Here's How to Volunteer in Phoenix Right Now

These are the best ways to make a difference locally this year.

While giving back to the community is important all year-round, the holidays can be an especially difficult time for those experiencing hardship, making it an impactful time to put your good will to good use by volunteering with a local nonprofit. Thankfully, the Phoenix area has several incredible organizations working to make the Valley a better place, offering a variety of different opportunities to help others—from mentoring LGBTQ+ youth to walking homeless pups or providing food to families in need, there’s something we all can do to improve the lives of the people around us. Here are a few ways to get started.

St. Mary's Food Bank

St. Mary’s Food Bank has been providing food to those in need for 55 years and has become a staple in the Arizona community. Today, they’re making a substantial difference for anyone experiencing hunger by distributing 300,000 meals per day, six days a week. Multiple volunteer shifts are available each day either distributing food to clients or packing the food boxes. Plus, it’s easy to sign up on their website.

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound offers case management, financial coaching, and employment help to prepare families to transition into stable housing, and they’re always in need of volunteers to help organize pantries, mentor youth, assist with fundraising events, and more.

Valley of the Sun United Way

If you want to make a difference in as many ways as possible, volunteering through the Valley of the Sun United Way is a great start. Through their website, you can find opportunities with a variety of different organizations doing several different things—from book sorting for Southwest Human Development to making affirmation cards for Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona. They even have at-home opportunities so you can make a difference from the comfort of your living room.

one n ten

Downtown Phoenix
one•n•ten is an organization dedicated to serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth with safe spaces, health and wellness services, and more. This year you can help by purchasing gifts for the organization’s annual Queermas Holiday Gift Program, or become a volunteer by attending the upcoming volunteer information session on January 18.

Arizona Humane Society

The Arizona Humane Society has been voted one of the top volunteer organizations in the Valley—and for good reason, you can make a positive difference while playing with animals, and really, what could be better than that? Whether you want to walk a dog or socialize kittens, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)

Several locations
The Ronald McDonald House offers a warm, comfortable place for families who need to be near their hospitalized child. The organization has three Valley locations where volunteers can assist in a variety of activities to help make the houses feel like home, but our favorite way to volunteer is to gather a group of friends and make dinner for the families.

Hunkapi Programs, Inc

Hunkapi is a one-of-a-kind organization that uses equine therapy to help people of all backgrounds and abilities heal and experience positive growth in their lives. Volunteers have the opportunity to work hands on with the horses and other animals at the farm, making it one of the most fun and unique ways to volunteer. To get started, fill out an application on the website and attend an orientation.

New Pathways for Youth

Downtown Phoenix
Help change a young adult’s life by becoming a New Pathways for Youth mentor. The organization works with more than 300 youth ages 13 to 21-years-old who have had adverse childhood experiences to create a positive change in their lives with case management, workshops, resources, and individually tailored action plans.

St. Vincent de Paul

Several Locations
St. Vincent de Paul offers a variety of services for community members—serving 4,600 meals daily, helping thousands each year avoid eviction, and assisting patients with much-needed medical and dental care. The organization has a variety of different volunteer opportunities from serving meals to families in need, gardening in the urban farms, and sorting food—to name a few. Plus, it’s easy to get started by signing up online.

Be a positive influence in the life of a child by becoming a ‘Big’ or a mentor to a little brother or—helping them to gain confidence, attain educational success and avoid risky behaviors. The best part is—you can do activities with your ‘Little’ that you already love doing, like playing sports or riding bikes.

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Jamie Killin is a Phoenix native and Arizona State graduate who specializes in lifestyle and features writing. You can usually find her at the spin studio, a concert, or trying new restaurants across the Valley. Follow her at @jamiefayekillin.