Is 2023 the year you become more active in your community or more effective on the causes you care about? You can get involved and give back by doing things other than volunteering at a soup kitchen, hosting a clothing drive, or contributing to a fundraiser.
Perhaps you have hobbies, like crafts, or enjoy social activities. Each of these skills and interests can benefit a community—you just need to figure out how to put them to good use. Whether your church is in your neighborhood or far away in Ukraine, there is always a way to get involved.
Here are 12 volunteer opportunities that might inspire you to share your talents.
1. Knit hats for NICU babies
Have you amassed an extensive thread collection? Whether you find knitting and crocheting soothing or just want to keep your hands busy, consider making hats for babies in the hospital. Babies in the NICU need help to stay warm and providing handmade hats to premature babies is one way you can help.
Contact your local hospital to see if hats are needed, or send your crafts to an organization like Lots of Love.
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2. Sell your creations and donate the proceeds to charity
The easiest way to fund your creativity while helping a local organization is to donate some or all of the proceeds to charity. This volunteer opportunity is well suited for those who enjoy crafting but need to unload their growing stash.
Use your creative endeavors to start a small Etsy business and help give back to your community or nonprofits that hold a special place in your heart, like: B. an animal shelter or a program for children from low-income households. Use a charity finder to find one you care about and start earning for them!
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3. Participate in a Fix-It Cafe
If you have a natural talent for fixing things around the house, consider joining a fix-it cafe. If there isn’t one near you, take the initiative and open your own Repair Café.
These little workshops are places where community members can bring their broken but fixable items and repair them with your help and expertise. By volunteering at a Fix-it Cafe, you can help people gain important skills and prevent items from ending up in landfills prematurely.
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Are you a hobby woodworker? If you’re handy with a saw and know your way around small building projects, please your local book lovers with a little free library! These pop-up book corners help build community, inspire readers, and promote literacy. They are essentially neighborhood book fairs where community members can donate their books and pick up new ones.
Seniors and those with limited mobility will especially appreciate having a community library nearby, as it can encourage them to take a short walk to get their next book.
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A dedicated gardener can grow an abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs each year. In some cases, there are too many products for one person to eat, and these nutrient-dense foods can end up going to waste.
If that sounds like you, donate your extra produce to a community fridge or freege. These are places where people can bring food to share with others in their community. Those who are food insecure often lack access to healthier options such as produce; The abundance of your garden can help fill that void and feed the hungry.
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6. Do a puzzle with new friends
Who knew building or donating jigsaw puzzles could be a volunteer opportunity? If you enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles and want to make a positive impact in your community, reach out to a local senior center or retirement home. They may need puzzle donations for their programs, and there may also be an opportunity for you to volunteer to put together puzzles with your residents. You can offer camaraderie, and you’ll all enjoy a fun project.
Several jigsaw puzzle manufacturers have programs like Puzzles for Good where you can donate a jigsaw puzzle to those in need.
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7. Donate woodworking projects for animal purposes
If you enjoy doing woodworking projects, consider donating your creations to charity. For example, you could build kennels for your local animal shelter, or follow a Habitat ReStore community project and build kennels from recycled materials.
Fences are another type of construction project that can be of value to animal-focused charities. One such group, Beyond Fences, builds fences so people of limited resources can protect their furry companions. You may also find that local animal shelters appreciate your knowledge of building ramps, fences, and outdoor play areas. By investing your time and skill in crafting these handy items, you can improve the lives of the animals by providing them with a shelter and a yard where they can roam safely.
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8. Paint a mural at a healthcare facility
Are you bursting with artistic talent but lacking the canvas? Lend your painting expertise to a nonprofit organization or hospital by offering to paint a mural for them. These buildings tend to be very plain and uninspiring, so having an art wall can really help brighten someone’s day.
Sketch your idea and send it to community health facilities and other organizations. If you want something a little less self-directed, nonprofits like the Foundation for Hospital Art make it super easy to get involved in bringing life and art into hospitals.
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9. Cook for others
Foodies and home cooks love to prepare a good meal and share it with friends and family. Tasty food creates warm feelings and creates pleasant memories. So why not reach out and let others experience your kitchen creations?
Whether you’re contributing your cooking skills to a soup kitchen for the homeless or preparing extra helpings and delivering care packages to a lonely elderly neighbor or grieving friend, your food is sure to be appreciated.
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10. 3D printing medical supplies
Do you love 3D printing? It is fun! Just upload a model and within hours you can have almost anything you can imagine. Many people think about how they can improve the world with this technology.
If you have a 3D printer, you can help your community by making medical supplies. e-NABLE, for example, makes prostheses for amputees. They could also make mask tension release straps for hospital workers or pill bottles that give Parkinson’s patients easier access to their medication. With a little imagination, you can use your 3D printer to improve your community.
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11. Offer yoga classes
Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, but many people who want to learn how to do yoga may lack the funds for the classes, transportation to an in-person class, or other obstacles that prevent them from participating. This opens up a great opportunity for volunteers in your community: you can help increase access to this healthy practice by creating your own hyper-local version of the Give Back Yoga Foundation.
If this type of volunteering appeals to you, offer free community yoga classes at the park or offer classes at senior centers or youth programs.
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12. Bake bread forever
Bread baking has become increasingly popular during the Covid-19 pandemic. As you progressed from sourdough to focaccia to baguettes, you may have honed your craft and eventually achieved expert status.
If you’ve learned to love baking bread but have found you’re too prone to overindulgence, donate your baking talent to organizations like Community Loaves, where you can bake bread for those in need. This way you can keep the loaves going, donate your creations to a good cause and still enjoy the delicious smell of fresh bread in your home.