A Guide to Volunteering in Grand Rapids


Sam Noonan, Graphic Design

With FHC’s service day just behind us and Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, it’s a great time to do some volunteer work. Volunteering and doing something good for the community really is a great thing to do, and it’s easy to make it fun for those slightly less enthusiastic about the whole idea. However, it can be hard to find a place near you to volunteer. Grand Rapids offers many different options and places to volunteer, and each and every one of these causes is more than worth your time. Without further ado, let’s get into the list:

Kids’ Food Basket

Kids’ Food Basket is a place many FHC students have surely volunteered at, whether it was through something like a youth group or just on their own free will. Kids’ Food Basket provides evening meals to children who wouldn’t be able to have one without KFB’s Sack Suppers. This nonprofit organization offers many different jobs ranging from making sandwiches to helping bag the sack suppers. Kids’ Food Basket’s jobs give anyone of any age something to do, and volunteering here is great for the whole family.

God’s Kitchen

God’s Kitchen is another popular place to volunteer, but the work is slightly different compared to Kids’ Food Basket. This organization exists to feed the less fortunate and underfed and is located in Downtown GR and Muskegon. The Grand Rapids location lets volunteers either serve meals or deliver them, provided you can drive. The Muskegon location offers different jobs, such as stocking the pantry and assisting clients with shopping and food pickups. God’s Kitchen seems to prefer more long-term volunteers, as they require drivers to take either weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly shifts. Another volunteering activity at God’s Kitchen is hosting a bowl-painting party, with all materials provided by God’s Kitchen.

Salvation Army

You’ve probably seen volunteers for Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign – they’re the bell ringers near stores or other locations around Grand Rapids. Funds raised by these efforts go to several local programs, and as long as you can stand the cold or have a place a little warmer it’s a great place to volunteer. Donating items and clothing to Salvation Army is also a way to give back if you aren’t so enthusiastic about standing outside for some time.

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat for Humanity strives for affordable housing for all, and seeks to bring people together through new housing and communities. One of their many goals is to break stereotypes and to equalize housing for those less fortunate. Habitat for Humanity offers many different jobs for both groups and individuals. One job is on-site construction. No previous instruction is required, and these tasks may include deconstruction, framing, painting, final details, landscaping, and other smaller jobs. Other jobs include gardening, hospitality painting, and carpeting.

It’s a wonderful time of year to volunteer and participate in community service, and it can even be lots of fun – especially if you bring friends, family, or both. These services are just a couple among many, and the Grand Rapids area is full of volunteering opportunities. It’s the season of Thanksgiving, so why not go out for a couple of hours and give back? You’re even getting community service hours, and there’s no downside. All it takes is a couple of hours out of your day, and giving back to your community is an easy way to do some good in the world.