San Francisco Food Bank (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The kids are out of school, but that doesn’t mean they have to be couch potatoes. Make summer a learning opportunity for the whole family by volunteering some time for a worthy cause. There are a variety of organizations to pick from so your family can find a perfect match of skill level and interests. Opportunities range from beach clean ups to food banks. Volunteering as a family has many benefits including creating a value system, bonding, self-satisfaction, positive influence on those helped, and it’s a fun social activity.
900 Pennsylvania Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94107
SF-Marin Food Bank mission is to make sure no senior, child, or family in need goes hungry in San Francisco and Marin. Volunteer projects include sorting and packaging food for distribution at food pantries, soup kitchens, children’s snack programs, and senior meal programs. During a typical shift you can expect to assemble grocery boxes, sort donations, repackage bulk food and cleaning fresh produce. Volunteer shifts are available seven days a week. Children eight and up can participate on Saturday, children four and up on Sunday, middle school and high school students can participate on any shift.
601 Beaumont Blvd.
Pacifica, CA 94044
The Pacifica Beach Coalition mission is to end trash on the beach through advocacy in order to preserve wildlife, coastal ecosystems and the ocean. Volunteer opportunities include weekly clean ups along San Mateo County’s coast, monthly habitat restoration and adopt-a-beach program coordination. During beach clean up days, volunteers should bring a bucket, cloth gloves, snacks and water in a reusable container. All ages are welcome and they do have weekend dates available.
1610 Francisco Blvd.
Pacifica, CA 94044
North Star Rescue is dedicated to the welfare of small animals like mice, guinea pigs, rats, hamsters and chinchillas, lovingly referred to as pocket pets. Volunteers help with day to day cleaning, socialization and care of the animals. There are also volunteer projects that include fundraising, special events, fostering and transporting of animals. All ages are welcome, although young children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
181 Constitution Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025
LifeMoves is focused on breaking the cycle of homelessness, creating self sufficiency and stable housing for individuals, families, and veterans through positive life changing goals for themselves and the community. It is the largest family shelter in San Mateo providing services and shelters to those on the Peninsula. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities here that include preparing and serving meals, hosting a community-building party, organizing donations, facility beautification, gardening, tutoring children, and leading activities. Each volunteer activity has a different age requirement but there are activities that welcome small children when they volunteer with their family.
10979 San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito, CA 94539
Volunteering can be all fun and games at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach where it celebrates the history and magic of bygone amusement park entertainment. Volunteer activities include weekend helpers, game testers, and carnival game operator shifts. Volunteers ages eight and up can participate in four-hour shifts are available when it is open to the public. Guides and game testers are required to be at least 18 years of age.