Volunteering isn’t just about helping others, it also can instill a sense of pride in your community.
If you’re a parent looking to find something to get the kids out of the house that doubles as something constructive, there’s no shortage of volunteer opportunities in Detroit. Here’s a look at some of the organizations throughout metro Detroit that rely on volunteers to perform their missions.
Did you know that Forgotten Harvest rescued more than 45 million pounds of food that otherwise would have been thrown out last year? That includes fruits, vegetables and all sorts of quality food that went to the needy instead of a landfill. The explanation of how good food almost gets sent away as trash is complex, but the bottom line is that with volume like that comes a lot of need for workers.
The work of Forgotten Harvest requires thousands of volunteer hours, and while they have regulars they’re always looking for more help.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of the operation,” said Christopher Ivey. “Without them, we cannot do our mission.”
Forgotten Harvest has jobs in Oak Park for people packaging bulk items to distribute individually and to make sandwiches throughout the summer for special programs they help. They even have a farm in Fenton where hundreds of volunteers can perform work at any given time — it’s a great opportunity for large groups, but anyone can volunteer if you fit a few simple requirements. You can learn more about volunteering here.
CASS COMMUNITY SERVICES
Cass Community Social Services has been giving back to the community for decades. Whether it’s meals for the homebound, medical care, job training, mentoring or simply cleaning up neighborhoods. Come for an hour, come for a day or a few weeks — volunteers at Cass Community Social Services can help in a variety of ways. They’ll take on volunteers of all ages, but they suggest that you be over the age of 10 on the group’s website.
With a variety of volunteer opportunities they can handle groups of two all the way up to groups of 100, but it’s always best to call ahead to see what times are available. You can call 313-883-2277 to learn more about volunteer opportunities. You can learn more about Cass Community Services by checking out the group’s website.
KIDS HELPING KIDS (GLEANERS COMMUNITY FOOD BANK)
Gleaners Community Food Bank has been helping feed people throughout southeast Michigan since 1977, but the Kids Helping Kids program is relatively new compared to the rest of the nonprofit.
Young people can learn about hunger and nutrition while helping out hungry peers too. Volunteers are able to sort and pack food and prepare supplies for food drives too. The program is limited to 30 youth, and chaperones are needed — but it gets young people involved in their own community. They run programs in Detroit, Pontiac and Warren.
You can learn more about Kids Helping Kids on the Gleaner's website.
Salvation Army accepts volunteers under the age of 18 if they work alongside a parent and/or guardian. The work can range from delivering meals throughout Detroit inside one of the Salvation Army Bed & Bread trucks, or making sandwiches at the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light location.
They also have a number of volunteer opportunities at the 13 metro Detroit corps and community centers, but the opportunities vary and you’re urged to contact the location in advance to see what might be needed.
If you’d like to learn more you can look up opportunities online, or call the divisional volunteer and events coordinator at 248-443-5500.
CAPUCHIN SOUP KITCHEN
If you want to volunteer with your child, Capuchin Soup Kitchen allows minors to volunteer alongside parents and/or guardians. Those older than 18-years-old are free to volunteer at any of the needed areas within the soup kitchen.
The most common need for volunteers is food service — Capuchin Soup Kitchen offers meals from 8-10a, 10:30a-1p and 3:30-6p.
If you’d like to read more about the opportunities available you can check out further details, here.