Where to Volunteer in the Twin Cities - Suggestions from our Instagram Followers
In light of all that is happening in the world and in our own country right now - the Covid pandemic, riots in the aftermath of the police murder of George Floyd, an unsteady economy, and social injustice on many levels in many communities - it's fair to say we've all probably been spending a lot of time thinking. How do we make things better? How do we move forward in a positive direction from this place? What are the actions and decisions we need to make now?
At Podiumwear, we wanted to start moving forward by getting more involved in our own local community. We implemented a "Volunteer Time-Off" Program to encourage our employees to volunteer in the local community without losing pay. The program allows employees to volunteer 8 hours per month at an organization of their choice and still collect a full paycheck at Podiumwear.
We decided to ask our social media followers for suggestions on where to volunteer in the Twin Cities. The results were incredible! We've compiled a list of the 36 organizations that were suggested (in no particular order) here. We did our best to list the mission statement of the organization as well as any volunteering options we could easily find on their website. Some listings have more information than others, but don't let that keep you from investigating further. The list is meant to be a jumping-off point. We hope it will help others (as it has helped our employees) find meaningful ways to lift up the Minneapolis & St. Paul communities now and in the future! Thank you again to everyone who submitted a suggestion to our Instagram post!
1. Twin Cities Mutual Aid Project
“The Twin Cities Mutual Aid Project is a collective that maintains an online map tool to help people find and distribute essential supplies while our communities face intense hardship and disruption. We evolved organically to meet the needs that emerged in the aftermath of the police murder of George Floyd.”
Provides real time updates for locations in need of both supplies, as well as volunteer hours to help those in need. Dropping off bags of groceries on busy days and spending time volunteering is all coordinated through volunteer sign-ups and live-streamed through the site.
2. Youth Farm Minnesota
“At Youth Farm we utilize food as a catalyst for social change, community engagement, and leadership development – food is our tool to change the world. We farm to educate and train through gardens and greenhouses. We cultivate leadership through year-round programming focused on planting, growing, preparing, and distributing the food we grow.”
3. Open Arms of Minnesota
Mission: "To nourish body, mind and soul."
Purpose: "To build a joyful and nourishing community that provides medically tailored meals and hope for people experiencing a significant health crisis or living with a life-threatening illness."
“Join us and make a profound difference for people in our community living with life-threatening illnesses, all while having fun and meeting others. We have a wide variety of opportunities and will work with you to find the perfect fit for your skills, interests and availability.”
4. Election Worker
5. League of Women Voters Minnesota (LWVMN)
Mission: “The League of Women Voters encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy… The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.”
Volunteer Options: Voter registration and volunteering at local League events.
6. Secondhand Hounds
We are always looking for people who can help us save the lives of more dogs and cats. If you love animals and would like to help out in ways other than fostering, please read below to learn about volunteer opportunities.
7. Black Visions Collective
“Black Visions Collective (BLVC) believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in the right relationship within our ecosystems.”
“Bridging, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization primarily serving the Twin Cities, provides donated furniture and household goods to families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. Bridging gives hope – and for many – a leap toward stability for the first time. With locations in Roseville and Bloomington, Bridging is driven by volunteers and donations of basic home essential items from the community….More than 5,000 individual and group volunteers donate nearly 80,000 service hours each year. (Based on 2019 statistics.)”
9. Eat for Equity
“Eat for Equity builds a culture of generosity through sustainable community feasts. We invite people to come together to eat, drink, give what they can, and raise thousands of dollars for other nonprofit causes.”
10. Avenues for Youth
“For 25 years, Avenues has supported youth ages 16-24 in Hennepin County. Whether a young person needs someplace to stay for just one night, or a year and a half, Avenues empowers youth to find their path out of homelessness. We do that by providing a stable home, building trusting relationships, and navigating the youth’s education, career, health and wellness and housing goals.”
“Volunteers are essential to our work. Whether they put together welcome kits, file papers with our admin staff, or tutor a young person on math, they make an impact on youth experiencing homelessness.”
11. TC Food Justice
“TC Food Justice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis. Since March 2016 we have been working with co-ops, grocery stores, and farmers markets to re-distribute their unsalable foods to local hunger relief organizations. We focus on vegetables, fruits, and nutrient rich breads because hunger relief organizations often find it challenging to consistently provide fresh food options for their clients. We seek to improve food insecure individuals’ access to fresh, nutritious food.”
12. Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis
“The mission of Catholic Charities is to serve those most in need and to advocate for justice in the community. Men, women, children and families, just like all of us, come to Catholic Charities during some of the hardest times in their lives. The darkness of abuse, illness, homelessness, hunger. From the youngest child at Northside Child Development Center to the oldest soul seeking shelter at the Dorothy Day Place, we say yes.”
“Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis invites you to volunteer your time to serve people most in need in our community. We welcome people of all faiths and will work with you to find an opportunity that matches your skills and interests. We offer on site and off site opportunities for individuals and groups.’
13. Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS)
“We provide senior services, career services, children and family services, community engagement, and counseling and mental health support. Our staff is highly trained and professional, providing culturally sensitive, confidential care that incorporates best practices. Repairing the world one person at a time, a central value of Judaism, informs our work and mission. Above all, our staff are compassionate and experienced. We are here for you when you need us, for many years to come.”
14. Loppet Foundation
Trail maintenance, Kids’ summer programs, virtual races
“We create a shared passion for year-round outdoor adventure in the Minneapolis area, focusing on underserved youth and families.
15. FB4k – Free Bikes for Kids
“Passionate about the wellbeing of children, FREE BIKES 4 KIDZ brings communities together to sustainably furnish bikes to kids-in-need, providing a pathway to health, happiness and opportunity.”
16. Help at Your Door
Help At Your Door volunteers assist with transportation, home support, and grocery assistance services in a variety of ways.
"Over 500 volunteers find purpose in giving back to their communities through Help At Your Door. From giving rides to painting projects and changing light bulbs, Help At Your Door’s volunteers step up to help seniors and individuals with disabilities maintain their independence and continue living in their homes."
17. The Arc Minnesota
"An advocacy organization founded more than 70 years ago by parents of children with disabilities. Provides information and assistance, advocacy and training and education for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout their lifetime. The Arc advocates for systems change at the local, state and national level."
19. Second Harvest Heartland
"Second Harvest Heartland believes no one should ever go hungry, as our region produces more than enough food for everyone. Helping hungry neighbors find their next meal—so they can thrive at work, in the classroom and in their communities—is what drives Second Harvest Heartland, its partners and supporters. Beyond feeding hungry neighbors, Second Harvest Heartland believes in the importance of our work to help sustain our environment."
20. CLUES- Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio
"A linguistically and culturally relevant resource and service nonprofit organization by Latinos for Latinos. Our programs and services connect individuals and families to resources, skills, institutions, and systems and create an environment for people to be engaged and empowered."
Volunteering options: food distribution, mentoring youth, teaching English, tutoring, helping in the Aging Well Center, special events.
21. Lutheran Social Service of MN
“We are neighbors helping neighbors – Minnesotans rising together to practice compassion. And we are here to support you with personalized services that inspire hope, change lives and build community.”
22. The Aliveness Project
"Founded as a community center for and driven by people living with HIV. Facilitating connection to community, offering nutrition & wellness services, and linking members to resources to lead fulfilling and healthy lives."
Volunteering Options: Kitchen assistants, front desk receptionists, food shelf workers, office and administrative assistants, gardeners, skill-based volunteers, group volunteer opportunities.
23. Food Banks/Homeless Shelters
24. The Sheridan Story
“More than 200,000 children in Minnesota live with food insecurity. Without reliable access to food – such as free and reduced meal programs at school – the risk of hunger is very real. The Sheridan Story works to fight hunger in our community by filling the gaps to food access that children face during weekends, summers and extended breaks."
Volunteer options: Private and group volunteer events or host a food drive.
25. ACLU of Minnesota
"Our vision for our state and country is one that fulfills the promise of the Minnesota and United States Constitutions to protect the civil rights and liberties of everyone. We are the pre-eminent civil liberties organization in Minnesota, and a nationally admired leader among ACLU affiliates."
Volunteer options: "Our volunteers participate in important ACLU-MN events by visiting lawmakers at the State Capitol, helping run Warrant Resolution Day events that have resolved about 1,500 misdemeanor warrants, marching with us in the Pride Parade, and giving out information at our booth at the Minnesota State Fair. ACLU-MN volunteers also help in our office by assisting with data entry, preparing for events and performing other miscellaneous office tasks. Volunteers with specialized skills have helped us with graphic design, photography, videography, branding and much more."
