It’s easy to get caught up in work, practices, and everyday life, but sometimes you need to slow down, do something as a family, give back and get involved. There’s nothing more rewarding than volunteering, especially when you’re helping to make your community a little better. So whether you have toddlers or teens, there are opportunities available for all ages and interests.
Gleaners – Kids Helping Kids
Ages: 5 – 17+
About: For 40 years, Gleaners Community Food Bank has been “feeding hungry people and nourishing our communities.” Please join them in helping provide food and hope to hungry neighbors in southeast Michigan. Together, we will end hunger in our communities.
Volunteer Opportunities: Youth learn about hunger and nutrition as well as volunteer on a project that will help their hungry peers. Families with children age five and older are encouraged to sign up. Volunteer tasks include sorting and packing food, preparing supplies for food drives and more. Group size is limited to 30 youth.
Volunteer Locations: Detroit, Pontiac & Warren
Capuchin Soup Kitchen
Ages: 8 – 14+ (accompanied by parents)
About: Inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, they tend to people’s basic needs, especially the need for food. They also strive to stimulate minds, nourish spirits, and address root causes of social injustice.
Volunteer Opportunities: There are many opportunities to volunteer at Capuchin Soup Kitchen, but the most popular is serving meals and assisting in the kitchens during open meal hours (listed below). If you want to volunteer at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen we ask you to bring three important things with you: a willingness to work hard, an open and positive attitude, and a smile. We can promise you that you will work hard, have some fun, and learn a great deal about yourself and your fellow human beings.
Meldrum Location: Monday – Friday: Breakfast (8:30am – 9:30am), Lunch (11am – 1pm)
Connor Location: Monday – Friday: Breakfast (8:30am – 9:30am), Lunch (11am – 1pm), Dinner (3:30pm-5pm); Saturday: Breakfast (8:30am – 9:30am), Lunch (11am – 1pm)
Volunteer Locations: Meldrum, Detroit & Connor, Detroit
Arts & Scraps
Ages: 6+ (accompanied by parents)
About: Arts & Scraps is a local non-profit organization that serves 275,000 children annually, using recycled materials to make learning active and allow children to express unique ideas.
Volunteer Opportunities: They are always looking for great volunteers, children and adults alike, to help organize and sort creative tasks.
Times: Tuesdays & Thursdays (11am – 6pm); Saturdays (11am – 4pm)
Volunteer Location: 16135 Harper, Detroit
The Hub of Detroit
All Ages (children under 12 need to be accompanied by a parent)
About: The Hub of Detroit is a full service bicycle shop, serving the Cass Corridor since 2008. 100% of proceeds from used bike and part sales support their community programming at the 501(c)3 non-profit Back Alley Bikes.
Volunteer Opportunities: They are now offering a volunteer time for youth OF ALL AGES! That’s right, even if your child is younger than twelve, as long as you are there to volunteer along side them, they too can volunteer at Back Alley Bikes. Youth between twelve and eighteen do not need to be accompanied by a parent. Their volunteer night is a fantastic opportunity for families to bond, youth to meet each other, and future Mechanics in Training to get their feet wet. Youth are also given the opportunity to volunteer and learn skills right alongside adults, a unique opportunity!
Times: All Ages Volunteer Night is on Thursdays, 5-8pm, all year.
Volunteer Location: 3611 Cass Avenue, Detroit
Cass Community Social Services
About: Cass Community Social Services is Detroit-based agency dedicated to providing food, housing, health services, and job programs.
Volunteer Opportunities: Cass Community Social Services relies on volunteers to help accomplish its mission. People – adults, youth and children (over the age of 10 is best) – assist us in a variety of ways. Some come for an hour. Others help for a day. A number of people are regulars working with us once a week or once a month. Still others volunteer for an entire weekend or week.
Volunteer Location: 11745 Rosa Parks Boulevard, Detroit
Ages: 12+ (accompanied by an adult until 18+)
About: Forgotten Harvest are dedicated to relieving hunger in Metro Detroit and preventing nutritious food waste.
Volunteer Opportunities: Get your work clothes on, slather on the sunscreen and get ready for a day at the farm! Forgotten Harvest Farms is more than 95 acres of land on which we grew and harvested over 850,000 pounds of fresh, healthy produce in the first year. We are committed to being certain that metro Detroit families in need will have the benefit of fresh, healthy food in their diets and on their tables. We need your help with a variety of farm tasks from harvesting vegetables to building picnic tables and everything else in between. Grab your family, friends and coworkers for a great day on the farm.
About: The Detroit Zoo has 125 acres of naturalistic habitats for more than 2,000 animals from anteaters to zebras and features award-winning attractions such as the National Amphibian Conservation Center, Great Apes of Harambee and Arctic Ring of Life.
Volunteer Opportunities: The Detroit Zoological Society is looking for energetic youth ages 14-17 to be part of our Zoo Corps. This is an opportunity to earn community service hours while working with a team from the Education Department at the Detroit Zoo. Benefits include leadership experience, customer service training, learning and practicing communication skills, and a professional work setting.
Times: Opportunities to volunteer stretch throughout the year, including weekdays, evenings and weekends.
Volunteer Location: 8450 W 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak
Habitat for Humanity
About: Habitat for Humanity Detroit’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Our mission is to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.
Volunteer Opportunities: Youth ages 16 and older can assist with the construction of our homes. These youth are restricted from using all power tools or working from heights (on roof or on scaffolding). Scope of work for 16 & 17 year olds on the construction site that DOES NOT include the use of power tools: Painting, Sanding, Landscape, Yard work, Lay drain tile, Gravel work, Grading, Cleaning site
Times: Construction volunteer days are Wednesday – Saturday; 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Photo credit: Facebook
About Kerry Doman
Kerry Doman is the founder and CEO of LittleGuide Detroit and After 5 Detroit. She has lived downtown Detroit for 10+ years and still calls the city home with her husband and son. As a relatively new mom, she’s excited to explore downtown with her family and hopes you’ll enjoy doing the same!