volunteers donated their time to help feed those in need.
2. Humane Rescue Alliance
If you want to volunteer with animals the Humane Rescue Alliance is the place for you. The organization invites volunteers to meet weekly and go on walks or runs with shelter dogs. You can also assist medical staff to provide low-cost veterinary services, help with training and caring for dogs, cats, and small mammals, and help to find forever homes for dogs.
3. Little Falls Watershed Alliance
The Little Falls Watershed Alliance holds monthly cleanups along the Little Falls Parkway and its surrounding streams. Volunteers are also asked to look for invasive plants that could destroy some of the flora in the surrounding area. Children and parents are encouraged to volunteer, making it a nice family day out.
4. Suited For Change
Suited for Change is an organization that aims to help women from low-income backgrounds pick out suits and accessories for upcoming interviews or jobs. The Suited for Change D.C. store has a boutique filled with donated suits and accessories, and you can volunteer your time with the organization by helping individuals to choose outfits, sort out clothing donations, and help with vital workshops about work and life skills.
5. Bread for the City
Washington DC is no stranger to poverty, with many people in the community struggling to find the money to eat. Bread for the City is an organization that aims to tackle food poverty for local residents by providing food donations, alongside medical care, and legal and social aid. Bread for the City are always on the look-out for volunteers who can help sort food and clothing donations.
6. National Parks
The country’s National Park Service is always open to volunteers that can help maintain its parks. In Washington, the National Park Service looks for volunteers to help preserve the Mall, alongside other places in the city. Volunteers can also assist park rangers at important monuments throughout D.C, including sites such as the iconic Lincoln Memorial and Old Post Office.
7. Common Good City Farm
The Common Good City Farm is looking for volunteers to help with its production of fresh produce. The farm produces thousands of pounds of fresh produce annually for the Washington community and aims to teach nutritional advice and skills to those from low-income backgrounds. Volunteers can help with planting seeds, weeding, and general farm assistance.
8. Bright Beginnings
Bright Beginnings is an organization that provides childcare for homeless children. Volunteers can help as classroom assistants by supporting teachers, reading to students, or with the family service team, which works one-on-one with families to identify challenges and overcome obstacles.
9. Cultural Tourism D.C.
Cultural Tourism D.C. is where you can show your love for D.C by working as a tourism ambassador during the Around the World Embassy Tour that takes place annually in May. Volunteers can assist with work at embassies or at information booths. If you’re passionate about D.C and want to share your local knowledge, this is the volunteer opportunity for you.
10. American Red Cross
Following a series of devastating hurricanes, the American Red Cross needs your help more than ever. Whether it’s contributing to disaster relief, helping with emergency disaster training, coordinating fundraising for vaccines, or general fundraising, there are tons of American Red Cross volunteer opportunities in DC. You can also help coordinate blood donations which are essential in saving lives.
11. DC Central Kitchen
DC Central Kitchen is a soup kitchen with a twist. Not only do they serve up food to the hungry, but they also offer culinary training to those that are unemployed. Additionally, the organization provides information about nutrition and food education to those from low-income backgrounds. They recruit volunteers who have experience working as a chef, or volunteers that can help prepare free meals.
If you’re looking for more ways to volunteer this holiday season, there are also plenty of opportunities in states such as donate your time to some of the best volunteer organizations in Florida or volunteer Boston.