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Places to Volunteer and Donate to in Kansas City

If you’re looking for places to volunteer as a family or other volunteer opportunities, there are places in Kansas City for those of all ages. Our community is filled with volunteering near you! Aside from giving back to the community you live in and love, there are many other benefits to serving your community. The community service opportunities in Kansas City exist far beyond shelters and soup kitchens. Check out this list below!

Locations to Volunteer

Harvesters Community Food Network

Harvesters Community Food Network aims to combat the growing food insecurity for those in the Kansas City metro area. They are one of the largest outreach programs in the metro area, which means that they are always in need of a helping hand. Click here for the list of volunteering opportunities!

Here are a few ways that you and your family can help:

  • Participating in a family service day
  • Finding a local location to volunteer
  • Creating homemade greeting cards
  • Make a holiday tribute for Recipes of Hope


NourishKC is another organization that is a huge contributor to helping those in the Kansas City metro area. They acknowledge that sometimes it can be hard for people who find themselves in situations of poverty or homelessness to reach out for help. NourishKC provides meals for those who are without a home or those battling food insecurities in a restaurant setting. They are given choices on where to sit, what meal they want to eat, and more. The “Dining with Dignity” program gives them a sense of normalcy while they deal with what can feel like chaos. Click here for the list of volunteering opportunities!

Here are a few ways that you and your family can help:

  • Assisting with food preparations
  • Serve as wait staff, bussers, or dishwashers during mealtime
  • Work in the food pantry
  • Help to unload donations

Children’s Mercy Hospital

Children’s Mercy Kansas City believes that every child deserves more. More everyday solutions to keep kids safe and healthy. More life-changing research to fight rare diseases. More working together with parents, schools, and our community. Because when we partner together, we can clear new paths for every child’s potential. Click here for the list of volunteering opportunities!

Here are a few ways that you and your family can help:

Kansas Hospice Care

Those final weeks and days can be extremely difficult for those patients in hospice care. The impact that you can make on a patient with this act of kindness is something that you will never know. Volunteering at Kansas Hospice Care is an amazing way to give back this holiday season or anytime of the year for that matter. Giving your time to someone who is elderly or terminally ill can be a beautiful memory. Click here for the list of volunteer opportunities!

Here are a few ways that you are your family can help:

  • Assist those patients with games or activities
  • Play games with patients
  • Sing to the patients

Shelter KC

Shelter KC is a Christian organization that provides services to homeless men and women here in Kansas City. The mission behind Shelter KC is to empower people to reach their full potential, and they do that in a variety of ways throughout the year. Click here for a list of volunteer opportunities!

Here are a few ways that you and your family can help:

  • Help to serve dinner to the community
  • Become a prayer partner for Shelter KC
  • Consider an ongoing contribution to their Community of Hope program

City Union Mission

This private Christian organization has offered safety, food, and warm beds for displaced men, women, and children. Since they are a private organization, they do not receive any government support and rely exclusively on the charitable donations provided by members of our community. They welcome volunteers who are willing to serve by providing meals, offering time, and supporting in other high-impact areas here in Kansas City. Click here for the list of volunteer opportunities!

Here are a few ways that you and your family can help:

  • Host a drive in your neighborhood
  • Cook and serve a meal to homeless families
  • Become a one-time or recurring impact volunteer

Boys Hope Girls Hope of Kansas City

As one of only 16 in the world, Boys Hope Girls Hope works with motivated junior high and high school children to rise above generational poverty so that they can have success in postsecondary education and beyond. The goal of the organization is to graduate students who are physically, emotionally, and academically prepared for life in college and to be productive as adults. They do this with the belief that young people hold the power to realize their potential, overcome adversity, and change the world. Click here for the list of volunteering opportunities!

Here are a few ways that you and your family can help:

  • Serve a family dinner for the students
  • Become a carpool driver
  • Volunteer as an academic success coach

Wayside Waifs

Wayside Waifs has become the area’s leading privately funded, independent nonprofit charity serving homeless animals in Kansas City. What started as an organization to prevent cruelty to animals has grown into a no-kill shelter committed to finding homes for all adoptable pets. Additionally, they have an on-site dog park and pet cemetery available to KC area pet owners. Click here for a list of volunteer opportunities!

Here are some ways you and your family can help:

  • Have your child become a “kid in action”
  • Collect wish list items for the shelter
  • Foster an animal in your home
  • Become a dog or cat socializer (Must be 13 to do so)
  • Make a donation

KC Pet Project

All KC animal rescue shelters need help caring for their animals. KC Pet Project is no different. Any age can volunteer, but children 15 & younger must be accompanied by an adult. KCPP strives to care for all healthy and treatable pets that have been abandoned, lost, or abused in the Kansas City metro area. Click here for a list of volunteer opportunities!

