Where to Volunteer in Boston This Fall

More than 20 places around Boston could use your helping hands this Thanksgiving—and all year long.

Thinking about giving more than thanks this Thanksgiving? Boston has plenty of long and short term opportunities to warm hearts as the weather turns colder by giving the gift of service around the city. Serving meals, rounding up donations, and tutoring are just a few of the chances you have to give back. Check organization websites for shift times, applications, and more details.


If a big dinner is your main event for Thanksgiving Day, check out these opportunities to help others in Boston have meals to look forward to.

Greater Boston Food Bank

The GBFB has individual and group volunteer opportunities for those interested in joining more than 26,000 volunteers in ending hunger in eastern Massachusetts, according to their website. You can also donate until the end of November to their Holiday Meal Drive. Volunteer slots tend to fill up around the holidays, so check to make sure they have room for you! Shifts are from Monday to Saturday and times vary for groups and individuals. gbfb.org

Boston Rescue Mission

Volunteers can apply to work with meal prep, serving, and packed lunch distribution to aid the homeless and poor of Greater Boston. brm.org

Community Servings

Meal prep shifts in the kitchen are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.  Towards the end of November, volunteers can really get in the spirit of Thanksgiving traditions by helping package and deliver pies throughout greater Boston, or delivering Thanksgiving meals before the big day. servings.org

Friday Night Supper

Spend your Friday afternoon helping prepare or your Friday night helping serve this weekly meal for those in need on your own or with a group of 4-8 people after a quick orientation before your shift. fridaynightsupper.org

Daily Table

Volunteers can help with kitchen prep and food organization for this not-for-profit retail store that delivers healthy food and groceries with dignity. Sign up is required, and no experience is necessary, but an orientation is required before your first shift. Volunteers are welcome Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. dailytable.org


Join one of these shelters this holiday season in providing meals, supplies, and a place to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Pine Street Inn

The Inn has a waitlist for on-site volunteers this holiday season, but they are still in need of help from individuals or groups with food donations and food drives to supply 2,000 meals a day for residents. pinestreetinn.org

Haley House

Volunteers can apply to work in several programs Haley House offers, including the soup kitchen, special events, and urban gardening. haleyhouse.org

St. Francis House

Volunteers have opportunities to prepare meals, sort donations, and help with life skills workshops as an individual or group. stfrancishouse.org

Boston Living Center

Volunteers are welcome to help with office work, serving meals or in coat check most weekdays. vpi.org


Volunteer to help someone keep warm as the weather gets cold, or to help them get the clothes they need to succeed.

ABCD, Inc.’s Winter Emergency Campaign

Volunteers with Action for Boston Community Development help sort donations to assist needy families with food, clothes, and holiday toys. bostonabcd.org

Dress for Success Boston

Volunteers are welcome on a long-term commitment basis in a variety of departments from inventory and boutique maintenance to special events that help empower women in the Greater Boston area towards independence. boston.dressforsuccess.org

Hospitals/health support

Area hospitals usually have a more rigorous volunteer application process than other sites, but also plenty of opportunities to help in clinical and non-clinical positions. Note that these are long-term opportunities. 

Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston Medical Center

Brigham and Women’s

Tufts Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess

Boston Children’s Hospital


Humans aren’t the only ones who could use an extra pair of helping hands this season, so consider helping out some furry friends at one of these animal centers.

MSPCA Boston Adoption Center

Adoption center volunteers help with tasks including cleaning, feeding, and entertaining some of the 5,000 cats, dogs, and other small animals the center takes care of every year. mspca.org

Last Hope K9 Rescue

Volunteers at Last Hope have the opportunity to help with a number of tasks including transporting dogs, helping with special events, or even leave their mark through graphic design. The center also has many dogs up for adoption, so consider fostering one of the lovable pups this holiday season. lasthopek9.org


Who says community service has to be serious? Working with charities that benefit Boston youth gives you the chance to liven up your volunteering while giving kids valuable supplies and opportunities.

Boys and Girls Club of Boston

The BGCB offers volunteers the chance to tutor or coach kids, and much more! Volunteer needs are club-specific, so check out their website to get in touch with your club of choice. bgcb.org

Cradles to Crayons

If you’re looking to add some color to your service, individual and group volunteers can help package donations in two-hour shifts for “KidPacks” for disadvantaged children in Massachusetts. cradlestocrayons.org

Thanksgiving Day Events

Looking for one-stop service? You can spend your turkey day making sure someone else is feeling full and festive at these events on and around Thanksgiving Day.

Tavern In The Square Thanksgiving Dinner for the Less Fortunate

Contact the Tavern in the Square location of your choice to volunteer and share Thanksgiving dinner with attendees, restaurant staff, and your fellow volunteers on November 24. taverninthesquare.com

Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly Thanksgiving celebration

Volunteers can help drive some of our more senior neighbors and enjoy the afternoon celebration with free lunch and a live DJ Thursday, November 24. littlebrothersboston.org