Volunteer opportunities are everywhere in Orange County. Whether you’re looking to help with shelter animals, homeless outreach, or literacy programs, there’s something for everyone with different levels of involvement. Here are a few opportunities that residents can take part in to help make a difference in the community.
6621 Westminster Boulevard, Westminster
Animal shelters all over the county need volunteers for everything from fostering pets to walking dogs. WAGS Westminster is one of those locations that needs help, and they have a variety of needs that are suitable for adults, families, and even minors. Volunteer opportunities include playing with cats and dogs to socialize them in preparation for adoption, cleaning the cages and kennels, caring for and playing with rabbits, creating home adoption kits, transporting animals to educational and elder settings for outings, bottle-feeding babies, and more. If helping animals is your goal, WAGS or another animal shelter is an ideal place to get involved.
8014 Marine Way, Irvine
Second Harvest Food Bank strives to fight hunger in Orange County, with over 21 million meals distributed annually. Volunteers provide approximately 40% of the work force at Second Harvest by helping out in a variety of positions. Some volunteers help out with administrative services, data entry, and nutrition education, while others help out with sorting food, packaging it, and distributing the meals. There’s even an opportunity for kids to help out at Izzy’s Corner – a safe kid friendly space inside the food distribution center. Kids ages 7-13 can volunteer at Izzy’s Corner where they’ll receive a short tour of the facility and then they’ll sort and package produce for hungry children in Orange County. Packages from Izzy’s Corner are distributed to the Mobile Pantry and the School Pantry so that youth volunteers can directly help other youth in the community.
Orange County Parks and Zoos always need people to help out. Parks need volunteers to help restore trails, provide education to visitors, help out in the nature centers, and serve as additional staff during high traffic times. At the zoo, volunteers can provide guided tours, help prepare food for the animals, and assist with other zoo activities. Volunteering at community parks and zoos is a great way to help educate and inform other people in the community.
Local libraries always need volunteers. Teens are especially welcomed as volunteers for libraries, providing help with story times, crafts, and other youth programs and providing much needed help by sorting and shelving books. Literacy programs and outreach for arts and culture is a great way to spend time volunteering in the community.
Habitat For Humanity
Habitat for Humanity builds and restores homes to provide reasonable living accommodations for at risk and low income families. There are many different ways that volunteers help with Habitat For Humanity. The main volunteer function is construction, helping to build and restore homes. Other volunteer opportunities include graphic design, provide homeowner education to selected families, write press releases, answer phones, and provide data entry services. Volunteers for Habitat For Humanity help improve lives by giving people a place to call home.
Volunteers at CHOC Children’s Hospital will make a difference in the lives of sick children and their families. Volunteer opportunities at CHOC include clerical support, providing activities like coloring and reading to patients in waiting areas, assisting in play rooms, showing families around the hospital and more. Volunteers at CHOC Children’s Hospital help to brighten the day of sick or injured children and their families.
The Ronald McDonald House provides a safe and comfortable place for families to live together while children receive treatment for cancer and other severe illnesses and injuries. Volunteers for the Orange County Ronald McDonald House can provide a variety of services like light housekeeping, administrative tasks, helping families, stocking supplies, and answering phones. Long term volunteer opportunities are only available here, so no short term or summer only volunteers will be accepted. Volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House provides comfort and support to families so they can focus on being together as they help their children through the recovery process.
The United Way fights for financial stability, quality education, stable housing, and good health for everyone. Volunteers for the United Way can help in a variety of ways. Teens can help out by leading youth summer camps and providing tutoring to younger kids. Other opportunities like distributing food, volunteering at shelters, collecting bedding and clothing, mentoring children, and creating welcome home baskets are some of the many ways you can lend a hand with the United Way. The United Way is a great opportunity to help families find stability and learn more about the steps they can take for a brighter future.
Huntington Beach seeks volunteers to help provide assistance to senior citizens. Most communities have a senior outreach program so check the website for your city of choice to find out how to volunteer. Huntington Beach seeks volunteers to deliver meals to seniors in their homes, provide transportation, serve hot lunches to seniors at the community center, and provide friendly visits to those in need. While many seniors spend their days alone, this is a great opportunity to provide much needed human interaction for people who are lonely and unable to get out and socialize.