Where to Volunteer in Boston
With the winter holidays around the corner, you might be feeling compelled to spend your free time helping others. There are hundreds of volunteering opportunities out there—soup kitchens, animal shelters, and so on. Below are just some of the many ways you can give back—during the holidays and throughout the year.
— Food —
Greater Boston Food Bank
Most volunteers at the GBFB work in the warehouse, inspecting, sorting, and packing food products. According to their website, last year more than 25,000 volunteers contributed 62,000 hours of work, worth more than $1,000,000.
Help Community Servings prepare and package food, deliver meals to clients, or help out at special events. During the holidays, extra volunteers are needed to help with basket sorting and meal deliveries.
There are several different ways you can volunteer with the bakery/cafe, but during the holidays, one of their higher needs is for meal-prep volunteers in the soup kitchen while their usual collegiate helpers are out of town.
— Shelters —
Rosie’s Place provides food and shelter for thousands of women each year. Volunteers can help with food prep, visit with the guests, and even lead workshops and teach language courses.
Pine Street Inn
With several locations around town, volunteers can assist Pine Street with breakfast service, fill-in meal service, sandwich-making, greeting guests at health clinics, and other opportunities.
The Women’s Lunch Place
WLP lists specific volunteer roles online that change throughout the year, generally in the realm of meal prep and admin assistance.
Friend’s of Boston’s Homeless
Volunteers here can help out in just about any area. In addition to helping with meal prep, painting, and planting and harvesting, you can also teach classes (work skills or hobbies) and create housewarming gift baskets.
— Children —
Boys and Girls Club of Boston
Put your teaching skills to good use by tutoring students in areas ranging from the academic to the artistic to the athletic.
Cradles to Crayons
Families can volunteer together at Cradles to Crayons, where anyone age 5 or older can help inspect, sort, and package items into “KidPacks” to be given to disadvantaged children in Massachusetts.
Christmas in the City
The nonprofit’s major annual event is a holiday party that hosts more than 3,000 homeless children. That means there are a lot of halls to deck.
Boston Living Center
Volunteers at BLC help with meals, coat check, admin duties, etc. to help support the HIV/AIDS community.
Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly
For those with no plans the day of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holidays, consider spending time with an elder by bringing them flowers, a holiday meal, and good company.
— Hospitals —
Keep in mind that helping out at hospitals usually requires a relatively more rigid application and training process, for good reason. Here are links to volunteering guidelines at six major hospitals in the area:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston Medical Center
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Tufts Medical Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston Children’s Hospital
— Animals —
Finally, if working with humans isn’t your thing, then consider volunteering at the MSPCA or Animal Rescue League Boston. Your soon-to-be furry friends will thank you.
Animal Rescue League Boston