We can all make a difference in our city! Whether you simply want to give back, are looking to start a new tradition with your family, or need a service project – here are a number of our “reader submitted” best volunteer opportunities for Cincinnati.
Some of these opportunities to volunteer in Cincinnati are appropriate for families and teens while others are adult only.
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen / Deliver Food:
Our Daily Bread is the city’s largest soup kitchen. Located in Over the Rhine, they are in need of volunteers to help prepare the daily meals (Mon.-Fri., 8:00 am – noon), food pickup and delivery, organizing canned food drives, and more.
St. Francis Seraph Ministries offers the urban poor in Over-the-Rhine an opportunity of dignity with a safe environment to have a hot meal served by compassionate volunteers. Meals are served Monday through Friday. Breakfasts (excluding major holidays) at 7am-9am and dinners (excluding major holidays) at 4-6pm. Volunteers are welcome year-round to help serve our guests during the breakfast and dinner times. They also need volunteers to assist with their Bag Lunch Program.
Meals on Wheels Meal Delivery program delivers meals to 3500 seniors every week throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. Volunteers are currently needed to help as meal drivers, pantry pickup, Birthday Box deliveries, and much more. Additional needs include delivering Thanksgiving meals to seniors, Thanksgiving pie packers, filling in for absent drivers, and more.
Queen City Kitchen has been serving meals for over 40 years. They have two kitchens – one in Over the Rhine (1620 Vine St.) and The Walnut Hills Kitchen. A hot meal is served at the OTR location at noon on Tues/Thurs and Sat. / Sun. The Walnut Hills Kitchen serves a hot meal six times a week – every day except Monday and Friday, twice on Saturday. They are always in need of volunteers to help at the kitchens and at the Walnut Hills Pantry.
La Soupe helps bridge the gap between food waste and hunger when they rescue otherwise wasted produce to create delicious and highly-nutritious meals for customers, non-profits and food-insecure families. La Soupe is in need of Food Runners (pick up surplus food and deliver to La Soupe or deliver from La Soupe to receiving agencies), Kitchen Help, and Culinary Education.
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly needs volunteers to interact with elderly friends through visiting and socializing. You can work directly with an elderly friend as a Visiting Volunteer or at one of their social events. They also need help with programming, marketing, office work and fundraising.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
Bethany House offers ways for both groups and individuals to volunteer. Groups can host a weekday dinner or a weekend breakfast. They have yardwork and fall/spring cleaning jobs at their facilities. Individuals are needed to assist with their Kidz Zone program, provide child care, help in the office, help with mailings, and more.
Freestore Foodbank is working hard to reduce hunger in the Tri-State area. They are one of the largest food banks in Ohio, distributing 33 MILLION meals annually and serving 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. They need volunteers every day to pack Power Packs and Senior Boxes for the youngest and oldest in our community, sort food donations to be sent to our community partners, provide customer service at our Liberty Street Market (pantry), assist with special events throughout the year, and provide talents and skills for dozens of other activities that help people when they are in crisis.
A Kid Again helps restore a sense of normal for families thrust into the situation of caring for a child with a life-threatening illness. They offer year-round adventures that allow children to feel “like A Kid Again”. Volunteers are needed to help with bookkeeping, office support, event planning/working, hospital visitation, and more.
Matthew 25 : Ministries helps the poorest of the poor and disaster victims throughout the United States and around the world. Volunteers are needed to help sort, count, and package donated goods for shipments to other parts of the world. They welcome both groups and individuals.
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers two volunteering options: Community-Based (unsupervised visitation with your Little and you pick him/her up from home for fun activities in the community) and Site-Based (which is supervised visitation with your Little at his/her school or Boys and Girls Club in which they have a partnership). They offer Lunch Buddies, School Day options or After School, depending upon the site. See their site for 2020 updates.
CABVI / Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers comprehensive vision rehabilitation services for people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. Volunteers are needed for administrative office tasks, reading printed materials to individual clients, or reading materials on the air for Radio Reading Services.
Ronald McDonald House offers opportunities to individuals, families, and groups. They need volunteers to prepare and serve meals, prepare snacks in their kitchen, help with household chores, and more.
Give Back Cincinnati offers more than two dozen free volunteer opportunities annually. Give Back Cincinnati is designed to attract members ages 18-35 who live and/or work in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and surrounding communities.
