For some, volunteering is about serving those in need, while for others, volunteer jobs can help polish a resume, expand a group of friends or be a way to access the arts for free. And newcomers can make friends at a large volunteer event organized by Greater DC Cares or One Brick DC without a regular commitment.
The Washington-based Corporation for National and Community Service estimates that 63.4 million Americans volunteered in 2009. And Kevin Foster of volunteer matching group One Brick DC says that as the economy has faltered, he has seen an increased need for volunteers among nonprofit groups.
So if you’ve always wanted to help out at a food pantry, work with shelter animals or even pour beers, now’s your chance. We’ve got 25 ideas to get you started.
Whether you’re an enviable cook or have a way with clothes, there are various ways to lend your skills and your time to a worthy cause.
1. Suited for Change
Have a flair for fashion? You can help low-income women pick out
interview and work suits and accessories from Suited for Change’s D.C. boutique of donated apparel. Volunteers also are needed for workshops on work and life skills. 202-293-0351, Ext. 201. www.suitedforchange.org.
2. HandsOn Greater DC Cares 9/11 Day of Service
To mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, this organization is planning 50 major service projects across the region on Sept. 9-11 — with a goal of 10,000 volunteers. Registration is required. 202-777-4441.
3. Bread for the City
Bread for the City needs groups of five or more to glean crops from farms, as well as folks to harvest from fruit trees right in Washington. Volunteers are also sought for three-month stints of weekly shifts at the pantry, stocking shelves and helping clients pick out groceries; sign-up begins Sept. 1. www.breadforthecity.org/volunteer. 202-265-2400. E-mail email@example.com.
4. Ronald McDonald House Charities
Nearly 60 volunteers help at two homes for families with sick children — in Fairfax and Northeast Washington — by tidying the houses, making sure guests are comfortable, doing
administrative tasks or handiwork, working at special events and cooking meals. 703-698-7080 or 202-529-8204. www.rmhc.greaterdc.org.
5. Starlight Children’s Foundation Mid-Atlantic
Volunteers pitch in for three to four hours at monthly weekend Great Escape events for families of seriously ill children. The events include trips to museums and movies in the D.C. area; occasionally, volunteers are needed for face-painting or clowning.
202-293-7827. www.starlight-midatlantic.org. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.