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40 Volunteer Opportunities in Seattle

Give back this holiday season.

The front of the Ballard Food Bank with its name in bright, block orange lettering.

Ballard Food Bank opened its new facility at 1400 NW Leary Way in October 2021.

Photo via Ballard Food Bank

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Maybe you have some extra time on your hands, or maybe you’re just in the giving spirit. All we know is there are more than enough great causes in Seattle to support with your time.

Whether you’re an animal lover, an artsy type, a natural mentor, or a healthcare enthusiast — there’s a nearby volunteer opportunity for you. Here are 40 ways to get involved in the Emerald City.

If you want to help your neighbors in need

Ballard Food Bank | After relocating to a brand new facility in 2021, the food bank has increased its capacity. It hopes to find food baggers, packagers, van drivers, and mail desk support.

Food Lifeline | This hunger relief organization partners with food banks, shelters, and meal programs, making it one of the biggest in Western Washington. Volunteers can help the engine run by chipping in at its big warehouse.

Lifelong | To support those with HIV, kidney disease, or other life-changing illnesses, the decades-old program relies on volunteers to deliver medically-tailored groceries or help out at the office.

Bloodworks Northwest | Donating blood is always a good way to give back to the community, but you can also give this organization your time. It could always use ambassadors for the program and supply couriers.

Mary’s Place | This Seattle-based organization focused on addressing family homelessness seeks shelter and kitchen support, as well as folks to build supply kits.

Back to Action | Local partners like Northwest Harvest and Doug Baldwin’s Vault89 Strategies have banded together with a goal of signing up 3,000+ food bank volunteers across Washington.

Westside Baby | The mission here is to provide essentials like diapers and clothing for children in need. Volunteers at the White Center hub can help sort donations or organize a “Joy” drive through the organization’s Amazon Wish List to fulfill its most high-demand items.

A collection of brown bags that all say "FareStart" on the front

FareStart’s mission is to address food insecurity and provide job training in the hospitality industry.

Photo via FareStart

Natural-born teachers and mentors

FareStart | What a hot kitchen. FareStart teaches cooking skills to those who’ve had trouble finding stable employment and serves food to schools and area shelters. It needs support for community meals, data admin, and the transportation team.

Friends of the Children | The South Seattle-based group committed to youth mentorship is looking for people to join its ambassador board and committee members to help with events throughout the year..

Literacy Source | Specializing in adult learning programs, this Lake City org is always on the lookout for one-on-one tutors who can help with math, writing, and GED prep in person or online.

Treehouse | The Central District organization aids youth in foster care. Career exploration volunteers also help those young people who express interest in a particular field by hosting a job shadow experience or informational interview.

Minds Matter of Seattle | This group aims to help high school students from low-income families achieve higher education goals by pairing them with mentors. Volunteers can be part of the broader program or specialize in test prep.

Page Ahead | There are several ways to help this program that provides books and reading activities for low-income children in the Seattle area — like volunteering for the story time program, helping the book fair, or joining a committee.

The artsy types

Artist Trust | Supporting Washington state-based artists across a variety of disciplines, the nonprofit headquartered in Seattle has year-round openings for community liaisons, special event coordinators, and contributors to its blog.

Seattle Arts and Lectures | From poetry events to talks from prominent journalists, this city org seeks to connect the community through experiences that celebrate the written word. Volunteers can assist with administrative work, fundraising events, and Writers in the Schools.

Seatte Children’s Theater | One of the most prominent theaters for young people in the country produces engaging productions all year long and often has a need for ticket scanners + ushers.

Seattle ReCreative | This unique group collects materials that would otherwise go to waste and uses them to help develop art classes and play spaces for community youth. Volunteers can pitch in on the retail side or head up sections in yarn, scrapbooking, and other crafts.

SIFF | The Seattle International Film Festival has its signature event every spring, but also manages several indie movie theaters around town. You can help out during the festival or pitch in on marketing efforts.

