While there are a multitude of non-profits operating in San Francisco, choosing one to volunteer for can sometimes seem like a daunting task. If you have ever wanted to volunteer but don't know where to start, here are four ways you can give back to the community this weekend.
Friends of the Urban Forest are a group of dedicated San Franciscans who are working to promote a larger, healthier urban forest through community planting, tree care, and education. Every year they plant over 1000 trees in neighborhoods all over the city. Volunteers are always needed for tree plantings which run from 9 a.m. to about 1 p.m. on Saturdays and often include coffee, donuts and a potluck lunch provided by local residents. If you are interested in volunteering, fill out the sign up form.
Keen is a nonprofit volunteer-led organization that provides one-to-one recreational opportunities for children and young adults with developmental disabilities. Volunteers are not asked to make a formal commitment of time, but rather show up when they can. The program runs every Saturday of the year from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. and includes sports such as basketball, athletics and KEENquatics. Volunteers are called “coaches” and are paired with participants, helping them take part in different sports activities and making sure they have a good time. Click here for details.
Food Runners aim to help alleviate hunger in San Francisco while at the same time preventing waste and creating a sense of community. Every week they deliver approximately 10 tons of food from restaurants, bakeries, caterers, and hotels to homeless shelters and food programs that would otherwise go to waste. Volunteers are always needed to help deliver food, answer phones or work at the computer. Volunteers are given the option of signing up to be regular delivery drivers or "on-call", meaning they only run food when it suits them. To find out more click here.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a chef and want to help by cooking for others, the Ronald McDonald House Charities could be for you. Volunteers are asked to help cook meals for the families of sick and hospitalized children. It is a very flexible program and Family Meal volunteers can help as often or as little as they would like. It's a good project for individuals who can't commit to extended periods of time but enjoy interacting with new friends. There are two main meal shifts, either breakfast (9 a.m. start) or dinner (7 p.m. start). The Ronald McDonald House provides all kitchen cookware, utensils and beverages but volunteers have to bring their own ingredients for the meal. Click here if you would like to find out more or sign up.