35 Best Places to Volunteer with Kids [Volunteer Opportunities in Kansas City]
Whether you’re looking for places to volunteer for community service hours, volunteer as a family or other volunteer opportunities, there are places to volunteer for all ages around Kansas City.
Most volunteer spots are year-round, so you can give back & help out whenever your schedule allows. Our community is filled with volunteering near you!
Don’t wait until the next holiday rolls around to get involved in a local cause or organization. There are volunteering sites that need your help now. As always, be sure to check in with each entity to confirm what they need and allow. In this day and age, things are ever-changing, but we know they’ll be happy you are interested in helping.
Aside from giving back to the community you live in and love, there are many other benefits to serving your community. Keep in mind the community service opportunities in Kansas City exist far beyond shelters and soup kitchens.
With volunteers needed at local organizations across the metro, why not donate some extra time to local charities in Kansas City?
Not sure where to start? No problem. We’ve found where to volunteer for you!
We’ve compiled a list of all the volunteer work available in Kansas City, plus some group volunteer opportunities for school groups, clubs families, or friends. Check out the complete guide below. And be sure to bookmark these GUIDES that we are constantly updating for KC kids, parents, and families. Valuable info for Kansas City kiddos and parents too.
Places to Volunteer in Kansas City with Kids
Find volunteer opportunities for kids & adults throughout the community and teach your children the valuable lesson of giving back. There are volunteers needed for local causes all over KC. You can also explore other Ways to Make a Difference in Kansas City.
Take a look…
Agriculture & Animal Volunteering | Food Bank Volunteer | Healthcare/Hospital Volunteer Opportunities | Faith-Based Volunteering and Shelters | Youth Services & Sports Volunteering | Community Services & Other Volunteering
Featured Volunteer Opportunity:
One of our absolute favorites (and they serve more than just Kansas City):
Operation BBQ Relief
Get ready to sink your teeth into this volunteer opportunity! Operation BBQ Relief is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that started in 2011 when pitmasters from nine states came together to cook up a storm and feed those affected by a tornado in Joplin, Missouri. Since then, they’ve served over 10 million mouth-watering meals to people impacted by natural disasters, COVID-19, and even to those in need through The Always Serving Project. Now that’s what we call BBQ with heart!
They have many ways to volunteer and/or donate time and treasure. They even have an app, for iPhone and android, where you can sign up and get notified when they have a need.
Make-A-Wish Missouri & Kansas
Make-A-Wish Missouri and Kansas exists to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. When a wish comes true, it creates strength, hope, and transformation in a child – and a community. Make-A-Wish Missouri & Kansas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves wish kids across Missouri & Kansas with many volunteer opportunities available in Kansas City.
A few ways to volunteer:
- Wish Granting volunteers help local wish kids determine their most heartfelt wish
- Translators/Interpreters assist with non-English speaking families
- Event volunteers (local events in Kansas City are available)
- Skill-Based volunteers use their knowledge and skills to provide assistance with local wishes (i.e. construction, painting, carpentry, etc.)
To learn more about our local volunteer opportunities visit them online.
Agriculture & Animal Kids Volunteer Opportunities:
Since its inception in 1940, Wayside Waifs has become the area’s leading privately funded, independent nonprofit charity serving homeless animals in Kansas City. What began as an organization to prevent cruelty to animals has grown into a no-kill shelter committed to finding homes for all adoptable pets. Additionally, they have an on-site dog park and pet cemetery available to KC area pet owners.
A few ways to volunteer:
- Have your child become a “kid in action”.
- Collect wish list items for the shelter.
- Foster an animal in your home.
- Become a dog or cat socializer (ages 13+).
- Donate funds
Want to get involved? Connect with Wayside Waifs online for more details.
Prairie Paws Animal Shelter
Prairie Paws Animal Shelter welcomes and needs volunteers every day, 365 days a year. There are many volunteer opportunities that can fit your skills.
