Donating to a Food Pantry (Northern Illinois Food Bank); (Illinois Food Pantry listing) (Central Texas Food Bank)

~ check local food pantry websites for current needs


Helping After a Natural Disaster 

Kids may see reports of hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes on the news and feel frightened. By helping those affected, kids may feel like they have mitigated some of the damage caused.  Check with the local authorities to see what is needed most or donate proceeds from a lemonade stand or a garage sale to a charity helping communities recover from natural disasters: (American Red Cross) (Americares) (Team Rubicon)


Cleaning up the Environment

Picking up litter at a local park, along the route to school or on the school grounds as they pass by teaches kids that they are always part of the community and that every little bit helps. (Forest Preserve District of DuPage)


Organize a food and toy drive for the local animal shelter ~ Animal shelters like the Humane Society are always needing supplies like food for the animals and bedding. You can help purchase bags of dog or cat food for the shelter or can collect items from around the house like old towels or bedding to donate to the shelter. Be careful on this one though -- it's easy to fall in love with a pet! (Andersen Animal Shelter, Elgin) (Animal Rescue Foundation, Wheaton) (West Suburban Humane Society) (The Dog Alliance - Austin)

Community First Village Austin Community First! Village is a 51-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas. Since 2005, this transformative residential program has been a staple of Mobile Loaves & Fishes and has become the largest community-based model in the country lifting homeless men and women up off the streets into community and home.

Send a Smile Today sends free cards to patients undergoing cancer treatments.  Make cards for the organization.


Operation Support Our Troops.  OSOT’s mission is to support the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families both while they are deployed in harm’s way and after their return. As a volunteer based non-profit organization, they provide the opportunity for our community members to express their appreciation and offer support for our troops. We are committed to showing them that “We Have NOT Forgotten.”


The Ronald McDonald Houses and Family Rooms.  Their five Ronald McDonald Houses and three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms provide support to families while their children are being treated at nearby hospitals. They offer comfortable, private rooms where families can get a good night’s rest knowing their child is close by.


The Ronald McDonald House Central Texas The Central Texas Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Rooms provide a comforting “home-away-from-home” for families to stay so they can fight their child’s illness or injury together. Our Happy Wheels Carts stroll the hospital hallways bringing complimentary items to families waiting by their child’s hospital bedside. RMHC CTX also supports families who have lost a child through the Healing Hearts program, which provides burial assistance and bereavement support.



Delivering Meals to the elderly, someone who is injured, or a family that just had a baby.

Make cards (Valentines, Veterans Day, Christmas) for the residents of a retirement home

Make brownies or cookies for new neighbors

Visit national volunteer website databases like which includes designations for kid-friendly opportunities


Habitat for Humanity. If you’re in the middle of a renovation, you don’t have to chuck those cherry wood cabinets—Habitat for Humanity can put them to good use. They’re looking for furniture, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, windows, hardware like knobs or hinges, doors, carpet, tools, countertops, working appliances, new paint, and landscaping materials.


The Old Town School of Folk Music will accept all types of used and vintage musical instruments. The school does accept pianos, but only if there’s space. If they can’t end up taking your donation, the staff will help figure out where it could be reused.


Stuffed Animal Drive for SAFE: SAFE (Stuffed Animals For Emergencies) which redistributes new and gently used stuffed animals to police, fire & rescue, ambulance services and other emergency organizations who give them to children who are in traumatic, emotional and transitional situations.


SCARCE is an award-winning environmental education non-profit dedicated to creating sustainable communities. They accomplish this through innovative and hands-on education programs for schools and organizations, demonstrating care for people and our natural resources through our Reuse Center, and engaging the broader public through community-wide events and programs. See the list of accepted items including books, holiday lights, keys, glasses, musical instruments, school and office supplies      here:


Dress for Success. Donate business clothing to women who are looking to enter the workforce. Find out where to donate and other ways to volunteer here: