Originally published 9/25/2017. Updated 5/27/19.
Want to know the secret of feeling really, really good?
Alright, I’ll tell you. If you want to sleep easy at night, the surest way is to get out there in your community and give back.
Whether you’re looking to care for animals or people, Columbus has no shortage of volunteer opportunities. Volunteering at any local organization is a great way to give back to the community that helped you thrive. From fighting homelessness to educating children, here are 50 ways to get involved in your area!
Help insure that families have a comfortable place to sleep at home by volunteering your time at the Furniture Bank where they repair and organize furniture and assist families with furniture selection.
Andrew’s House is home to seven different social-service agencies to help struggling individuals get back on their feet with all the necessary tools. There’s copious amounts of volunteer opportunities here between yard work, meal prep, education efforts and plenty more.
Volunteer at the St. Stephen’s Community House to assist with seniors or young children. They have a variety of programs such as technology education for seniors, emergency family services, and after school care programs for children.
Volunteer to make a different in a child’s life. The Homeless Families Foundation‘s mission is to end homelessness by supporting children and families to get them to a stable lifestyle. Whether it’s reading to children or stocking their shelves there’s always a job to be done.
Habitat For Humanity builds housing for families in need. This homes change the lives of families all across central Ohio as the housing crisis continues to be a major issue. Volunteer your time with the building, the awareness, and much more.
Star House provides homeless teens with the resources they need to find housing, get back to school, and become a successful adult. Volunteer your time in their donation warehouse or go through some training to be an engagement volunteer with the teens.
The Open Shelter provides individuals in need with meals and housing opportunities. They can always use help with keeping their facilities clean, getting their donations organized and prepping meals.
The Mid-Ohio Foodbank keeps an ongoing calendar of volunteer opportunities and events coming up. You could help stock grocery items in the Kroger pantry or even prep meals at one of their meal giveaways. Volunteers can register on their website for a multitude of opportunities.
Volunteer at the food pantry to assist clients in shopping for the right items and help them find all the things they need. Volunteers also offer suggestions and valuable ways to use specific items.
Meals on Wheels provides over 6,000 meals a day and you can help by volunteering as a driver or with a group to deliver. These meals are crucial parts of some people’s lives and a great way to really make a difference in a person’s day.
Keeping pets happy and healthy is the best way to get them adopted into forever homes. Spend some time at the Capital Area Human Society feeding, cleaning, playing and loving the cats, dogs, and even bunnies!
Volunteer at the Ohio Wildlife Center to answer questions on the wildlife information life or with the wildlife hospital admissions.
Are you obsessed with animals? This is perfect for you. Volunteer your time at Pets Without Parents to help feed, walk, and clean their cats and dogs. You can also assist with running the laundry and talking with potential adopters.
Crazy cat lady or just really into cats? Volunteer your time at the shelter or even foster a pet looking for a forever home with the Colony Cats program.
Canine Companions trains dogs to assist people with disabilities. Volunteering with Canine Companions means helping to train puppies to become the service dogs they are capable of being!
Help visitors have the most fun and educational experience possible at the Columbus Zoo by volunteering in one of their animal contact areas. Everybody loves the zoo, this is your chance to show your appreciation and give back!
Often as we age we aren’t able to care for our beloved pets the way we used to, but instead of giving them up the Senior Pet Care Program will bring volunteers to the homes of the elderly to assist with feeding, cleaning and veterinary visits. Having a pet can be really beneficial in a seniors life so services like this can make a big difference.
The Topiary Park is full of beautiful living art that visitors enjoy every day. Volunteer to help with their events to help maintain the park as a place the whole community can enjoy.
Are you an environmental protection enthusiast? If so, the Columbus Audubon has plenty of ways for you to help preserve nature’s finest and bring awareness to pressing environmental issues.
The Garden at Gantz Farm is an opportunity to learn about agriculture throughout history. Volunteering at the garden means assisting with the preservation of historic gardens and encouraging the education of visitors.
Whether it’s getting your hands dirty in the garden or giving educational tours in the exhibitions, there’s plenty to be done at the Franklin Park Conservatory. You can volunteer alone or with a group!
The American Red Cross has plenty of volunteer opportunities for every age and every interest. You could teach a disaster prevention class, help with fundraising events, or volunteer at a blood drive. Whether you want to spend a few hours or make it a regular item on your weekly schedule, there’s always something for you.
Equitas Health Care for All programs helps individuals who experience medical disparities such as members of the LGBT+ community and those affected by HIV/AIDS.
