Volunteering is a great way to give back and do something great with your time. It’s also a good way to meet new people and get involved in your community. There are some amazing organizations in this area that are always looking for more help. Like most places, the Triangle Area has chapters of great national and international organizations such as the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and the SPCA. We also have some incredible initiatives that were founded here to specifically serve our communities. I’ve highlighted some special ones from our area below. This list is by no means exhaustive but instead is meant to serve as a starting point. I’d also love to hear what volunteer organizations you’ve found do well in helping the community.
Green Chair exists to help those who have gone through very rough life experiences get back on their feet. The organization provides furnishings for individuals who have transitioned from experiencing homelessness or disaster and have secured sustainable housing. Volunteers repair and clean up furniture that’s been donated by the community and then rent it for a small fee to families working with case workers. Beyond furniture repair there are many other jobs for volunteers to do. Please also consider donating your household items to Green Chair.
Artspace, popular visual arts center and venue is always in need of more help. Volunteers can assist with everything from bar tending on First Friday to delivering newsletters every other month. If you want to help support the local art community this is a great way to get involved. Neat artwork and artists studios to visit.
Carroll’s Kitchen is an amazing organization and restaurant that aims to end women’s homelessness in Raleigh. It gives women that were either homeless, have been in the prison system or both a chance to get back on their feet. The organization provides them with work and potentially housing as well as skills and knowledge to succeed in the future. Carroll’s Kitchen is also an amazing restaurant that has been ranked one of the best breakfast and lunch spots in Downtown Raleigh and they’re about to open a second location at the Morgan Street Food Hall in the Warehouse District. Volunteers are needed to help do everything from delivering catering orders to photography and website design as well as share job skills.
The Food Bank provides food for at risk individuals and families in 34 counties in Eastern and Central NC. The food bank serves a network of more than 800 partner agencies such as soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries and more. Last year alone volunteers gave 241,183 hours of their time and they’re always looking for more. There are branches in both Raleigh and Durham as well as several towns in the eastern part of the state. It’s easy and fun to volunteer as an individual or with groups.
The Scrap Exchange is a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote creativity, environmental awareness and community through reuse. The organization collects unwanted materials from local businesses and residents and then redistributes them to a wide range of groups including artists, students and educators. Individuals and groups are both welcome to volunteer helping to run the store and with any other tasks that may arise. Great store to visit with kids!
One of the most fun and innovative museums around, The Museum of Life and Sciences is also a great place to volunteer. The spacious 84-acre campus has a two-story interactive science center, one of the largest butterfly houses on the East Coast, over 60 species of live animals, and much more. There’s something here for everyone and it’s a great environment to volunteer in!
Started in a church basement in 1991, One World Market focuses on providing fair wages to low-income craft persons from all over the world. The organization works with artists from over 70 developing countries, giving them access to the US market. Volunteers help by providing customer service, unpacking and processing shipments, store maintenance, helping with events, sharing product knowledge and much more.
The APS of Durham has been helping animals in the city since 1970. They manage the Durham County Animal shelter and do lots of outreach. They need volunteers to help at the shelter, take dogs on walks, take care of the cats, help at educational events and much more. If you love animals and want to help them and spend time around them this is a great way to do it!
SEEDS is a two-acre urban garden and kitchen in the heart of Durham. SEEDS aims to teach young people about growing and cooking their own food as well as important life skills such as sharing, cooperation and leadership. The garden has operated since 1994 and continues to have a unique and powerful impact in the community. There are volunteering opportunities for groups and individuals including help in the garden and kitchen as well as tutoring and teacher assisting.
A tiger rescue in the hills of North Carolina? I know, it does seem pretty random. Due to a lack of laws on the ownership of exotic animals in North Carolina and several other states, there are many big cats who end up without proper homes. The Carolina Tiger Rescue provides a permanent home for these animals and does its best to give them happy and full lives. The rescue also works to advocate for appropriate pet ownership laws. Individuals and groups can volunteer in a range of different options.
That wraps up our list of local organizations but below I’ve also included links to local chapters of bigger organizations as well as helpful databases for other volunteer options in our area. Thanks for reading and make sure to check back at the beginning of March when we post our monthly list of fun activities around the Triangle. Don’t forget you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or concerns. Take care!