Here are some ways you and your family can help:

  • Snuggle Service
  • Playground program
  • Fostering animals in your home
  • Volunteering at your local shelter
  • Bottle-feeding NICU kittens

Prairie Paws Animal Shelter

This animal shelter welcomes and needs volunteers every day, 365 days a year. Many volunteer opportunities can fit your skills. The Prairie Paws Animal Shelter is still a private, non-profit shelter operating by the same philosophy under which it was established over 70 years ago through the tireless efforts of its staff and volunteers. Prairie Paws Animal Shelter will never euthanize for space, and all animals are given a second chance at finding their perfect families. Click here for a list of volunteer opportunities!

Here are some ways you and your family can help:

  • Foster a pet
  • Join Dog Play Group
  • Help out with events
  • Have your child join Prairie Paws Kidz Club

Charities That Help Children During the Holidays

Project Linus

This charity is named after the beloved Peanuts character that drags along his blue blanket, Project Linus provides blankets to children in need. This children-focused charity donates, on average, 350 blankets monthly over the last 20 years. To help, you can donate a handmade blanket at a local drop-off site or donate online.

Pay Away the Layaway

If you didn’t know, layaway is a way for families to pay for items without paying the full amount up front. Being able to do so can help during the holidays when shopping for presents. Pay Away the Layaway partners with major retailers like Burlington Stores and Walmart to pay for thousands of families’ gifts and essentials on layaway. You can donate online to help families pay for every item on their list or volunteer to help at a local payoff event.

One Simple Wish

One Simple Wish is an organization that aims to provide love and care to thousands of children impacted by neglect or abuse in the foster care system. You can help grant a child’s wish by browsing the wishes on the website, from a Sephora shopping spree to a new camera. The wishes provide information on the child and their interests as well as the price of the specific wish. There are also options to contribute to a larger wish, like car payments or furniture items for older kids.

St. Jude

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is dedicated to finding cures and means of prevention for pediatric diseases like cancer through treatment and research all year long. During the holidays, there are so many ways to donate. You can shop the St Jude’s gift shop for gifts that give back. Many brands donate a portion of their sales to St. Jude, selling everyday essentials or holiday décor. You can even choose St. Jude as your designated charity on AmazonSmile, which will donate a portion of qualifying purchases directly to St. Jude.

Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps those children throughout the year, but it also partners with companies to raise money, specifically during the holiday season. If you drop off a letter to Santa at any Macy’s location, Macy’s donates $1 per letter to Make-A-Wish. You can also help raise money for Male-A-Wish by making purchases related to current promotions. The partnered company will contribute to Make-A-Wish when you make a purchase.

Salvation Army Angel Tree

The Salvation Army has an Angel Tree program in association with Walmart. The stores have Christmas trees that have tags on them. Each tag has a wish list of a specific child. Those who wish to donate pick one of these angel tags, shop for gifts and drop off the gifts for the Salvation Army to distribute.

Toys for Tots

This organization is run by the U.S. Marine Corps, Toys for Tots has been collecting new, unwrapped toys and distributing them to less-fortunate children since 1947. There are a number of ways to support Toys for Tots’ mission, including purchasing a toy and donating it at a local toy drop location, shopping for a toy to donate via the Toys for Tots website, or donating money online. The toys typically go to children aged 12 and younger, though some communities may provide gifts for up to age 16.

Operation Christmas Spirit

Help out the children in a military family through Operation Christmas Spirit. You can “adopt” a military family and provide gifts or gift cards when you are a donor. You can also opt to donate money online and allow volunteers to do the shopping for you. The program also allows donors to “adopt” a service member who is not married.

Prison Fellowship Angel Tree

This Christian charity offers an Angel Tree program that helps children who have at least one parent in prison. Through the program, volunteers deliver a gift and a message from both the Gospel and the child’s incarcerated parent. Each family also gets an English or Spanish Bible.

Operation Christmas Child

A program run by a Christian organization called Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child, takes a collection of shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, apparel, candy, and a personal note. You start by selecting a child’s age group and then filling a box with items consistent with that age group. A small donation is required to cover shipping costs. If you donate online, you will receive a special label for your shoebox so you can track your box’s journey to its final destination.

These volunteering opportunities and charities are for everyone. Here in Kansas City, these opportunities to help those in need are great, but we, as a community, can come together to make a difference. Don’t just wait for the holidays to lend a helping hand, a lot of these locations are open year-round and are always looking for volunteers.

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