Your Guide to Volunteering Around Metro Detroit

From animal shelters to river clean-up efforts, there are plenty of ways to get active in your community
Photograph Courtesy of Arts and Scraps

April is National Volunteer Month, and in metro Detroit, there are plenty of organizations looking for help. From food pantries to youth centers, there are opportunities to give in a variety of ways. Check out some of these local organizations and ways you can lend a helping hand – and not just during the month!

Animal Rescues  // Community Centers //  Food Pantries  // Youth Programs // Educational Activities  // Environmental Restoration // Health and Wellness

Furry Friends

Michigan Humane Society: From fostering to fundraising, the MHS is always looking for a helping paw. Volunteers are needed for socialization, dog walking, training, and more.

Detroit Dog Rescue: Volunteers are needed at this Detroit no-kill shelter as kennel assistants and fosters for dogs waiting for their forever home.

Home FurEver: This nonprofit, no-kill rescue is looking for volunteers to help with the set-up and tear down of weekly adoption events.

Last Day Dog Rescue: Based in Livonia, opportunities at this no-kill rescue range from leash training to veterinary transportation and photography for each adoption listing.

Wyandotte Animal Adoption Shelter: Headed up by the volunteer group Pound Pals, this downriver shelter needs help with cleaning, dog walking, and socialization.

Pet-A-Pet Club, Inc: Do you own a dog or cat who also wants to give back? Sign your pet up to help educate people on the health benefits of exposure to animals. Pet volunteers provide animal therapy at are hospitals, nursing homes, and convalescent centers.

Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit: Located in Dearborn, volunteer opportunities include helping in the shelter, assisting in off-site adoptions, and fundraising.

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Get Out in Your Community

Habitat for Humanity: For those interested in working with internationally known Habitat for Humanity, you’re in luck. Through the Detroit chapter, volunteers help build a home or clean up the community. Not construction savvy? The organization is also looking for office volunteers.

Urban Development Corporation: The Urban Development Corporation focuses on revitalizing communities through activities and programs that promote safe, healthy, and beautiful environments. A wide variety of volunteer needs are needed for the Urban Development Corporation including event planning, fundraising, and grant writing.

Friends of the Rouge: To help promote the preservation of the Rouge River, join a team of individuals dedicated to public education and involvement. Volunteers are needed to help monitor water quality, river clean-ups, and survey fish and toads.

Crossroads of Michigan: After being founded in 1971, Crossroads has provided emergency assistance, advocacy, and counseling to those in need. Long and short-term commitments are available by helping with data entry or stocking food pantry shelves.

Focus: HOPE: Founded in the wake of the 1967 riots, Focus: HOPE works to build a community free of racial injustice and poverty. From garden clean-ups and reading to preschoolers, Focus: HOPE offers a variety of volunteer options.

JARC: The main focus of JARC is to enhance the lives of people living with disabilities. All ages can volunteer with the organization, which offers a variety of opportunities from person-to-person experiences to office work.

Affirmations: A welcoming place for individuals of all gender identities, sexual orientations and cultures, Affirmations is looking for volunteers ready to help with events and assist around the center. Programs include group facilitators, youth advocates, and front desk volunteers.

The Baldwin Center: With a goal to feed, clothe, educate, and empower the people of Pontiac, there are many summer opportunities gearing up for launch and the Baldwin Center. Volunteers are needed to help supervise children and help with outdoor activities.

The Community House: The non-partisan, non-sectarian, and non-exclusive community center in Birmingham has volunteering opportunities that include office work, gardening, and storytelling at local schools.

Coalition on Temporary Shelter – COTS Detroit: Advocating for long-term solutions for homelessness, ways to help COTS Detroit include food service, sorting clothing, and event registration.

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Feed the People

Gleaners: Providing millions of pounds of donated and bought food, Gleaners takes volunteers of various ages and has many opportunities, including stocking food pantries and packing orders.

Capuchin Soup Kitchen: Join the friars of Detroit’s Capuchin Ministries by volunteering with a smile while helping serve meals, sorting clothing, or even tutoring through the organization’s children’s program.

Soup Kitchen at Crossroads: Located in Detroit, the Crossroads Soup Kitchen is open once a week to all individuals. Assist in serving Sunday meals each week.

Open Hands Food Pantry & Garden: Started in a closet to help hungry neighbors, Open Hands has grown to distributing food to Oakland County residents twice a week. This food pantry needs help bagging, carrying, and stocking items.

Delo Neighborhood Community Services: Dedicated to helping those who are working to better themselves, volunteers are needed to help prepare meals and provide life coaching skills to individuals.

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Hang with the Youth

Arts and Scraps: With a goal of keeping various recyclable items out of landfills, Arts and Scraps needs volunteers to help pack DIY craft kits to send to youth for a fun art project.

Big Brother/Big Sister: This well-known organization which helps children realize their potential is currently seeking volunteers to help in the expansion of the mentoring program, New Education Movement.

Ruth Ellis Center: A safe haven for LGBTQ+ youth, the Ruth Ellis Center needs volunteers to help with clerical tasks and serving meals.

Ozone House: The Ozone House provides support to homeless teens, runaways, and at-risk youth. There are many ways to volunteer with the organization including working on the Crisis Line, beautifying homes, and resume coaching.

Just Speak, Inc: Founded in 2003, Just Speak is a trauma-centered advocacy group that provides crisis support and resiliency programming to youth ages 3 to 17. Volunteers are needed to help with events and instructing youth.

Alternatives for Girls: This organization provides assistance to homeless and high-risk girls. Volunteers are needed for street outreach, working in the crisis resource enter, and assisting with fundraising events.

Art Road: In an effort to bring art classes back to schools year-round, Art Road needs volunteers ready to work with inside classrooms to distribute supplies, help with smocks, and teaching classes.

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Educational Activities

Detroit Historical Society: If you love Detroit’s history, consider volunteering with the Detroit Historical Society by leading guided tours, hosting special events, and conducting historical research.

Detroit Zoo: Dreamed of working at the zoo? You’re in luck. Volunteers needed in the spring and fall to be gallery guides, ambassadors, and greeters.

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Get Green

Detroit Mower Gang: Help in the fight against overgrown, empty lots by volunteering your time with Detroit Mower Gang during their clean-up events. No lawn mower? No problem. Volunteers are needed for a variety non-mowing tasks.

Greening of Detroit: Lend a helping hand by not only assisting in the planting of trees around Detroit, but also by cleaning up parks and working in urban gardens.

Peace, Love & Planet: With a focus on teaching children the importance of their impact on the ecosystem, volunteers are needed in the field and in the office.

Keep Detroit Beautiful: This city partnership helps promote community clean-up, recycling, and beautification efforts. Volunteers are needed for a variety of programs, including Motor City Makeover, Adopt-a-Park, and the Great American Cleanup.

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Medical Fundraising and Care

Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan: Wigs 4 Kids provides wigs to children with hair loss. Volunteers are needed with experience in grant writing, graphic design, and cosmetology.

Hospice Angels Foundation: Hospice Angels Foundation needs volunteers who can provide shelter to individuals at the end-of-life, grant last wishes, and provide healthy bereavement opportunities to families.

Wish Upon a Teen: With the transition between childhood and adulthood being difficult for many, Wish Upon a Teen is seeking volunteers who can work with teens by promoting peer interaction and building self-esteem.

Ronald McDonald House of Detroit: Providing a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children, the Ronald McDonald House needs volunteers who can prepare meals, organize fundraisers, and promote the House’s programs.

Variety the Children’s Charity: Variety has been providing support and services to children with special needs since 1932. The organization needs volunteers to take part in fundraising events, clerical work, and food packing.

Detroit Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Michigan: In order to provide a more enriching environment for children undergoing treatment, volunteers are needed to assist by playing, reading, or visiting patients

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