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly is an international network of non-profit, volunteer-based organizations committed to relieving isolation and loneliness among elderly. Volunteer opportunities include visiting with the elderly, helping with social outings, birthday celebrations, nursing home visits, and more
Little Sisters of the Poor wants you to discover the wisdom and beauty of the elderly through the many volunteer opportunities that exist at St. Paul’s Archbishop Leibold Home. Volunteer needs include visiting residents, transportation needs, assisting with meal service, and more.
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County welcomes volunteers at the Main Library, in administrative departments, and at branches to assist staff by providing services that support library activity. They have a number of rewarding opportunities for volunteers including supporting children and teen programming, assisting with patron holds, keeping collections in order, assisting with clerical work, helping patrons with technology, rewarding participants in the Summer Reading Program, serving children nutritious meals through their Summer Feeding Program, tutoring through the William Hueneke Homework Center, and several other specialized roles.
Animal Shelter Volunteer Opportunities
Ohio Alley Cat Rescue provides low cost, high-quality spay/neuter services for ferals, strays and pets. They also operate a no-kill adoption center dedicated to finding loving homes. Volunteers are needed for cat care, adoption hosts, fostering, and more.
Save the Animals Foundation / STAF is a 100% no-kill shelter for abandoned dogs and cats. STAF is run by volunteers, 400+ volunteers! Volunteer activities include daily care of the animals, obedience training for dogs, socialization of the cats, upkeep of the building and grounds, adoption activities, and working with community groups and schools in promoting humane education. Volunteers also perform all administrative tasks involved in running a financially sound and secure non-profit.
Volunteer at our Parks:
Great Parks of Hamilton County offers long-term volunteering opportunities as well as one-day volunteering. You can remove invasive plants, adopt a trail, harvest native seeds, or interact directly with park guests at a gift shop, visitor center or during a nature program. Whether you have time to volunteer for a day, a few weeks or years to come, Great Parks has a place for you!
Cincinnati Parks depends on the support of their volunteers. Volunteers assist with the Butterfuly Show, Carol Ann’s Carousel, Holiday Crafts at the Krohn Conservatory, and more.
Anderson Park District is looking for volunteers who have a genuine desire to help promote parks and recreation. Their volunteer opportunities include help with special events, programs and leagues as well as clerical support, landscaping help, park ambassadors, and more.
MetroParks of Butler County would love to have you share your talents with them. Volunteers are need for their numerous projects and programs.
Holiday Volunteers Needed Here…
City Gospel Mission is hosting a Thanksgiving Exchange (grocery store) for families in need. The Thanksgiving Exchange is a grocery store where low-income families shop for their own Thanksgiving groceries at a very low price that they can afford. Volunteers are needed to help set up the store, sort items, stock shelves, assist customers, and much more. Minimum age for volunteers is 12.
Freestore Foodbank posts their opportunities on a monthly basis. Watch their calendar for holiday season opportunity updates.
Crossroads Church Thanksgiving Food Drive: In partnership with local churches, schools, civic organizations, and faith-based ministries, they’ll be providing Thanksgiving meals to over 115,000 people in our communities. They’ll also be providing thousands of bulk food items to food pantries and partners in our cities. Be a part of the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive by signing up to serve during box distribution and collection.
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly is looking for volunteers to visit the elderly in their homes/apartments on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, bringing a hot meal with flowers and additional goodies. They also visit three nursing homes on these holidays. And if you have a talent you would like to share, they are always in need of entertainers (magicians, singers, musicians, etc).
Fall Feast 2022 (Thanksgiving Day) is an annual, volunteer-run event with the purpose of providing a fresh meal to the Cincinnati community.They need help in the kitchen, pre-event prep, kids zone, beverage and bussers, servers, host/hostess, and much more. All volunteers for this event must be 18.
St. Vincent de Paul is looking for holiday volunteers who can help with Thanksgiving and Christmas food assembly and distribution. St. Vincent de Paul gives out Thanksgiving food baskets which include a turkey, all of the traditional side items, desserts and everything needed to create a great meal. More than 1,300 dinners are distributed each year to neighbors who start lining up the night before. And more than 1,100 Christmas dinners are given out, along with donuts, drinks and a good time.
Volunteering with a Veterans Organization
DAV offers a wide range of opportunities to assist our nation’s heroes. Volunteer to transport veterans to and from their VA medical appointments, help at a VA facility or assist veterans in your local community.
Soldiers Volunteers offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities that range from writing letters and sending care packages to visiting veteran patients in VA Hospitals, there is something for everyone!