10 Great Places Pittsburgh Kids Can Volunteer and Make a Difference
Cami Teacoach started VolunTOTS in February to teach her sons Bennett, 4, and William, 1, the joy that comes with volunteering. Now, as Thanksgiving approaches, the group whose motto is âAnyone Can Helpâ is adding VolunTYKES to include students in Grades 1 through 5. She has met many families who are looking for a place to volunteer in Pittsburgh, and she sees how it helps children discover the difference they can make.
âWe think it’s important to expose them to circumstances that are different from theirs,â says Teacoach of Marshall Township. “And we believe that [volunteering] promotes civic pride from an early age.
As a first activity, the toddlers made Valentine’s Day for the residents of the nursing homes. They also packed 3,000 bags of treats for Pittsburgh area hospital workers, organized a toy drive for the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, collected items for a Christmas event in July to benefit Jeremiah’s Place and turned out to be associated with other organizations to distribute furniture, housewares, hygiene items and diapers around the area.
On November 13, VolunTOTS / VolunTYKES will be packing 200 boxes with Thanksgiving dinners for low-income families, which will be distributed by Lighthouse Foundation.
Children, says Teacoach, ârealize that they want to help others and what it means to help others. Helping others can make them feel good and can also make others feel good. They learn this feeling of mutual happiness.
In the same way VolunTOTS / TYKES, here are nine other organizations that give children the opportunity to learn what it means to help others by volunteering:
Megs Yunn started the organization in 2011 after meeting a young girl named Beverly as part of an after-school program. Its aim is to ensure that homeless children or those from families in need can experience celebrations for birthdays and milestones.
âI love that our organization can use something we all have in common – a birthday – and use it to teach children about service,â Yunn says. âFamilies can cook, organize a fundraiser, attend a ‘Service Saturday’ or sponsor goody bags, and they know their work goes directly to celebrating another child in the community.
The second Saturdays of each month are Family Volunteer Days at Headquarters, 9799 Laurel Ave., North Huntingdon. These 9 a.m. to noon events tend to fill up quickly.
North Hills Community Outreach
NHCO accepts donations of food and wishlist items for its pantries in Allison Park, Millvale and Bellevue, operates a sharing program for the distribution of donated goods, and provides senior services such as delivery of food, gardening and leaf raking. Volunteers can also help clean up debris and other tasks.
Children of all ages can help as cookie bakers for fundraisers, community events, and meetings. âWe count the cost of ingredients as an in-kind donation,â NHCO explains on its website. âThe time bakers spend preparing, baking and delivering cookies is recorded as volunteer hours in our volunteer database. “
Bring donations to all three sites on weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as the first Saturday of each month to the Allison Park location from 9 a.m. to noon. To volunteer, contact Harriet Klatte, 412-408-3830 X3204, or [email protected]
412/724 Food Rescue
This pioneering organization to reduce food waste and hunger calls its volunteers âour personal heroesâ. Families can volunteer as often as they like, even calling for a weekly ârescueâ. Download the Food Rescue Hero app, which will send a notification to your phone when a rescue is available in the area.
Although temporarily suspended due to COVID-19, the organization generally needs volunteers for events such as community gatherings and fundraisers, where they can help with setup, ventilation, hospitality. from guests, loading equipment and more.
Children will quickly understand the concept of reducing waste and redistributing food to those who experience food insecurity. For food donations and volunteer support, contact 412-277-3831 or [email protected]
Beyond its bell ringers who ensure the visibility of the organization during the winter holiday period, the Salvation Army exists to help people with many needs, at home and elsewhere. From its beginnings in 1852 as part of the Universal Christian Church, the organization has relied on volunteers as âthe army behind the Armyâ.
Children can collect money or goods for donation to one of the homeless shelters or army pantries, or make cards to encourage veterans who receive help by through a shelter or rehabilitation center for adults.
Older children and teens could help prepare meals for The Salvation Army’s Homeless Feeding Outreach program, which helps displaced people with meals and basic disinfection items. Or check out one of the many local Salvation Army locations for current volunteer needs.
Foster Love Project
This organization, which provides support to foster children and the families who care for them, will open on November 15 at its new location: 463 S. Trenton Ave., Wilkinsburg. Founder Kelly Hughes, who started the organization eight years ago, and her husband Andrew have welcomed eight children over the years.
To teach children how to give back to children during the holiday season, consider involving them in building a bag of requested items for children in transition to different homes, or donating holiday gifts to affected children. through foster care and adoption through Angel Tree gift collection.
Children ages 4 and up are welcome to help out as volunteers at the Donation Center, where volunteers sort new donations, take inventory, clean up and perform various tasks.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory
Volunteers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to help the parks they love by registering for Volunteer Days. Park staff will join the volunteers, bringing the necessary gloves, tools and expertise to oversee the weeding, invasive plant removal or litter pickup that is required.
The Conservancy also operates a Park Champions program for volunteers who educate the public about the parks system. Or, get involved as an urban ecosteward or in an event sponsored by a school or community program. For more information, contact [email protected]
Ronald McDonald House
Kids love the Happy Meals and play areas they find at McDonald’s. And they can help other children who are undergoing serious medical treatment by reaching out to Ronald McDonald House, the charity that helps families be by their child’s bedside during these situations.
On-site volunteer programs are currently on hold due to COVID-19, but families can still volunteer off-site by assembling welcome bags or donating meals at a restaurant or grocery store and / or merchandise. pantry or toiletries from Amazon’s wishlist for deliveries.
For more information, contact Morgan Knox, the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected]
Jubilee soup kitchen
The Lower Hill District Soup Kitchen has served the people of Pittsburgher since 1979, daily, 365 days a year, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. doors for hot breakfast or lunch.
Children 13 and over are welcome to volunteer. Volunteers help set up and prepare food, serve lunch, help staff clean and wash dishes, and help out in the community garden or clothing room. They must call ahead to reserve a day.
Children too young to volunteer locally could help by raising money to donate. Call 412-261-5417 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays for questions on how to get involved.
Crowns across America
âTeach your children the value of freedom,â says the Wreaths Across America website. And what better way this time of year than to involve children in the laying of wreaths on December 18 at graves and memorials in honor of fallen American heroes.
National Wreath Day across America is held at Arlington National Cemetery and over 2,500 other locations, including the Alleghenies National Cemetery in Cecil Township, to mark their military service and sacrifice.
The Veterans Tree of Remembrance Program is another way to remember and honor Veterans: Families can mark evergreen trees whose balm tips are harvested each year to make wreaths. Children can also get involved through school fundraisers, boy scouts, civic or religious groups, or wreath sponsorships.