Volunteering is at the heart of many local nonprofit organizations, which often rely on those willing to give their time and resources back to the community. However, the coronavirus pandemic has diminished or at least altered most service opportunities.
Organizations that typically count on a large number of volunteers – such as Grassroots Ecology, the Los Altos History Museum, the Santa Clara County Library District, the Peninsula Humane Society, the Stanford Blood Center and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital – are currently not doing so due to COVID-19. While that makes it more difficult to find volunteer opportunities, they do exist.
Following is a list of organizations that are recruiting both virtual and in-person volunteers. In-person volunteers must wear masks and practice social distancing.
Community Services Agency
CSA provides vital social services for residents of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills by delivering food from local markets to distribution centers, distributing bags of groceries to seniors and handing out donated food. Volunteer times vary by activity; opportunities are available weekdays. Minimum age for volunteers is 18.
GreenTown Los Altos
GreenTown encourages sustainable lifestyles and promotes a healthy planet by engaging volunteers to serve on its marketing and program management teams. GreenTown seeks a graphic artist to modernize the organization’s media and marketing. Volunteers can expect to spend 10 hours total on projects. There is no minimum age to volunteer. For more information, email Connie Miller at [email protected]
GreenTown also seeks program managers for its Lunch with GreenTown environmental speaker series, its 500 Trees campaign to plant 500 trees locally and its GreenTown Summer Internship program. Volunteers can expect to spend three hours per week for one to three months. Minimum age for volunteers is 17.
To volunteer and for more information, email Gary Hedden at [email protected]
Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley
Habitat for Humanity supports affordable and sustainable housing solutions by assisting operations at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore or constructing emergency interim housing at its Evans Lane site in San Jose. Construction, which supports families experiencing homelessness, is scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays (full-shift commitment required). Habitat for Humanity ReStores are retail outlets and donation centers that resell new and gently used home goods; proceeds support building community housing. Volunteers organize retail inventory, test and clean hardware products and unload donations from trucks, among other operational activities. Volunteer times vary by location and require shifts of four to seven and a half hours. Minimum age for volunteers is 16.
La Comida de California
Volunteers at La Comida de California serve hot, boxed lunches to Palo Alto seniors as part of the Santa Clara County Senior Nutrition Program. Volunteer times vary by location; shifts range from 60 to 90 minutes. Food is served weekdays; volunteers may fill as many time slots per week as desired. There is no minimum age for volunteers.
Learning Ally’s mission is to unlock student potential through improved literacy. Volunteers create education solutions and support struggling students by narrating audiobooks, conducting audiobook quality assurance and helping with audio and video editing, educator outreach and engagement. There is no minimum age for volunteers.
To complete a volunteer interest form and for more information, visit learningally.org.
Midpeninsula Community Media Center
The Palo Alto-based Midpeninsula Community Media Center provides digital media resources and training to the public. Volunteers can serve as a studio crew member or field videographer, contribute to the Immigrant Stories Project or assist with operations. Those with prior studio experience may start volunteering immediately, while novices must attend a studio basics course. Volunteer time varies by project and individual interest, ranging from 30 minutes to 10 hours per week. Minimum age for volunteers is 16.
To complete a volunteer form and for more information, visit midpenmedia.org.
Museum of American Heritage
Volunteers at Palo Alto’s Museum of American Heritage showcase the history of scientific technological innovation by virtually researching artifacts to add artifact descriptions to the museum’s collection database or create information cards for objects on display. The time commitment is flexible. There is no minimum age for volunteers.
To volunteer and for more information, email [email protected]
Santa Clara County
Santa Clara County seeks volunteers to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 by conducting contact tracing to identify people who have contracted or may have been exposed to the virus. The minimum age for volunteers is 18.
To complete a volunteer form and for more information, visit sccgov.org/icanhelp.
Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
Second Harvest helps fight local hunger by distributing nutritious groceries in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Volunteers deliver food to homes, distribute food at community sites and sort donated food. More than 500 volunteer opportunities and events are available on the nonprofit’s website. Volunteers sign up for three- to four-hour shifts on weekdays. The minimum age for volunteers is 14.
To volunteer and for more information, visit shfb.org.