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The best family-friendly volunteer opportunities in Austin

Want to give back? Make an impact with these Austin volunteer opportunities that are kid-friendly and parent-approved.

Photograph: Courtesy Urban Roots

There’s never a better time to involve kids in volunteer opportunities than during the holidays. Whether it’s delivering meals to the homeless, planting sustainable gardens or wrapping gifts for children in need (which you can pick up at Austin’s best gift shops), our city offers plenty of ways to volunteer as a family. In between attending Christmas events and taking in Austin’s best Christmas lights, be sure to sign up for our favorite volunteer organizations.

Austin volunteer opportunities


Urban Roots

If healthy living, the outdoors and learning where food comes from are priorities in your household, check out the sustainable urban farming initiative Urban Roots. Children as young as 10 can volunteer with an adult at this beautiful 3.5-acre sustainable farm in East Austin, which grows a whopping 30,000 pounds of produce per year—nearly half of which is donated to local soup kitchens and food pantries in need. Young participants gain valuable experience in crop management, harvesting, processing and irrigation, so a real passion for getting down and dirty is a must. To check availability, visit urbanrootsatx.org.

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Johnston Terrace

Generation SERVE

Looking to strengthen your family bond through hands-on community service? Generation SERVE connects children and their families to nearly 90 local nonprofit organizations across Austin. Activities include preparing and serving food to the homeless, creating upcycling projects, visiting the elderly, beautifying local parks, breaking down computers, stocking food pantry shelves and sorting donations. To register, visit generationserve.org.

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Fireside Loop

Partnerships for Children

Fulfill the wishes of around 5,000 kids in the care of Child Protective Services with Partnerships for Children’s Holiday Wishes. Families with kids as young as three can sort, tag and wrap gifts at the organization’s warehouse between December 5 and 16, giving children less fortunate the opportunity to unwrap some much-needed surprises. New toys and personal care items can also be donated, or families can sponsor a child’s specific gift requests. To register, email holidaywishes@partnershipsforchildren.org.

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Wells Branch

Mobile Loaves & Fishes

With so many challenges facing Austin’s homeless and disabled population, this program offers two volunteer tracks for families: mobile food-delivery service work and a host of activities at the Community First Village in East Austin. At the former, families help clean trucks, prep meals and deliver life-sustaining supplies to people in need on the streets. At the latter, you and your kiddos can contribute to garden maintenance, meal distribution and animal care.  To check availability, visit mlf.org. To register, email serve@mlf.org.

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West Austin

Keep Austin Beautiful

Put on a pair of gloves and join Keep Austin Beautiful on their mission to clean and beautify the city—one park, river and roadside at a time. On December 9, volunteering families work alongside organizers during Clean Lady Bird Lake, a large-scale cleanup of a 10-mile stretch along the shoreline. The Christmas Cleanup of Loop 360 gathers volunteers to collect yuletide decorations from cedar trees along the route to protect the natural habitat of animals in the Bull Creek Watershed. To register up to four weeks in advance, visit keepaustinbeautiful.org. 

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Town Lake

Looking for more family activities?