Volunteering our time and talents not only helps our community, it help us too! Research has shown that having purpose and volunteering can help us stay mentally active, reduce stress, increase happiness, and even live longer.
If you’re looking for ways to give back to your community, here are some of the many options. Many are virtual, so you can volunteer from the safety of your own home. And others are taking special precautions so that everyone volunteering out in the world stays safe and healthy.
Volunteer from Home
Be a Tech Buddy to to a Senior or Person with a Disability who’s just getting started for Community Living Campaign’s Neighborhood Tech Connect program. We’re looking for patient, friendly volunteers – you don’t need to be an expert! Check in with your buddy to see how it’s going, help on things like making sure the charger is plugged in and letting CLC computer trainers know when your buddy needs more assistance. We’ll provide an orientation and can handle any in-person visits if needed. Contact email@example.com to learn more.
Brighten a child’s holiday with a new toy by December 16th. Donate unwrapped toys and books to children of essential workers through the 6th annual “All in SF” Miracle in the Mission Toy Drive, which takes place on December 19th at House of Brakes in the Mission. Toys needed for boys and girls of all ages. To have one of our Connectors pick up the toys, contact Nicky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-269-9511 or Olivia at email@example.com or 415-240-5160. Or call Juan Gallardo with the San Francisco Latino Task Force at 415-724-7612.
Call or make cards isolated older adults and people with disabilities for Meals on Wheels San Francisco. Volunteer safely from your home with Meals on Wheels’s Friendly Social Call. Find out more at mowsf.org/volunteer. Contact: 415-343-1286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call or make cards for older adults throughout the United States with Covia Social Call. Find current volunteer opportunities on the Covia Volunteer Match page.
Help staff the Institute on Aging Friendship Line: This service is both warmline for non-emergency social support calls and a suicide prevention/crisis intervention hotline. Volunteers receive a comprehensive on-going training program and are asked to make a long-term commitment. Find out more at ioaging.org/services/all-inclusive-health-care/friendship-line. Contact : 415-750-4111.
Tutor struggling early readers (grades 1 to 4) through the SF Public Library’s FOG program. The new FOG Readers program uses a highly structured program based on the Orton-Gillingham methodology. Volunteers will receive training and meet virtually with a student every week. There is currently a wait list of students who need a tutor. Find out more and apply to be a tutor on the library’s FOG readers page.
Volunteer in the Community
Help with no-contact food shopping and emergency kit delivery at Meals on Wheels: Help with or no-contact food shopping and emergency kit delivery. Find out more at mowsf.org/volunteer. Contact: 415-343-1286 or email@example.com.
Help sort and bag food on Wednesdays at Potrero Hill Neighborhood House: They need volunteers to sort and bag food during their Wednesday food pantry, 10:00 am to 12 noon. Volunteers need a clean COVID test to start volunteering. Contact: 415-826-8080.
Help shop and deliver food and other essentials through Shanti: Volunteers shop and deliver for adults with life-threatening diseases or disabilities. Find more information at https://www.shanti.org/volunteer. Contact: 415-674-4751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pack and help distribute meals for older adults at Self-Help for the Elderly: Pack food and help distribute meals for seniors. Find more information at selfhelpelderly.org. Contact: email@example.com.
Pack meals St. Anthony’s Dining Room: pack to-go meals for people in need. Find more information at stanthonysf.org/shifts/
Deliver food with Food Runners: Pick up extra food from restaurants and cafeterias and deliver it to local programs. Find more information at foodrunners.org/donate-time
Run errands and call older adults with Mon Ami: Volunteers support seniors through regular friendly phone calls or errand runs for essentials like groceries and prescriptions. Find more information at https://www.monami.io/be-a-volunteer. Contact: 650-267-247
Join a protest, vigil, or rally: SF Fun Cheap maintains a list of protests, rallies, vigils, clean-up events that is updated every week or so.
Pitch in at a beach cleanup with the Surfrider Foundation: This group protects oceans and beaches. There are a few beach cleanups scheduled in December. More info at sf.surfrider.org/calendar. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find more volunteer opportunities for the holiday season on the SF Mayor’s Office Help Your Neighbors in Need page and on Volunteer Match, which allows you to filter opportunities by interest, on-site or virtual, location, and more.