Family-Friendly Volunteer Ideas


The holiday season is here, and it’s time for festive fun galore and giving back! Give back this holiday season by getting the entire family involved. Volunteering can be a wonderful bonding experience and teach valuable life lessons for children. Read below to learn about some of the opportunities to help the community and give back as a family. 

Where to Volunteer in Charlottesville

There’s no shortage of volunteer opportunities in Charlottesville, especially this time of year. Here is just a sampling of organizations at which people can offer their services. Remember, Giving Tuesday is November 28!

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
Help feed the hungry this holiday season. Collect and donate food, or consider working in one of the food bank locations. Children ages 12 –16 may volunteer as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Some shifts have specific age requirements, so be sure to read each job description carefully when registering. Learn more about volunteering with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank on their website.

Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA
CASPCA volunteers must be fourteen years old or older to volunteer independently. All junior volunteers are welcome to help with bagging foster food, making enrichment treats for dogs, and doing laundry. Volunteers sixteen years old or older who can commit to at least six months of service are also welcome to help with cat socialization, something that requires online & in-person cat shadowing training. They do not currently accept adult/child volunteering pairs, but families can always apply to foster animals. Learn more on the CASPCA website.

Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry’s mission is to give food with kindness and compassion to anyone who seeks assistance while providing an opportunity for volunteers to help their neighbors. The organization currently needs volunteers to help pre-bag dried/canned goods and miscellaneous frozen meat items in advance of distributions, and to pack grocery carts and deliver to clients’ cars in the parking lot. Learn more about volunteering with the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry on their website.

Mason’s Toy Box
Mason’s Toy Box Foundation is globally recognized for its outstanding contribution to the welfare of families facing overwhelming emotional and financial burdens due to a child’s life-altering medical struggles. Families can donate toys, or hold a virtual toy drive to get even more people involved. Learn more about volunteering with Mason’s Toy Box on their website.

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” — Muhammad Ali


ReadyKids provides the Charlottesville area with counseling, family support and early learning opportunities. Most kids arrive at counseling appointments directly after school and are hungry. Consider asking your kids to help you gather and drop off healthy snacks to help fill kids bellies before their counseling sessions. Learn more about volunteering with ReadyKids on their website.

Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House offers families with children at the UVA Medical Center a place where they can find comfort while their kids receive treatment. Although some opportunities are currently on hold because of COVID, volunteers can still order meals to be delivered to families, donate items from their wish list, Adopt the House for a week, etc. Learn more about volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House on their website.

The Salvation Army

There is a plethora of volunteer opportunities with The Salvation Army, especially during the holidays. Sign up to be a bellringer, donate to or work in the family store, or serve meals at the Soup Kitchen–open every single day, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Learn more about volunteering with The Salvation Army on their website.

Toy Lift

Give the gift of presents this holiday season to kids in need. Take your kiddos shopping, and drop off their selections at a Toy Lift donation location. Bonus! This year the Toy Lift is partnering with local toy stores. Shenanigans and Alakazam Toys are offering special discounts when you shop for Toy Lift toys from either their website or in store! Learn more about volunteering with the Toy Lift on their website.

Make the most of gratefulness and sharing by having fun and helping out the community along the way. Be sure to peruse our Events Calendar for a full list of Charlottesville area events this fall and beyond. Find more ideas for quality family time with great books to read, music for the very young, creative play, fun math & science games and family fitness games, a collection of local resources including a popular calendar of events, family services guides and features on education, health and family day trips for parents and teachers in Charlottesville, as well as Virginia Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an annual art book celebrating elegant Virginia weddings.