Nov 19, 2022 - Things to Do

Volunteer guide: 5 ways to give back in Austin

Illustration of a welcome mat that reads "help"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The season of giving is almost upon us, so we found a few volunteer opportunities with local organizations that need your help.

  • But, but, but: Don't stop here. There are dozens of other worthy causes in and around Austin.

1. Help out at a local animal shelter

Foster a pet or pitch in at the Austin Animal Center.

Why it matters: Volunteering helps animals at the shelter, which has struggled with capacity, find caring homes.

What to expect: Volunteers care for dogs and cats, greet visitors or help folks find the right furry friend to adopt.

Details: Apply online and pick an orientation date to get started.

  • You must commit to┬ávolunteering six hours per month. See more requirements, including those for teens.

Other needs: Consider completing a foster application, or donating funds or essential supplies.

2. Give back to veterans

Get involved with Make a Vet Sweat.

Why it matters: The local nonprofit sponsors three-month gym memberships for veterans to help them ease the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

What to expect: Volunteers assist veterans in finding the right workout, negotiate gym arrangements, plan events and drive awareness.

Details: Fill out an online interest form to join the team.

Of note: If you don't have time to volunteer but still want to contribute, you can donate or shop online for branded merch.

3. Feed the hungry

Sign up for shifts at the Central Texas Food Pantry.

Why it matters: Help fill a table on Thanksgiving and beyond. The food bank says it serves more than 60,000 people across 21 counties every week.

What to expect: Weekday and weekend sessions include preparing food donations for distribution and supporting mobile food pantries.

Details: Register and reserve your spot online.

  • Those under 18 years of age need an adult chaperone. Learn more about volunteer requirements.

Other needs: Host a virtual food drive or donate items at a drop-off location near you.

4. Nurture local students

Become a mentor or math coach with Austin Partners in Education.

Why it matters: Donating your time supports Austin public school students' college and career readiness.

What to expect: Mentors can volunteer at any Austin Independent School District middle or high school, while math classroom coaching is offered at four middle schools.

Details: Programming takes place during the school day. Register online to get involved.

Other needs: Help outside the classroom by giving funds to sustain the organization's work.

5. Support those experiencing homelessness

Volunteer or donate essentials to Caritas of Austin.

Why it matters: The organization provides food, housing services and employment support to people experiencing homelessness.

What to expect: You'll serve lunch, work with clients directly or offer administrative support to staff, among other roles.

Details: Shifts and age requirements vary by job. Learn more and sign up online.

Other needs: Assemble care kits or donate items from their wish list.

Know a worthy cause? Email us at [email protected], and we may feature your nonprofit in an upcoming newsletter.


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