Put Gratitude into Action: Volunteer Opportunities in San Diego for Families
If you’re feeling thankful for everything you have this season, consider sharing the gift of your time with others. Whether feeding the hungry, cleaning San Diego beaches, helping at a charitable fun run or volunteering at a local organization—people (and pets) need your compassion and support. Here are family volunteer opportunities throughout San Diego County.
Read 41 Random Acts of Kindness to get ideas on how to make the world a better place anywhere, anytime!
Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk, Balboa Park
Feeding San Diego Volunteer Open House, Sorrento Valley
Just Call Us Volunteers
Volunteers are needed to help serve a Thanksgiving meal. Online volunteer registration opens the first week of November and is expected to fill up quickly, so register early. Check Facebook page for updates. Must wear closed-toe shoes and pull back long hair; no tank tops. Everyone helps wash dishes, so wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty. Volunteers meet at the “Just Call Us” kitchen in Clairemont Mesa for orientation and caravan to the service location. Kids under 10 require parental supervision.
United Way of San Diego County
Visit the United Way website for ongoing volunteer opportunities.
Pacific Marine Credit Union O’side Turkey Trot, Oceanside
Families with kids of all ages are encouraged to hand out water and cheer on the 10,000+ runners/walkers on race day. Older kids can help with pre-race activities. All volunteers (and interested participants) can register online.
San Diego Food Bank, Sorrento Valley
Opportunities available all week, except Thanksgiving Day (closed)
Families can help sort and bag food donations at the warehouse throughout the year. Morning, afternoon or evening shifts available, Monday–Saturday, except major holidays. Ages 6–15 are welcome with parent; teens 16+ can come on their own. Register online.
San Diego County Beach Cleanups
San Diego Humane Society
San Diego Run for the Hungry 5K/10K, Downtown
Volunteer at registration tables, help with set up and clean up, be a course monitor, support finishers or pass out water and post-race refreshments to participants. All community members may drop off non-perishable foods. No age restrictions. To volunteer, register online.
San Diego South Bay Turkey Trot 15K/10K/5K, Bonita
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Donations, Countywide
Volunteer opportunities available throughout the week
Solutions for Change, Vista
Visit website for list of volunteer opportunties.
Third Avenue Charitable Organization (TACO), Downtown
Other organizations that allow families (and supervised kids) to volunteer:
Father Joe’s Villages
Kids ages 10 & up can volunteer.
Feeding San Diego
Ages 6 & up can volunteer. Kids ages 6-16 require adult supervision.
San Diego Rescue Mission
Must be at least 16 to volunteer, but kids under 16 can organize donation drives.
Second Chance Dog Rescue
Must be 16 or older to volunteer at an adoption event or in the office. Must be 18 to foster.
Lisa Pawlak is a local mom and regular contributor to San Diego Family.
Updated November 2019