Giving Back Is the New Black

Every new year, we make resolutions, and about 12 months later, assess how we’ve done. Sing like no one is listening, dance like nobody’s watching, love as if you’ve never been hurt, and volunteer like it’s heaven on earth. That’s right. Giving back to our community is a key ingredient in living up to our potential and being our best selves. So, make sure to make volunteering part of your routine in 2020. Or, if you already do, consider adding another deserving beneficiary of your time and effort. Remember, volunteers are unpaid not because what they do is worthless, but because it’s priceless! 

Best of all, you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, volunteering is the only team sport where every participant is the MVP! So grab your family, friends, and coworkers and start living through giving. Here’s a list of local volunteer opportunities. Many are holding events in December to help get you started. 

  • American Cancer Society – ACA’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. ACA has volunteer opportunities ranging from community event support with Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and more…
  • Carpenter Art Garden – Work with the children of Binghampton on various art projects and tutoring. Volunteers are also needed to help provide snacks for the kids on a daily basis. 
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) – Serve as an unbiased advocate for abused and neglected children who come through the court system. Volunteers are well trained and are asked to commit to working 3-5 hours per week. You can change lives by becoming an advocate for those most in need.
  • Constance Abbey – Serve neighbors and homeless friends by offering warm showers, laundry facilities, clean clothes from the clothing closet, coffee, and food. Constance Abbey also provides advocacy for those who want to know about community resources. Guests are also invited to attend recovery meetings, bible study, and chapel services. 
  • Dorothy Day House – Help homeless families stay together as they work to rebuild their lives and have volunteer opportunities every Sunday and Monday. On Sundays, they need volunteers to be babysitters for the children of Dorothy Day House and to also join the families for Prayer and Dessert. On Monday nights, volunteers are needed to provide a meal for the families of the house. Dorothy Day House also has an ongoing need for volunteers to help with cleaning, house maintenance, and yard work.
  • First Congregational Church – Serve a free hot lunch to people who may need it. You can volunteer by assisting in the making of the food or by moving supplies.
  • Germantown Community Library – Help search for missing books, reorganize bookshelves, greet and provide general information to visitors.
  • Habitat for Humanity Restore – Sort and organize donations, stock shelves, assist customers, test appliances and electronics, and much more.
  • ​Hopeworks – Help break the cycle of crime, addiction, and generational poverty that traps so many in Memphis. HopeWorks provides various volunteering opportunities from being a lunch provider or faith encourager, to providing commodities and volunteering at events. Sign up to become involved.
  • Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County – Help with multiple tasks such as caring for animals and help animals find a new home! 
  • Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital – Help make a difference in their patients’ and family’s lives. Le Bonheur has a wide variety of opportunities ranging from reading, crafting, and socializing with the kids in the hospital.
  • Memphis Athletic Ministries – MAM’s mission is to coach, grow, and lead the youth of Memphis by helping them discover their identity in Christ and their purpose in the community. Volunteers are needed with Homework Help, Assistant Coaching, and more…
  • Memphis Botanic Garden – Become a horticultural volunteer, a volunteer docent, or a children’s garden volunteer. Volunteer roles within the children’s garden include being a greeter, a gardener, a play and learn supporter, or an educator.
  • Memphis Crisis Center – More than 15,000​ people call the Memphis Crisis Center hotline each year. Callers are in crisis ranging from suicidal thoughts to unemployment, financial problems to depression, and everything in between. Volunteers are thoroughly trained to take calls and assist callers with their immediate problems, as well as providing the resources for long-term help. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least two shifts per month.
  • ​​Memphis Child Advocacy Center (CAC) – Help children who are victims of sexual and severe physical abuse. At the CAC, you can make care and hygiene packages for child victims or sort through teddy bears that will be given to child victims. 
  • Memphis Farmers Market – Give back to your community by supporting local farmers, producers, and artisans, while educating market visitors about healthy eating habits, good nutrition, and the benefits of “eating fresh and local.” Whether you’re interested in serving on one of their numerous committees, or you’d rather roll up your sleeves, “dig in the dirt,” and plow into ‘fun on the farm’ on market-day Saturdays, the Memphis Farmers Market has a spot for you! 
  • Memphis Zoo – Calling all animal lovers. Individuals, families, and groups can sign up for a variety of jobs including small projects, event workers, and even volunteer docents. The zoo also holds dedicated family volunteer days where parents and children can come together to do something beneficial for the environment. 
  • Mentor Memphis Grizzlies – The TEAM UP Youth Mentoring Partnership is an affiliate of the National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR), the unifying champion for expanding quality mentoring relationships in the United States. The Partnership serves as a clearinghouse for training, resources, awareness, and advocacy, providing the critical link between MENTOR’s national efforts and local organizations and programs that foster and support quality mentoring relationships.
  • Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) – Deliver meals on wheels to the elderly or physically challenged. MIFA provides emergency relief for families by helping them pay for rent, utilities, food, clothing, and other essentials. If families are in danger of becoming homeless, it will find them temporary housing. Volunteers can assist with these efforts by performing clerical duties, delivering meals, gardening, fund-raising and more. MIFA offers something to fit nearly any schedule and level of ability. 
  • Mid-South Food Bank – Perform tasks related to the collection, organization, and delivery of food. Jobs include sorting through canned food donations, bagging food donations, and encouraging the public to donate.
  • National Civil Rights Museum – Volunteers are needed on the weekend as greeters and exhibit monitors from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. Responsibilities include assisting guests, directing groups, and providing Museum information with a friendly attitude.
  • Room in the Inn – Help serve dinner and breakfast as well as help the guests settle in for the night. Room in the Inn hosts homeless guests at congregations throughout Memphis during the winter months
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Play with patients both one-on-one and in group settings, clean toys, and help restock shelves. Volunteers are needed to commit to a once a week shift for at least eight months. 
  • St Mary’s Soup Kitchen – Anyone can sign up to volunteer for a certain date and time. Volunteering involves serving food. 
  • Urban Bicycle Food Ministry – Deliver burritos to the hungry of Memphis with Urban Bicycle Food Ministry. Volunteers are needed every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning to help make burritos and then hand them out throughout the city. 

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