One of the best ways to get to know your community is by volunteering! Whether you want to work with youth, help provide meals for the homeless, or register runners at a 5K, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area.
Recently, the Capital Semester students volunteered with the DC Central Kitchen– a community kitchen serving meals to thousands of at-risk individuals while also providing culinary job training to homeless and hungry adults. While serving with DC Central Kitchen, the students helped with three different shifts throughout the day on Friday. Capital Semester students had a great experience helping prepare salads, hot foods, and learning about the organization while serving with the skilled chefs.
If you are looking to volunteer in Washington, DC but aren’t quite sure where to start there are several great organizations that can help you get started:
Greater DC Cares is a great organization if you aren’t quite sure how to start volunteering in the city. Greater DC Cares engages thousands of volunteers each year through their volunteer opportunities and large service projects. Two of the largest and most well known events are the 9/11 Day of Service in September as well as Make a Difference Day in October. They work with nearly 1000 nonprofit organizations and can help connect you with local nonprofit organizations.
Idealist.org is another great way to find volunteer activities. Currently on Idealist there are over 400 volunteer activities posted. The site is incredibly convenient allowing you to search by zip code, keyword and type of work. If you are looking for a specific type of organization or a more in depth service project, this might be a great place for you to look!
Capital Area Food Bank is a great option for busy college interns and working professionals as well as individuals with a slightly more flexible schedule. Capital Area Food Bank offers volunteer shifts throughout the week and on Saturdays and can accommodate large groups. Last year, they had 14,000 volunteers serving during their weekday and weekend shifts. As a past service site for our student interns, we know that Capital Area Food Bank is a great organization with fantastic volunteer opportunities.
There is always something going on at one of the Smithsonian Institutes and plenty of great opportunities to volunteer with the various museums and branches of the Smithsonian. From the Folklife Festival, to the discovery room at the Air and Space Museum and even the National Zoo, there are plenty of ways to get involved in some of Washington, DC’s cultural activities.
With so many volunteer opportunities available, there is no reason not to get involved in service here in the Nation’s Capital!