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Best of KC: The Best Places to Volunteer

Best of KC / January 31, 2019

Right around the holidays, most people are inundated with chances to volunteer their time and donate money. But it’s also the time of year when none of us has a lot of free time and most of our cash money is being spent on gifts for our kids. Or our dogs. Or our moms. Or Great Aunt Rose. But did you know winter continues? The holidays are over and—phew!—we all recovered. Our 2019 fitness and diet resolutions may or not be panning out, but we can make a new one! January is a great time of year to think about volunteering. You’re no longer swamped with holiday madness, and most agencies are still in desperate need. If nothing else, it’s a chance to spread a little cheer and beat those winter blues. Here are the best places to volunteer in Kansas City.

Operation Breakthrough 

Providing a safe, loving, and educational environment for children in poverty, Operation Breakthrough strives to empower families with advocacy, emergency aid, and education. In addition to always needing new and used goods for their children and families, volunteers are needed to help in the classrooms, manage the food pantry and clothing closet, tutor parents for their GED exams, rock babies, and so much more. 

The Children’s Place

Committed to meeting the developmental and mental health needs of children who have survived abuse, neglect, and other types of trauma, The Children’s Place empowers volunteers and utilizes donations to make a difference in these children’s lives. Their teachers, clinicians, and volunteers believe that children everywhere deserve to lead happy, healthy, and hopeful lives. Volunteers are always needed to give their time, talents, and unconditional love to help children heal from complex trauma. If you’re interested in what they do, check out the tours they offer on the first Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.

Habitat for Humanity 

Everyone deserves decent, affordable shelter according to Habitat for Humanity. They help families build their homes and in so doing, build strength, stability, and self-reliance. Volunteers can donate materials, money, and perhaps most importantly, time. If you have basic skills or experience in construction—and even if you don’t—volunteering on a worksite is a great way to get your hands dirty and benefit others. And if you enjoy that, Habitat has opportunities all around the country and sponsors trips all around the world! 

Literacy KC

Committed to advancing literacy within the KC metro area, Literacy KC offers a supportive community for adults and families to improve literacy skills. Students identify personal and academic goals, qualified instructors meet students where they are and design appropriate lessons to help them meet those goals. And volunteers are trained to support the instructors and match the students’ needs. In addition to reading tutors, Literacy KC needs Entry to English tutors, English conversation partners, math tutors, computer tutors, and help performing community outreach and other office support responsibilities.

 Harvesters—The Community Food Network

Unfortunately, hunger is a major issue, not just in our region, but across the country. It affects all types of people—there are no boundaries, age limits, or race distinctions, and hundreds of thousands of people in the metro area don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Harvesters has many programs that feed hungry families, children and seniors. They need food donations, time donations—preparing and serving meals, monetary donations, and advocacy assistance. Did you know that every $1 helps Harvesters provide three meals? Surely you can do at least that!  

City Union Mission 

Located downtown, City Union Mission, offers short-term housing to people who are homeless. In addition, they provide skills training, grocery help, school supplies, and summer camps for kids. They rely solely on help from volunteers and donors! You can volunteer as little as two to six hours at a time or you can make a more long-term commitment. It’s been cold this winter—I’m sure City Union Mission could use some extra help! 

Serve KC 

Serve KC is a great resource for anyone who’s interested in volunteering for specific events and meeting new, like-minded people in the process. Check out their website for a listing of upcoming events, like meal serves, hospice care, or assisting at a thrift store. Founded by member who are committed to serving their community, Serve KC strives to be an inclusive place for all people interested in volunteering their time, talents, and treasures to local nonprofits. You can pick and choose the opportunities that fit your schedule and interests with no pressure to make a long-term commitment. Seems fun and easy to me!

Kansas Special Olympics

Relying on more than 20,000 volunteers of all ages each year, Special Olympics Kansas aims to provide quality sports programs to all individuals with intellectual disabilities, empowering them to be physically fit, productive, and leaders. You can volunteer as a group. as an individual,  or as a health professional to fill roles such as coach, trainer, official, scorekeeper, timer, and fundraiser. Or you can simply be a role model, character builder, or cheerleader!

Humane Society of Greater Kansas City 

Because animals need love too! The Humane Society is a no-kill shelter that cares for lost, abandoned, or broken pets. You can volunteer to care for the animals at the care center, help rescue animals, organize events, or serve as a foster parent. There are lots of ways to help out, so contact them to see which options might match your lifestyle and availability.  

Children’s Mercy Hospital 

Nationally recognized for it’s world-class pediatric expertise, Children’s Mercy Hospital also offers a variety of options for volunteers. If you want to interact with kids, you can help with activities, art projects, and games. Or you can help run the snack shop, gift shop, information desk, and more. Both are rewarding and sure to brighten your day! Or someone else’s!



Friends, this is just a short list. If you can’t find anything that matches what you’re looking for, then please give Google a shout-out. There’s so much need in the world, every little bit helps! For more inspirational words to get you to donate your time and talents, check out our website at

Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh