Volunteering in Greater Des Moines
With a #4 in the nation volunteer rank, Iowans are big on giving back, and there are endless ways for you to do so throughout the DSM community. Lending your time to local nonprofits and volunteer projects makes a difference, whether you sign up to provide help on your own or recruit coworkers to support a favorite local organization.
Places to Volunteer in Greater Des Moines
Invest in a cause and passion that is close to your heart as you make your home in DSM. Start your search for opportunities on the United Way of Central Iowa Volunteer Hub. The hub provides a list of current volunteer opportunities with local nonprofits and is a great resource as you look for ways to get connected and volunteer in DSM. Volunteer Iowa is a service commission that can help you find mentoring opportunities, take part in workplace days of service and more.
A few other outlets to consider:
- Many local school districts have volunteer programs. Learn more about the school districts in the region and find the one nearest you where you can get involved.
- Meals from the Heartland offers a wide variety of ways to volunteer, including its annual Hunger Fight. During this four-day event, volunteers package meals for more than 4 million by signing up for two-hour shifts.
- Work alongside ChildServe as they partner with families to help children with special healthcare needs. Volunteer opportunities include reading with children, playing games, special event support and more.
- Volunteer opportunities with Easterseals Iowa are available, too, for businesses, groups, families and individuals. This includes the opportunity to keep Camp Sunnyside, a daily summer camp that provides a break for parents and caregivers of persons with disabilities, grounds beautiful through planting, raking and weeding, among other opportunities.
- Support refugee and immigrant kids in DSM as a volunteer with Genesis Youth Foundation. You can serve as an academic volunteer, a soccer coach and in many other roles.
- Volunteer with the American Heart Association and promote healthy hearts in DSM.
- Get a taste of the tropics without flying out of town by volunteering with the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
- Make a difference at the YMCA Supportive Housing campus by serving a meal, leading an activity or performing clean-up and maintenance tasks.
- Read to kids at schools with Everybody Wins! Iowa and support literacy in the region.
- Support the work of Central Iowa Shelter and Services and serve unhoused people through meals and peer support programs.
Community Cleanup Volunteers
All year long, Operation Downtown plays a role in keeping Downtown DSM safe, clean and beautiful, but did you know there are plenty of other ways to help keep the region looking its best? Friends of Des Moines Parks supports park and trail cleanup with bike trailers and litter cleanup supplies. April is also Keep Iowa Beautiful month, and businesses are encouraged to organize litter cleanup days throughout the month. When you’re willing to get your hands dirty for a good cause, that hard work pays off in spades through new connections to your community.
You can adopt-a-stream in DSM with Metro Waste Authority to help keep local streams clean or help the Iowa DNR as a volunteer at state parks and forests and serve as a campground host, a wildlife monitor or as support at special events.
Volunteering at Events
Volunteer power makes many of the events and festivals possible and successful. Here are a few options to consider:
Giving Back During the Holiday Season
The holiday season is a time when volunteering is top of mind. From Adopt-A-Family programs to food sorting with Food Bank of Iowa, you can make a difference to local families this time of year during the months of November and December. Choose to become a Senior Companion with EveryStep — volunteers can help provide transportation and assistance with holiday shopping or volunteer in the Holiday Shop for Children & Families of Iowa where you can also help in the wrapping station. Volunteering with festive events like the Des Moines Turkey Trot or Christkindlmarket Des Moines are a reminder that the gift of giving back is the best way to get into the holiday spirit.