Delaware Valley Volunteer Opportunities for Families
Local organizations where the whole family can help out
Volunteering with your family is a great way to give back to your community while spending quality time together. From tackling poverty and caring for animals to preserving the environment, you can find an organization in the Delaware Valley that addresses whatever issue your family cares about the most. These local volunteer opportunities offer age-appropriate tasks for young helpers so that you can all make a difference together.
1630 South St., Philadelphia, PA 19146
The Bethesda Project provides emergency shelter, housing and supportive services for those experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia. The organization currently has limited on-site volunteer opportunities but has plenty of ways that families can offer support from their homes. Some ideas include holding a fundraiser or supply drive for high-need items, delivering bagged meals, sponsoring a meal by making food or ordering from a local restaurant and making cards, decorations or activity kits for the Bethesda Project’s residents.
Briar Bush Nature Center
1212 Edge Hill Road, Abington, PA 19001
The mission of this Montgomery County nature center is to inspire people to enjoy and protect nature by encouraging curiosity through various all-ages programs. Youth ages 8 to 17 are welcome to help out with building and grounds maintenance and the center’s bird club. Briar Bush Nature Center also has an animal care volunteer program which welcomes kids as young as 10 to care for the animal ambassadors of the center with an adult family member.
Petsmart Warminster, Warminster Town Center, 934 Street Road, Warminster, PA 18974
Cat Tales Adoption Center, Warrington Pavilion Shopping Center, 1111 Easton Road #17, Warrington, PA 18976
This no-kill nonprofit organization is dedicated to the care and placement of cats in need, providing them with love, shelter, food and veterinary care until they’re placed in a welcoming home. Cat Tales relies on volunteers to care for their kitties and offers several opportunities, including cat care shifts at their two locations, spending time playing with the cats and organizing fundraisers. A parent must accompany volunteers younger than 18.
Cradles to Crayons
4700 Wissahickon Ave., Suite 142, Philadelphia, PA 19144
Cradles to Crayons addresses childhood poverty, a major issue in Philadelphia where three in five children live in poverty. The organization provides kids with free essential items. Cradles to Crayons’ Giving Factory in East Falls is one of the few places where kids as young as 6 can volunteer alongside their family. Kids can fill orders for specific children and families and directly help out their neighbors.
A collaboration between Fair-mount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Philadelphia’s Park Friends Network, Love Your Park invites the city’s residents to get involved in maintaining their local parks and watershed areas. This collaborative group hosts open volunteer workdays on the second Saturday of every month. Volunteers can plant and care for trees, remove invasive plants, keep waterways clean and more.
Lutheran Settlement House
1340 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125
Families are invited to help out together at Lutheran Settlement House, an organization that serves Philadelphia children, adults and families through providing food access, homeless services, domestic violence services, education and social services. Volunteers can find various potential tasks, including preparing groceries for the food pantry, cleaning and organizing the pantry and shelter, participating in events with older adults and organizing donation drive items.
Pals for Life
35 Grove Ave., First Floor Devon, PA 19333
Young people have multiple ways to volunteer at this Chester County organization that provides companion animal programs to people who need them including students, people with special needs and older adults. Individuals ages 12 and older can volunteer with their pet or help out with special projects. The organization’s Read to Pet Pals program, where kids read aloud to the animals, lets kids improve their literacy skills and spend time with nonjudgmental pets.
Rolling Harvest Food Rescue
P.O. Box 693, New Hope, PA 18938
Rolling Harvest partners with local farms in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to gather and distribute their surplus of food to at-risk, food-insecure populations. Volunteers help with daily pickup and delivery from 38 farms and food producers, assist with weekly distributions to more than 60 hunger relief sites and glean or harvest surplus crops directly from the fields. Children are welcome to participate in gleaning; the minimum age is 5 years old. An adult must accompany anyone younger than 15.
South Jersey Dream Center
P.O. Box 52, West Deptford, NJ 08086
The South Jersey Dream Center is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty for people living in South Jersey by distributing essential items and providing helpful training workshops. The minimum age for volunteers is typically 12 years old, but the center hosts family events where kids as young as 6 years old are able to participate.
This piece first appeared in the December 2021 issue of MetroKids.