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The best volunteer opportunities for kids in NYC

These volunteer opportunities for kids in NYC will help your family give back to the local community in all kinds of fun ways.

Allie Early
Written by
Allie Early
Dorkys Ramos

Here's your one-stop shop for volunteer opportunities for kids in NYC! There are plenty of fantastic charitable organizations (both local and national) that need your help year-round and during the holidays, and a little bit of your time goes a long way. The picks on our list welcome kids as volunteers, and the act of volunteering time will help teach your family about the spirit of giving. Browse our list of volunteer opportunities for kids below to learn more about how your crew can organize donations, host a fundraiser and contribute in other meaningful ways.

For more great things to do around town, check out our favorite 101 things to do with kids in NYC, our guide to the coolest free activities for kids and the best 50 family restaurants in NYC.

Volunteer opportunities for kids in NYC

1. City Harvest

Dedicated to rescuing perfectly good food that may otherwise be thrown out, this NYC organization helps to support the 1.4 million New Yorkers living in poverty. You and the little ones can help coordinate a food drive or help run a virtual drive, and older kids can join a volunteer team (must be 15 and older to volunteer at City Harvest offices and 18 or older to participate in other volunteer opportunities).

2. Toys for Tots

This renowned organization collected and distributed 18 million toys to seven million families in need last year. You can help them continue their efforts in a few different ways: Donate online or volunteer your time as a family by hosting a toy-drop site. Any organization or company can participate, and your children will love having a hand in giving and organizing.


3. Gods Love We Deliver

Though they offer various volunteer opportunities throughout the year, holiday bag decorating (to add a personal touch to meal deliveries) and Thanksgiving meal delivery are a few of the things that families can partake in together. To check for opportunities throughout the year, visit this page where you can register. To participate, e-mail or call 212-294-8158.

4. New York Common Pantry

New York Pantry depends on volunteer help to serve thousands of meals each year, and young volunteers are welcome! Participants must be 14 years of age or older and can help with distribution of pantry items, help serve hot meals or help pack pantry items. 


5. New York Cares

New York Cares not only provides opportunities for adults to give back to their communities, but also has hundred of youth projects available. Teen group projects encourage those 14 and older to join up with a group leader (21 and older) for various activities, including serving meals to the homeless, spending time with seniors, and helping younger kids with their homework. Instill the value of service at an even younger age by signing up for a family-friendly project and bringing your child to volunteer alongside you.

6. Food Bank for New York City

Register with Food Bank for New York City and check the site’s volunteer calendar for some great opportunities. Weekend Repack in Hunts Point occurs on select Saturdays—kids ages 5+ and their parents can help sort donated/bulk items into boxes of specific categories and weights. 


7. No Kid Hungry

Did you know that about one in four NYC kids faces hunger? Join in on this nonprofit's Friendsgiving campaign by hosting a Thanksgiving celebration with other local families and friends to raise money for those in need. Sign up online, then invite friends and begin fundraising—the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal is $49, so see how many dinners your group can cover. While you're enjoying one another's company, you can help put food on the tables of the less fortunate. Get the kids involved by reading through the fundraising tips and assigning them a task from the host checklist.

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