Plus, with a new streamlined application process, it’s easier than ever before to get involved. Fill out the volunteer application form on their website here.
A few ways to volunteer:
- Have your child join Prairie Paws Kidz Club
- Foster a pet
- Join Dog Play Group
- Help out with events
- Plus Much more!
Great Plains SPCA
With two metro area locations (in Independence, MO, and Merriam, KS), the Great Plains SPCA is a wonderful place for families to volunteer. They are committed to helping families with children of all ages volunteer in the community and have several different options for you to get involved with their animal shelter.
A few ways to volunteer:
- Become a member of the shelter’s Sparkle Crew
- Assist with their flyering efforts or help with administrative tasks.
- Host a donation drive.
Want to get involved? Connect with Great Plains SPCA online for details.
Volunteer at KC Pet Project
There are also other humane society volunteer opportunities for kids at other local animal shelters such as KC Pet Project or one of these local animal shelters!
All KC animal rescue shelters need help caring for their animals. KC Pet Project is no different. Any age can volunteer, but children 15 & younger must be accompanied by an adult.
A few ways to volunteer:
- Snuggle Service
- Playground Program
- Fostering animals in your home
- Volunteering at the local shelter
- Bottle-feeding NICU kittens
The National Agriculture and Hall of Fame
The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame serves to educate society on the historical and present value of American agriculture and to honor leadership in agribusiness and academia by providing education, information, experience, and recognition. Although the museum was created by federal action, it receives no appropriation from the local, state, or federal government.
The Ag Center is entirely funded by private and corporate donations, and revenue generated by the museum, special events, and facility rentals. The Ag Center always has volunteer opportunities to help with a variety of tasks.
A few ways to support:
- There are several events that are put on every year, including Barnyard Babies Family Festival in April, a Tractor Cruise in May, Show ‘n Shine car show in July, International Linemen’s Rodeo in October, and Santa’s Express County Christmas and 5K Run in December. All events require support staff from volunteers
- Cleanup and museum maintenance
- Data entry
The Kansas City Zoo
If you have a love for animals and are committed to conserving our natural world, the Kansas City Zoo might be a good fit. The Kansas City Zoo has a volunteer program for adults as well as volunteering with teens.
More on the website under the “volunteer” section under “support us”.
Kansas City Community Gardens
There are tons of ways to volunteer with the community gardens. Check out the different locations across the metro to see which programs fit you best. Explore the Beanstalk Children’s Garden or Schoolyard Gardens for options with children.
Food Bank Volunteer Opportunities for Kids:
Harvesters – Community Food Network
Unfortunately, food insecurity is a major issue for many of our fellow citizens here in the Kansas City metro area. Harvesters – (the) Community Food Network – aims to combat this growing issue in our community. Harvester’s is one of the largest outreach programs in the metro area, so they always are in need of volunteer services.
A few ways to volunteer:
- Create handmade greetings.
- Make a holiday tribute for Recipes of Hope.
- Participate in a family service day.
- Volunteer at their location
Want to get involved? Connect with Harvesters online for more details. They help so many people throughout the year. If you would like to take part you can register HERE for any location, any time.
NourishKC is an organization that does tremendous work here in the Kansas City area. Oftentimes it’s hard for people who find themselves in situations of poverty or homelessness to reach out to get help because, quite frankly, that can feel embarrassing.
NourishKC provides meals for displaced people or those battling food insecurities in a restaurant setting where they are given choices on where to sit, what meal they want to eat, and more. The “Dining with Dignity” program gives them a sense of normalcy while they deal with what can feel like a chaotic situation.
A few ways to support:
- Assist in meal preparations in the morning.
- Serve as wait staff, bussers, or dishwashers during mealtime.
- Work in their food pantry.
- Help unload donation items.
Want to get involved? Connect with NourishKC online for details.
Healthcare/Hospital Volunteer Opportunities:
Children’s Mercy Hospital
Volunteering at the hospital provides the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Children’s Mercy’s patients and families by serving in various important roles throughout the hospital.