26. MORC – Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists
"MORC is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to safeguarding the future of mountain biking in Minnesota through the promotion of responsible riding, establishment and maintenance of mountain biking trails, and preservation of Minnesota’s natural resources."
Volunteer options: trail work and maintenance, committee volunteer.
27. Mississippi Park Connection
“Providing park experiences for everyone is one of the leading goals of Mississippi Park Connection. Together with the National Park Service and many other organizations in the community, we provide year-round programs and events for adults, families, and kids.”
Volunteer options: restoration crew, volunteer training, tree checkup, trash cleanup, invasive species removal, substitute interpretive assistant, habitat restoration crew leader.
28. Minnesota Freedom Fund
“The Minnesota Freedom Fund pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.”
Volunteer options: Bail agent, greeter, special skill sets (artist, web development, accounting, etc.)
29. TPT – Twin Cities PBS
“Our mission is to enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media.”
Volunteer options: Second Saturdays events, pledge drives, screenings, concerts, office work, State Fair help.
30. Peacemaker Minnesota
Mission: “To help create a more peaceful world, the mission of PeaceMaker Minnesota is to help schools be safer places, free from bullying and harassment, and to help youth learn positive relational skills like empathy, respect, cooperation and how to resolve conflicts peacefully.”
Volunteer options: Administrative assistant, ambassador, communications specialist, grant writer, team leader, special event organizer, school recruiter, school resource assistant.
31. Save the Boundary Waters
"The Campaign to Save The Boundary Waters is leading the efforts to protect the Boundary Waters Wilderness from sulfide-ore copper mining.The Campaign, led by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, was organized by local residents in and around Ely, Minnesota, who are dedicated to creating a national movement to protect the clean water, clean air and forest landscape of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and its watershed from toxic pollution caused by mining copper, nickel and other metals from sulfide-bearing ore."
Volunteer options: Phone-banking, letters-to-the-editor, meeting with lawmakers/staffers, partnering with local businesses to host educational events, lectures & happy hours, Meet-ups with local Boundary Water enthusiasts.
32. Three Rivers Park District
The mission of Three Rivers Park District is to promote environmental stewardship through recreation and education in a natural resources-based park system. It encompasses over 27,000 acres of parks and trails and serves millions of visitors annually.
Volunteer options: "Three Rivers has ongoing and short-term volunteer openings for many interests. From turtle monitors to program interpreters to park patrollers and more, you’ll find plenty of ways to give back, and feel good doing it.”
33. Homeless encampments in the Twin Cities (Unofficial)
Unofficial volunteer options: Displaced residents and families need food, medical care and security. These locations can be found throughout the Twin Cities.
34. Valley Outreach
Mission: “We help people move their lives forward through basic needs services and personalized support.” Programs include food shelf, clothing program and client support services.
Individual Volunteer options: Intake, client host, food rescue specialists, warehouse, bonus Friday, snack pack packer, snack pack delivery, mobile choice shopper, mobile choice delivery.
Group Volunteer Options: Clean the food shelf, clean the warehouse, snack pack packers, sort clothing, host a food and fund drive, host a clothing fund drive.
35. Science Museum of Minnesota
Mission: “We exist to Turn on the science: Inspire learning. Inform policy. Improve lives.”
Volunteer options: “Whether they’re facilitating a hands-on science activity, preparing a fossil specimen, or offering directions to the Omnitheater entrance, Science Museum volunteers are at the heart of the memorable experiences our visitors have come to expect. We welcome volunteers of varying ages, interests, and skills. We are grateful for the generous donation of your time, and we look forward to helping you build your skills.”
36. Friends of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
“The Friends of the SPCO has been supporting The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for over thirty years–it was organized in 1977 and incorporated in 1984. Our goal is to be ambassadors for the SPCO and to help build audiences for the exciting and intimate world of chamber music. In addition to fundraisers, social and community events, we work with children in the SPCO’s Start the Music program, sponsor the Fanfare pre-concert lectures at SPCO concerts, offer a four-week music lecture series three times a year, and sponsor and coordinate the annual SPCO Youth Chamber Music Competition.”
Volunteer options: Assist with educational and family programs, chair or work an event or on an administrative committee, participate in fundraising events and Orchestra Appreciation Luncheons, help organize and run the SPCO Youth Chamber Musice Competition.
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