Three workers tend to plants near the Seattle Arboretum

Volunteers can attend work parties to tend the Arboretum grounds.

Photo via the Arboretum Foundation

The outdoorsy types

Arboretum Foundation | The organization behind one of Seattle’s most treasured greenspaces does everything from grounds maintenance to fundraising. Volunteers are usually needed in the Garden Stewards program.

Black Farmers Collective | With a mission to develop a Black farmer-led food system, the group offers a chance to help out on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Yes Farm (715 Yesler Way).

Danny Woo Community Garden | Founded in 1975, this space covering 1.5 acres in the Chinatown-International District is tended by the local community. Volunteers can help with everything from weeding to painting worm bins.

Green Seattle Partnership | This collaboration that connects the City of Seattle with local businesses, nonprofits, and schools has a regularly updated calendar of volunteer events. You can also become a Forest Steward and lead your own restoration project.

Sierra Club Washington State | One of the country’s oldest grassroots environmental nonprofits naturally has a large PNW presence. Lend your skills for community events, group outings, service projects, and more.

The Mountaineers | Lead trips, be a course instructor, or volunteer at a mountain lodge with this community of 13,000+ members who are passionate about the Great Outdoors.

If you want to stay in your home

Live Music Project | This org wants to amplify the work of local performers by providing promotion platforms, and relies on volunteers to help build out music-related calendars.

Seattle Children’s | One of the nation’s top pediatric hospitals has several opportunities for helpers that can be done remotely like creating an online fundraising page.

Pike Place Foundation | No need to throw any fish. The group that supports businesses, farmers, and the Market community as a whole has a need for individuals to help with emergency food kit assembly, various committees, and social media management.

Phinney Neighborhood Association | This community group is all about making neighborly connections. To that end, it’s looking for bakers, landscapers, and folks willing to drive seniors around town.

United Way of King County | In its ongoing effort to help those in low-income households access essential services, the local chapter of this national organization offers free tax prep each year. Anyone qualified to crunch some numbers can pitch in.

Wellspring Family Services | This Washington org seeking to end family homelessness often needs hands to maintain its Family Store, provide admin support, and assist with special projects throughout the year.

A man in a jacket peruses tools at a small workshop in the Seattle Maker space

Seattle Makers offers a variety of different workshops for local creatives.

Photo via Seattle Makers

For the handy individuals

Habitat for Humanity | The famed national organization runs projects and operates discount home improvement stores in Auburn, Southcenter, Bellevue, and Ellensburg — all of which could use some helpers.

Sawhorse Revolution | This group pairs student builders with pro carpenters and architects to work on projects like tiny homes for the community. It continually looks for skilled individuals to join the team.

Seattle Design Nerds | Keep an eye out for regular meet-ups from this group that organizes public art installations and other accessible projects aimed at making the city “a little more awesome.”

Seattle Makers | From metalworking to 3-D printing, cosplay design, and more, the creative community hub in Wallingford is always on the hunt for knowledgeable teachers.

Sustainable Capitol Hill | Need a hammer... or a food dehydrator? Peruse the eclectic tool library run by a neighborhood network — or sign up to teach classes.

If you’re an animal lover

Dog Gone Seattle | With foster and adoption services, the pup rescue has helped find many forever homes. You can help with transporting dogs, taking pics, or vet outreach.

Friends of the Animals Foundation | This local group works with caretakers to place kittens into foster care for socialization and eventual adoption — volunteers can chip in at various events or help deliver cat food.

Seattle Humane Society | For 125+ years, the Humane Society has been active in pet adoption, community education, and animal welfare. Look for new volunteer opportunities starting in January 2024.

Seattle Area Feline Rescue | You’ll feel pawsitively elated to help out this nonprofit, which has openings on the Clean Team and those who want to work as a greeter at the adoption center.

Woodland Park Zoo | From its tree kangaroo conservation to the Living Northwest program that aims to protect natural habitats, there are many facets of the popular local zoo. It asks volunteers to commit to at least six hours of service per month.

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