Volunteer Opportunities Dallas: Best Ways to Volunteer & Donate Right Now

As 2020 draws to a close, giving back to the community has become more important than it has ever been in recent times. So many lives can be affected this holiday season by simply giving a little of yourself. Sure, many traditional volunteer opportunities have been suspended due to pandemic risk, but we’ve rounded up several organizations that urgently need your time and talent to make a positive impact in Dallas-Fort Worth. Of course, donations can always go well, and the folks at North Texas Giving Day and Great Nonprofits have made it easy to search thousands of local nonprofits to find something that matters to you. You can also discover volunteer opportunities that are not covered in the following categories. So think of this as a treasure hunt powered by kindness.

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Ways to Help Children

A merry Christmas season for kids starts with making them feel safe and loved. Bryan’s home offers numerous ways people can get involved to improve the lives of children. Current requirements include everything from hosting a fundraiser for wishlist items, to posting the organization on social media, to supporting work events like cookies with Santa. The Family Place offers support for abused women and their children. Needs range from behind-the-scenes administrative work to direct customer support through child development initiatives and volunteer work in the animal shelter. The Warm Place works with children in grief and needs help staffing roadside activities and family home evening events. And for anyone looking to put a big smile on a child’s face, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree has gone virtual this year, making it easy and safe to make dreams come true for thousands across North Texas. And the 119-year-old ChildCareGroup, which now provides childcare and early education to families at or below the poverty line in an online and socially distant way, needs elves to fill stockings with essential supplies and toys and to help wrap gifts at Santa’s workshop ( also socially distant).

Ways to help people with homelessness and food insecurity

While most North Texans are fortunate to have rooftops over their heads and food on the table, the pandemic has dramatically increased the number of people seeking refuge, especially during the winter months and unpredictable Texas weather. Over at Austin Street Center, Dallas’ largest low-barrier shelter, volunteers are needed to provide food, haircuts, and work at the Welcome Center, among other things. The homeless shelter at Samaritan Inn needs 44 volunteers per day to prepare burlap, raise funds and use many behind-the-scenes functions. In the meantime, the Dallas Life Homeless Recovery Center is looking for volunteers to put together food baskets for the homeless and those with unsafe food. Aunt Bette’s Community Pantry at St. Philip’s School and the Community Center in South Dallas has changed operations to provide a socially distant system of unpacking, assembling and distributing food to customers. Volunteers are required to work both inside and outside the pantry loading prepackaged boxes of groceries into customers’ cars. Meanwhile, the North Texas Food Bank is looking for volunteers in a number of roles, including working food rides and the pandemic mobile pantry, vehicle washing, and greeting card writing to spread cheers.Dallas Animal Services

Ways to Help Animals

With most volunteers exposed in person, with the exception of volunteers who are already in the system at local animal shelters and rescue groups, one of the greatest current needs is for households to care for dogs, cats, and other pets. Dallas Animal Services, Dallas Pets Alive, DFW Rescue Me, EARS Texas, SPCA of Texas, and Take Me Home Pet Rescue all require caregivers to accommodate pets at this time. Some of these groups also need help transporting pets to other cities and states, as well as staffing adoption events. So check with each organization to see what’s available if things keep changing.

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Ways to Help Seniors

During this time, the elderly are particularly at risk. Through The Senior Source nonprofit, you can become a virtual senior adult visitor while personal visit is limited or temporarily suspended. To do this, create video messages or send greeting cards, letters and drawings to seniors. Donations of playing cards, board games, coloring books and packaged snacks are also in great demand during the isolation. The Visiting Nurse Association needs people who offer friendly visits, help with errands, and set up and take down Christmas decorations. The Meals on Wheels program also needs volunteers to provide food and big smiles to seniors.New friends new lifeNew friends new life

Ways to Help Women

In-person concerts can be interrupted, but you can support both the arts and women in Dallas by volunteering roles in the Dallas Women’s Choir. They are always looking for volunteers to help behind the scenes as well as work events when it is safe to do so again. At New Friends New Life, an organization dedicated to empowering former girl traffickers and sexually exploited women and children, they need volunteers to help members with Thanksgiving meals, vacation wish lists, and other needs. Genesis Women’s Shelter has special vacation initiatives, including a gift card promotion and the ability for businesses and groups to host an angel tree for kids’ gifts this season.

Ways to Help the LGBTQIA + Community

PFLAG-Fort Worth needs help preparing and serving meals for approximately 50 residents at Samaritan House, a facility that helps people overcome addiction, homelessness and HIV infection. Prism Health North Texas is looking for volunteers to help create ready-to-eat meals for homeless patients, organize the communal closet, and put together snack and hygiene kits. They are also running a food, toy and warming campaign (blankets, socks, coats) for families affected by HIV / AIDS. As part of the Hot Meals program, the Resource Center offers the option of preparing meals in the kitchen from Monday to Thursday morning and then packing them for collection by the customer. The LGBT Wellness Help Center needs help putting together condom packages as well as volunteer greeters for people who come to the clinic for testing.Bonton FarmsBonton Farms

Ways to make communities better

In south Dallas, Bonton Farms is an urban farm and market with a mission to restore life, jobs and hope to a once neglected neighborhood. Volunteer opportunities include real hands-on experience, from milking goats and harvesting crops to cleaning chicken coops and feeding animals. Friends of Oak Cliff Parks hosts groups of no more than 10 people at a time to help maintain gardens and facilities in four different parks in the Oak Cliff neighborhood. Fundamentals Dallas is committed to a safer, cleaner, healthier environment, especially in urban forests, and regularly requires volunteer cleaners for individuals, businesses, and groups on Saturdays. Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve needs help with its Conservation in Action Working Days, which occur every third Saturday of the month.

Regardless of your interests, there are many ways you can make a positive impact on Dallas. Whether you choose an opportunity from the organizations on this list or find a completely different way to help your fellow human being (or four-legged friend), you will soon experience the unparalleled joy of doing good.

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Steven Lindsey is a thrillist.

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