Volunteering As a Family Around Tampa Bay
Making a difference in the lives of other people in your community isn’t just a good thing to do, it’s a great way to bond with your family. Whether you’re looking for opportunities for teens to volunteer in-person or virtually or you simply want to volunteer with your children of all ages, you’ll find lots of options in Hillsborough, Pasco & Pinellas counties.
Volunteering is good for your health, too. Kids who volunteer also reap the health benefits of doing good in their Tampa Bay communities. Research shows volunteers
Experience less stress, tension, depression, and anxiety
Have more genuine social networks/friendships
Have higher self-esteem and are more resilient
More physically active
Have enhanced opportunities for professional development.
Bonus! When you volunteer as a family, you also enhance family bonding and may see less family conflict over time.
Ready to get your family involved in a community service project this holiday season? We’ve compiled a list of family-friendly volunteer opportunities in the Tampa Bay area along with ideas for starting a service project of your own design.
Article was written by Karen M. Rider and Family-Friendly Tampa Bay
If your family loves nature, you may want to try Sweetwater Organic Farm gardening projects and special events where families can volunteer their time. Different projects require different age requirements.
Volunteers can assist with a variety of farm tasks such as planting, harvesting, and weeding. There are also site projects for those with carpentry and electrical skills.
Contact the farm for details on how to volunteer this holiday season and throughout the year.
Feeding Tampa Bay allows children ages 10-15 to volunteer with the participation of a parent or guardian. Younger children can participate with an adult at Family Night on select nights. Feeding Tampa Bay has an extensive calendar where you can find a variety of volunteer opportunities during the holidays and throughout the year.
Volunteer info: Feedingamericatampabay.com
3. Metropolitan Ministries
Kids as young as 8 years old can volunteer to help at Metropolitan Ministries in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas county. Volunteer opportunities may include serving snacks for the families served by MM; working in the wagon pulling area to take food/toys out to the client’s car; sorting food and toys to ensure all the families that come to MM for help this holiday season receives quality items that meet their needs.
Sign-up is required for each person (create an account for each child 8 yrs old and olders as well).
Sign up at: Metropolitan Ministries
All ages are welcome to join the Bay Life Church for garden workdays on the second Saturday of each month from 8-10 am. No experience is necessary.
In the past, they have built fences, mulched walkways, harvested produce, weeded plots, and more! There’s a job for everyone. There’s no sign-up needed, just bring a water bottle and wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!
Address: 1017 Kingsway Rd., Brandon, FL 33510 (813) 661-3696
5. High-Risk Hope’s Youth Volunteer (all year):
High-Risk Hope is an organization that provides support, encouragement, information, and resources to women and families who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy resulting in hospital bed rest, potential premature birth, and neonatal intensive care after delivery.
Even the youngest volunteer can make a difference in three helpful ways. Families can download the printable patient cards to color, create fabric hearts to support the parent-baby bonding experience, and youth can use their crafting skills to create inspirational banners.
Youth Volunteer Info: www.highriskhope.org
Get your kindness jar activity for your family.
6. Kids Helping Kids in Pasco County
They offer opportunities throughout the year where children of all ages are able to participate in service opportunities in Pasco county. Please visit their Facebook page for updates and upcoming service opportunities.
Messengers of Hope Mission’s desire is to help feed the hungry and help the homeless and poor by sharing the love of Jesus in practical ways. Our goal is to help feed the poor and homeless, but our purpose is to empower people to overcome poverty and live meaningful, purpose-driven lives. They offer many ways for families with children to volunteer.
Please see their Facebook page for updates on upcoming volunteer drives and events they are hosting. You may also call: (813) 404-2300 for more information.
The Junior League of Tampa Diaper Bank serves to combat diaper needs within Hillsborough County by supplying diapers to programs in the community. Families can donate diapers in several ways.
- Donate financially
- Donate open or unopened packs of diapers and unopened diaper creams and wipes at their Diaper Bank collection points around Hillsborough County.
- Shop the Diaper Bank Wish List on Amazon and have the items of greatest need shipped directly to the Junior League of Tampa.
- Host Diaper Drives as a family, at your workplaces, schools, religious organizations, or create a special event. Drives help collect diapers, wipes, and diaper cream.
Learn More About Diaper Donations: jltampa.org
9. Oasis Opportunities
OASIS utilizes new or gently used clothing and new hygiene items to serve students in Hillsborough County.
- Your family can volunteer at an Oasis Opportunities Clothing Closet site on M-F between 9:00am-5:00pm. They accept community volunteers of all ages. Masks are required per HCPS COVID-19 safety regulations.
- Host a clothing or hygiene items drive in your neighborhood or at your business.
- Pick up laundry at their New Tampa or South Tampa site to launder at your home. Return the clean clothing to the site when completed.
Babycycle is always in need of donations of diapers in all sizes, wipes, and Pull-Ups.
Other items they are in need of include formula, baby food, children’s clothing, pack-n-plays, diaper bags, bath soap, and more!
Babycycle also accepts monetary donations online which helps to directly support supplying diapers and wipes to babies in need in Pinellas County.
Donations are currently being accepted at locations in Largo, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg, during their regular business hours.
Donation Locations: babycyclefl.org
11. Meet me in the Streets Ministry
Provides opportunities for families to provide donations and serve food to lower-income families. Find out more by visiting their Facebook page.
More Great Ways to Volunteer as a Family
Search for opportunities using the sites listed below as well as searching Facebook local. A few we discovered include Trinity Café Tampa, Messengers of Hope Mission, and Abby’s Organic Farm.
1. VolunteerMatch.org allows you to search any geographic area to find opportunities that match your interests and age range. Account login is required. Visit the Tampa area link.
2. Both Lion’s Heart and Eckerd Connects require the completion of an interest form and make note that you are looking for opportunities for children to participate. The organization will respond to you with information about applicable upcoming opportunities.
3. Also, consider your family’s church or place of worship, Friends of the Library, the YMCA, Jewish Community Center, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts. Churches, theY, and JCC oftenhave opportunities for those who are members as well as non-members. Libraries are always in need of support for events, fundraising, and library-related operational tasks such as shelving books. With Scouts, even young children partake in community service activities that are “scout-led” with oversight and support from the troop leader.
4. Create a Family Service Project
Last, but definitely not least, create your own volunteer project. You know the talents and skills of your family members better than anyone. Ask family members what’s important to them when it comes to giving back/doing good. Whom would they like their time and effort to benefit? Brainstorm ways that their special talents can be applied to a service project that you create together. Research and reach out to organizations where your project may be a good match. Here are some ideas:
Has there been a recent local or national event (natural disaster or civil unrest) in which supplies, support, or food are needed? What can you do to bring ease during a period of hardship?
Think about the needs of our military veterans, or residents at children’s homes or assisted living facilities. (Did you know many older adults do not receive any visitors, which is especially hard during the holidays.)
Remember the old-fashioned lemonade stand? If your child bakes the most amazing cupcakes or designs beaded keychains, they could arrange a sales date at a local library, farmer’s market, and church hall and donate proceeds to a charity. (Be sure to verify policies with the organization you want to help and with the location where you want to set up your sales.) Got a sporty family? Organize a soccer shoot-out or neighborhood 3-v-3 hoops event for a charity.
Whether you create your own family service project or volunteer for an organization, the benefits of volunteering as a family are priceless.
Article written by Karen M. Rider.