The Wexner Medical Center offers a variety of volunteer positions to assist with providing information to families and visitors, and helping staff with patient care. There’s opportunities during the day, evenings, or weekends. This is great for someone who wants consistent volunteering rather than a one time opportunity.
Ohio Health’s Fore Hope program helps individuals with neurological conditions get back to living healthy, productive, social lives through therapeutic golf. You don’t have to be a golf expert to donate your time.
This one isn’t just a Columbus opportunity but is super important. Volunteer with the Crisis Text Line to help calm, reassure, and safety plan with people in moments of extreme need.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a mission to end the stigma around mental illness and provide both education and support. Volunteer to help with fundraising events and advocacy efforts.
The Unverferth House seeks to provide comfort to families of people receiving heart transplants and other serious procedures at the Wexner Medical Center. Volunteering here means helping with regular house chores like cooking and cleaning and yard upkeep.
The Open Door Art Studio provides a space for people with disabilities to engage their artistic and creative- sides. Volunteer in the studio to help create masterpieces or to help with general maintenance to keep the facility running.
The Columbus VA Ambulatory Care Center has many volunteer opportunities from mail services to primary care assistance. Volunteers are a crucial part of caring for Columbus veterans.
The Suicide Prevention Services run the 24 hour crisis phone line and are always in need of volunteers to help staff the line.
Flying Horse Farms is a camp for children with serious illnesses. This is an opportunity for these children to be more than their illness and give them a chance to just be kids. Volunteer your time to help these kids have the most enjoyable week of their lives.
Volunteer’s are a huge part of keeping the Ronald McDonald House up and running. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or just being there for a support they wouldn’t be able to do it without the volunteers. There’s also plenty of opportunities outside the house that can be found on their website.
As one of the best hospital’s in the nation for children, families come from all over the country to seek expert care for their kids. Help make the patients and families the most comfortable they can be by volunteering at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
A Kid Again is an organization dedicated to giving children with life-threatening illness’ the chance to experience life as just a kid by taking them on adventures. Volunteer to help organize events, visit kids in hospitals, or be a mentor to a new family.
PBJ Connections provides behavioral health therapy to kids through the care and training of horses. Traditional therapy settings don’t work for every child so this gives a new opportunity for kids to make a difference in their lives. Volunteers help keep the facility the best it can be.
Remember going to the Ohio State House in elementary school with your class? Well, the tour you went on was probably done by a volunteer! Give back and help others learn about the great state of Ohio!
The Columbus Literacy Council works with adults to improve reading literacy skills to help individuals further their employment and education opportunities. Volunteer to lead small groups or assist with one-on-one tutoring to help change the lives of local Columbus adults.
This After School Program helps provide children with homework help and reading and math learning opportunities every day. Spend your time helping kids learn new concepts and keep them ahead of their work at school.
At every Columbus Metropolitan Library location there’s an after school homework help center that’s run mostly by volunteers. It’s a great way to give back to the community if you enjoy working with kids. They also use volunteers for stacking the bookshelves and their “Ready For Kindergarten” program, but those aren’t at every location so make sure you call ahead before showing up.
Women and Girls
Help give women the tools they need to success in the professional work place. Dress for Success helps get women the work-place attire they need and career development tools they need to insure they have a successful start to their career.
Domestic violence is a prominent issue is way too many communities. The Lutheran Social Services Choices shelter provides housing and support for victims of domestic violence and their children. Volunteer to bring meals to the shelter to help support these families while they work to get back on their feet.
Volunteer with the Rwanda Women in Action to help refugee women become acquainted with their new life and how they can be successful. They have programs to assist with childcare, language envelopment, and life skills.
Help inspire young girls with this 5K program of children and mentors. You never know what kind of impact you can have a young girl’s mind. Girls On The Run has opportunities for one-on-one support as well as volunteering your time on your local council.
Freedom A La Cart is dedicated to getting victims of human trafficking back on their feet. Volunteer your time to help in their kitchen or become educated on the issue of human trafficking so that you can educate others.
The YWCA helps provide housing for women and children in immediate need. Volunteer at the center to prepare and serve a meal for the families in need.
Help support the LGBT community by volunteering with Stonewall Columbus to put on events and fundraisers throughout the year and the annual pride festival in the summer.
The JCC Gallery Player relies on volunteers to help with lights and sounds for every production. Show your support for the arts and volunteer your time in the theater!
Volunteer at the Buckeye Ranch to help supporting struggling youth and families. The Buckeye Ranch has a wide variety of services to help youth be successful at home, at school, and in their communities.
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