It’s the start of the giving season (which in our opinions should run year-round) and our readers often ask us where they should volunteer or contribute to a good cause. Like Josh Calcinis for example, he’s the reader who actually inspired this post.
So we rounded up a few local charities and nonprofits that are in need of volunteers and that caught our eye:
Get your hands dirty cleaning our public gardens.
Mead Botanical Garden is in need of a few volunteers who are also interested in learning about habitat restoration. You’ll get your hands dirty by helping to remove non-native, invasive plants from the area.
The next event is scheduled for Nov. 30. They provide water coolers and snacks but ask that you come dressed appropriately and with a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.
Be a dog walker for a day.
Pet Rescue by Judy in Sanford lets you walk its adorable pups while they wait to be adopted.
Head here to fill out the volunteer application form.
Feed our homeless neighbors.
Orlando Food Not Bombs is a local chapter of an international collective that prepares food for those experiencing homelessness. They meet twice a week to prepare nutritious, vegan meals and share them with those who need a good, hot meal. They do so “in solidarity with our neighbors and in protest of poverty, war, and the criminalization of homelessness”.
The group meets at the steps of Orlando City Hall every Monday at 10 a.m. and Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and are always looking for volunteers.
Help this local organization advocating for and building affordable housing.
Volunteer with Pathlight Home, Florida’s first and largest provider of the proven Housing First permanent supportive housing model. They currently provide more than 600 formerly-homeless Central Florida neighbors with permanent, affordable housing through two apartment complexes and are in need of volunteers to help to sort through donated items, distributing food, and sharing your skillset with their tenants.
Volunteer to help the elderly in our community.
The local organization, Seniors First, is always looking for volunteers for its food pantry or to deliver meals to local seniors. Also known as Meals on Wheels, this group has been serving the Greater Orlando elder community for over 50 years.
Up next on the volunteer calendar is the Turkey Trot (the morning of Thanksgiving), Thanksgiving Day deliveries, and volunteering at their upcoming Holiday Gift Drive.
Choose a date where you can be the most helpful here.
Take the family to volunteer this holiday season.
Second Harvest Food Bank stays busy this time of year. It’s a private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in Central Florida. Last year, the food bank distributed nearly 63 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, daycare centers and Kids Cafes.
They’re always accepting volunteers and can usually accommodate small and large groups.
Support the local arts.
We have many art and cultural centers at our fingertips. Pick a favorite and head to their website to find ways you can volunteer, knowing you’re supporting arts that you really care about.
Here’s a few of our favorite local performance centers: Orlando Shakes (while you’re there, see if Orlando Fringe has any volunteer opportunities for you), Orlando Repertory Theatre, Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center.
You could also try volunteering at any of our local museums: Orlando Science Center, Art and History Museums of Maitland, Orange County Regional History Center, Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, Wells’Built Museum, Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Orlando.