There are no shortage of charities in our beloved Tacoma that could use the help of your time or a financial contribution, but finding a place to volunteer with kids in tow can be tricky.
Here we offer a few options for getting little ones and teens involved in helping the community.
(Formerly FISH Food Bank)
Distribute or prep food (Ages 11-13 with parent or guardian, 14+ independently)
Because of help from volunteers, this organization is able to serve nutritious food to well over half a million people each year in Pierce County.
On food distribution days – volunteers may greet and check in clients, accompany clients through the food bank as they shop, restock shelves, help clients load groceries and return shopping carts to the food bank.
On preparation days – volunteers may sort food products, repackage bulk foods into smaller portions for distribution, restock shelves and break down boxes. Some volunteers assist with picking up food from local grocery stores and other locations, or receiving food deliveries and unloading delivery trucks.
Find out more about volunteering with Nourish Pierce County.
Holiday help (Ages 16 and older)
Throughout December, the YWCA needs volunteers like you to support survivors and their families during the holiday season. They’re looking for the following holiday helpers:
Gift Wrapper – volunteers wrap gifts in a fun and festive holiday workshop.
Personal Shopper – volunteers pair up with shelter families, get to know them and their loved ones, then set out to a custom Holiday Gift Center to pick out the perfect presents. This includes making sure clients feel welcome as well as keeping track of gifts for the families.
Holiday Gift Center Set Up – volunteers help set up, break down, sort, organize, and display gifts in the Holiday Gift Center.
Learn more about holiday volunteering for the YWCA here.
Sorting and bagging food (All ages with adult supervision)
Get the kids involved by working alongside them to sort and bag food for families in need. Though this is a “fairly simple job,” it’s a great way for families to help out during the holidays.
A look at how many in our area this charity has been able to help in recent years:
Learn more about Eloise’s Cooking Pot by clicking here.
Holiday distribution (Ages 16+, variable)
The folks at Toy Rescue Mission are highly organized this time of year, as they’re on a mission to collect, rehab and distribute gifts before Santa’s due to show. Bi-lingual volunteers are especially needed, including those fluent in Spanish or Russian.
The Toy Rescue Mission, whose big events are Christmas and Easter each year, is “nearly 100%” run by volunteers. When not in distributions mode there are opportunities to help with toy washing, electronic repairs, knitting doll blankets, data entry, supervision of volunteer groups and event organization.
Volunteers younger than 16 need approval for private work parties (for example, a Boy Scout Troop filling Easter eggs), and depending on the situation may or may not need a parent. If you’re interested in arranging an opportunity for a younger group get in touch!
Find more information on volunteering for Christmas 2017 here.
Run your own holiday toy or food drive (All ages)
“For the 25% of Pierce County families struggling with the choice to pay the rent or the utility bill or to buy food, the holidays can be a very stressful time of year.”
We can help alleviate some of that stress by helping provide food and gifts. The United Way has made it easy to set up your own food or toy drive for the holidays, complete with instructions and printable flyers.
This opportunity is perfect for kids not quite ready to volunteer in person.
To open a PDF with more information click here.
Know of another great volunteer opportunity in Tacoma? Share with us by leaving a comment below.