There are many volunteer opportunities available:
- Find adult hospital volunteering here.
- Click for volunteer opportunities for college students.
- High school & volunteering for teens
- Group volunteer opportunities
Kansas Hospice Care
The final weeks and months of life can be tremendously difficult for patients under hospice care and you’ll never know how uplifting it can feel for them to have a stranger reach out with kindness. Volunteering with Kansas Hospice Care is an incredible way to give back to Kansas City.
Your group can work together to create a beautiful memory for an elderly or terminally ill patient this year.
A few ways to support hospice:
- Assist patients with games and activities in the hospital.
- Provide music through playing or singing to entertain patients.
Want to get involved? Connect with Kansas Hospice Care online for more details.
Phoenix Family Volunteer
Phoenix Family, located in the downtown Kansas City area, works to support low-income families and senior citizens all around the metro area. With dozens of opportunities to get involved, you’re sure to find a way to give back to other families struggling with situational poverty.
How to support Phoenix Family:
- Provide Thanksgiving dinner to the elderly.
- Help a young child learn how to read.
- Unload, sort, and deliver food to seniors.
- Hold a fund drive.
Want to get involved? Connect with Phoenix Family online for more details.
Soup Kitchens, Shelters, & Faith-Based Volunteer Opportunities for Kids:
Shelter KC is a Christian organization that provides services to homeless men and women right here in Kansas City. Their mission is to empower people to reach their full potential and they do that in a variety of ways throughout the year.
A few ways to volunteer:
- Serve dinner to the community.
- Become a prayer partner for Shelter KC.
- Consider an ongoing contribution to their Community of Hope program.
Want to get involved in volunteering? Connect with Shelter KC online for more details. To volunteer, sign up HERE.
City Union Mission
Since 1924, City Union Mission has offered safety, food, and warm beds for displaced men, women, and children. As a private, Christian organization, they do not receive any government support and rely exclusively on the charitable donations provided by members of our community. They welcome volunteers who are willing to serve by providing meals, offering time, and supporting in other high-impact areas here in Kansas City.
A few ways to support:
- Host a drive with your neighborhood.
- Cook (or purchase) and serve a meal to homeless families.
- Become a one-time or recurring impact volunteer.
Want to get involved? Connect with City Union Mission online for details. If you would like to donate time to help the homeless and those from low-income families, you can fill out a volunteer form for volunteering opportunities HERE.
Jewish Family Services
This organization assists people from all walks of life and all religions. Started in 1901, the Jewish Family Services program aids our community members who are struggling with crisis situations or challenges in everyday life in a variety of ways.
How to support Jewish Family Services:
- Volunteer at the food pantry.
- Become a Help @ Home volunteer.
- Provide spiritual care.
- Become a community partner for a refugee family.
Volunteering with Jewish Family Services means lending a helping hand and improving the lives of the thousands of people that they serve each year.
Want to get involved? Connect with Jewish Family Services online for details. To volunteer with a wide variety of services, you can fill out the volunteer application form HERE.
Metro Lutheran Ministry
Since 1971, Metro Lutheran Ministry has been actively serving the Kansas City area. Their goal is to provide employment services, food, housing, education, and healthcare with the goal that it will help to nurture hope, health, opportunity, and peace in our community.
A few ways to volunteer:
- Serve a Saturday breakfast.
- Volunteer at the Christmas store.
- Participate in a family service event.
Connect with Metro Lutheran Ministry online for more details.
Catholic Charities serves its community in a wide variety of ways. Through events, food, community outreach & more, you can make a difference in the lives of other Kansas Citians. It’s a great family volunteer opportunity.
How to volunteer with Catholic Charities:
- Package meals
- Volunteer your time
- Donate money or food
- Volunteer at special events
You can sign up HERE to donate time, packaging meals or serving through special events. If you need to speak with an office assistant for more information, contact them locally at (816) 659-8205
There are a variety of different volunteer opportunities available.
Volunteer at Camp Barnabas special needs summer camp to serve great kids over the summer! There are many different ways you can serve, through group leading, camp counselors, & other volunteer positions.
This is a volunteer option that is only available during the summer months when camp is in session.
Youth Services & Sports Volunteer Opportunities for Kids:
Sleep in Heavenly Peace
This is a national volunteer opportunity with options in Missouri & Kansas. Sleep in Heavenly Peace provides beds & bedding for children in need.
The organization is made up of dedicated volunteers who donate or build bunk beds. These are built & assembled, then delivered to children that would be otherwise sleeping on couches or floors. This is a FANTASTIC CAUSE that helps local children get good sleep.
Boys Hope Girls Hope of Kansas City
One of 16 in the world, Boys Hope Girls Hope works with motivated junior high and high school children to rise above generational poverty so that they can have success in postsecondary education and beyond.
Their goal is to graduate students who are physically, emotionally, and academically prepared for life in college and to be productive as adults. They do this with the belief that young people hold the power to realize their potential, overcome adversity, and change the world.
How to support Boys Hope Girls Hope:
- Serve a family dinner for students.
- Become a carpool driver.
- Volunteer as an academic success coach.
Want to get involved? Connect with Boys Hope Girls Hope Kansas City online for details.
Special Olympics Kansas
As a Volunteer-driven organization, Special Olympics relies on dedicated volunteers of all ages to assist in many aspects of the organization to provide quality sports programs for all individuals with intellectual disabilities. From coaches to trainers, officials, scorekeepers, timers, and fundraisers, Special Olympics Kansas works with your help and support.
A few ways to volunteer with Special Olympics:
- Sign up as a coach or assistant coach
- Help conduct day-of-events by timing, keeping score, assisting with meals, setup/clean up, etc.
- Plan and/or implement activities to raise financial and in-kind support
- Help to provide health screenings and education at Special Olympics Kansas events
i9 Sports: Volunteer Coaching
At i9 Sports, the purpose is to create an environment where all kids can develop a love for the game – basketball, football, soccer, and more. i9 Sports is the nation’s first and largest youth sports league franchise business in the United States and has re-engineered youth sports for kids in order to put fun first.
I9 relies on volunteer coaches to who support their mission. Create a free i9 sports account in order to fill out the volunteer coach application to begin volunteering. See instructions HERE.
Community Services & Other Volunteer Opportunities for Kids:
How to support Tabitha’s Closet:
- Volunteer at their clothing ‘store’.
- Host a clothing drive.
- Donate your gently used clothing.
Want to get involved? Connect with Tabitha’s Closet online for details.
Simply put, the United Way of Greater Kansas City connects community members with organizations that need help. If your family is looking for a variety of volunteer opportunities for kids across the metro area, the United Way is a great place to get started for one-off projects around town.
A few ways to support:
- Serve ice cream at the John Knox Village.
- Stuff food bags for people in need.
- Organize and sort donations for the United Way.
Want to get involved? Connect with United Way of Greater KC online for details. Ongoing, register for any event, need or volunteer opportunity HERE.
Volunteer at Coldwater Lee’s Summit
Coldwater in Lee’s Summit is a nonprofit center that works with a mission of building friendships to foster hope in our community. They work with local volunteers to provide food and clothing to local families in need. Throughout the month, they host Friends Days to pass out food supplies and needed clothing items to more than 120 families in the area.
How to support Coldwater:
- Make a $25 donation to provide a full Thanksgiving dinner.
- Participate in a clothes closet work day.
- Join in on a Friends Day.
Want to get involved? Connect with Coldwater Lee’s Summit online for details.
Volunteer for Happy Bottoms
Would you believe that social programs and assistance do not include access to diapers for babies and toddlers? Happy Bottoms, located in Lenexa, distributes more than 200,000 diapers to families in need every single year and you can help them in their efforts year-round. This is one of our favorite places to volunteer in Kansas City, so check them out.
How to support Happy Bottoms:
- Host a diaper drive with your family for your neighborhood or group.
- Volunteer at Happy Bottoms (Ages 12+)
- Donate personally to Happy Bottoms
Want to get involved? Connect with Happy Bottoms online for more details.
Shawnee Town Museum Needs Volunteers
The museum needs volunteers for special events, living history participants & educational volunteers for their programs. Teachers make great volunteers!
Volunteer with Johnson County Christmas Bureau
There are about 150 volunteers needed year-round, but during the holidays the organization asks for extra volunteer help for their Festival of Trees & other events.
You can learn more and register online.
ReStore with Habitat for Humanity
This volunteer opportunity is for teens 14 years or older.
There are 4 Kansas City retail stores that are always looking for volunteers! Each store supports Habitat for Humanity so they can build more homes for families in need. Flexible volunteer shifts are available, Monday to Saturday between 10 & 5.
If your teen is looking to get volunteer hours, this volunteer spot can help work towards those. If they are 14 or 15, they will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Let us help, too!
We know that this list doesn’t come close to addressing all of the needs that are out there. If none of these take your fancy, let us help you find a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you, your family, or your group. Reach out to us at [email protected] for assistance tracking down contact information, volunteer applications, or just finding an organization or program that will fit your needs. That way, you can help give back to the needs of our beloved Kansas City!
During the Holiday Season, you can also volunteer with Project Warmth:
Project Warmth is dedicated to helping those during the coldest time of year.
How to support Project Warmth:
There are not any current donation drives, but you can email [email protected] for more upcoming locations. They look for all sizes of clothing including children.
Is structured volunteerism not your jam? Struggling to find the time to commit to something you see here? That’s okay!
There are many ways and opportunities for your family to give back to others this holiday season that require little time investment on your part.
Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas that your family can incorporate into your normal routine that will make a difference for others right here in Kansas City.
After the Harvest
All ages, skills, and groups are welcome to volunteer. They even have a calendar of specific volunteer activities that fit your schedules for you to choose from.
Medical Reserve Corps of Greater KC
The MRC is open for volunteers to temperature screens, screening people at testing sites, contacting people to get updates, and more. Fill out an application online.
KC’s first and only safety demonstration house has volunteer opportunities that fit your availability. With options to volunteer as frequently as able or just periodically, there is something for everyone. Fill out a form on their website to get started.
Bridging the Gap
This volunteer opportunity ranges from litter cleanup, tree planting, recycling, and more. All volunteers must sign up in advance and the minimum age does vary by event. Get more details online and register.
Out of the box idea for giving back during the holiday season:
As you head out to see the holiday lights (check back with iFamilyKC for a list of where you can catch them this year) you will inevitably come across people sleeping on benches or out asking for a little extra help.
One of my family’s favorite things to do is create care kits in a gallon-size Ziploc bags that have protein bars, a bottle of water, a pair of gloves, hand sanitizer, and a couple of dollars in them. We keep several of these in our car during the holiday season and pass them out whenever we feel called to help someone in need.
Again, while you’re out, you will see people who are asking for food on the side of the street. When you’re able, buy them a meal. It doesn’t take a lot to make someone’s night and provide a much-needed meal. If you don’t have the time to swing by and grab a meal, keep a few $5 gift cards to readily available spots (like Mcdonald’s or Sonic) to pass out when you’re able to help.
No matter what type of kids volunteer opportunities your family chooses, we encourage you to give back to others in need.
Volunteering and giving back teaches incredible life lessons and helps our children (and us, too) to be more compassionate, empathetic members of our community.
Most of these organizations and charities are open to families of all ages, however, they do require adult supervision for younger kids.
We spoke with many of these organizations and they would LOVE to have you come out and lend a helping hand. See you out there volunteering!
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From our family to yours, iFamilyKC