40 volunteer opportunities in San Diego, California

This list includes everything from helping the hungry and mentoring local youth to helping animals and cleaning up local beaches.

Feeding San Diego volunteers

Feeding San Diego volunteers helping at a distribution site.

Photo via Feeding San Diego

Table of Contents

Maybe you have some extra time on your hands, or maybe you’re just in the giving spirit. All we know is there are more than enough great causes in San Diego to donate your time to. Whether you’re an animal lover, an artsy type, a natural mentor, or an outdoor enthusiast — there’s a nearby volunteer opportunity for you.

Here are 40 ways to get involved in America’s Finest City. 🤝

🥗If you have a passion for community members in need

  • Feeding San Diego | Help relieve hunger by sorting + packing produce for families in need, support a local distribution site, call donors, and more.
  • San Diego Food Bank | Clean + pack fresh produce for distribution, inspect and label donations, and assemble packages for San Diegans facing food insecurity.
  • Meals on Wheels | Deliver mealsand smiles — to seniors across the county, many of whom are isolated or homebound.
  • Alpha Project | Organize donation drives for essential supplies like shampoo, toothbrushes, blankets, socks + shoes to distribute to locals experiencing homelessness.
  • Mama’s Kitchen | Deliver meals along a specific route to San Diegans at risk of malnutrition due to critical illnesses, help plate dishes, or assemble grocery bags.
  • Jewish Family Service | Deliver meals, keep older adults company, support youth + families, or help refugees feel more at home.
San Diego Humane Society volunteers

Love animals? Help out at the San Diego Humane Society.

Photo via San Diego Humane Society

🐾 If you’re an animal lover

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego

Providing the comforts of home to families whose children are hospitalized.

Photo via Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego

🌇 If you live + breathe San Diego

Comic-Con Museum in San Diego

Superhero volunteers wanted.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

🌊 For the outdoorsy types

🎨 The artsy types

  • San Diego Museum of Art | Assist visitors at the front desk or at special events, help with projects, serve in the art reference library, or train to become a docent.
  • ICA San Diego | Greet visitors, conduct tours, answer questions, and share info about artworks, artists, programs + events.
  • ArtWalk San Diego | Be part of the grand celebration of arts + culture.

🍎 Natural-born teachers + mentors

  • Just In Time Foster Youth | Share important life lessons with foster youth — from grocery shopping to budgeting — by facilitating workshops, forging friendships + providing emotional support.
  • YMCA of San Diego | Support programs + special events, coach, or fundraise to make communities a better place to live.
  • Make-A-Wish of San Diego | Make a child’s dream a reality as a “wish granter,” volunteer as a translator or interpreter, help at special events, and use your special skills for good.
  • Reality Changers | Tutor students in grades 8-12 and help local youth achieve their goal of going to college.

💕 If you want to be there for abuse victims

  • Casa de Amparo | Organize special activities for kids impacted by child abuse + neglect, help at the holiday donation center, or clean and landscape campuses.
  • WRC | Provide crisis intervention + information to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, volunteer at a local shelter, mentor children, or support the organization’s thrift store.
  • Home Start | Sort thrift store donations, help with garden projects, or provide tax assistance while helping to strengthen families impacted by abuse + neglect.
USS Midway Museum San Diego

Serve as a handy helper aboard the aircraft carrier.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

⚒️ For handy individuals

  • San Diego Habitat for Humanity | Build homesand hope — for those in need.
  • USS Midway Museum | Maintain + restore historic aircraft aboard the iconic naval aircraft carrier on the Embarcadero.
  • ElderHelp of San Diego | Grocery shopping, mail sorting, companionship visits, light gardening, pet care, and rides to appointments or errands to help seniors remain independent and live with dignity.

📚 Self-proclaimed bibliophiles

  • San Diego Public Library | Process new books + audio materials, tutor adults, enter data, work in the office, or help with literacy programs.
  • San Diego Council on Literacy | Tutor adults, youth + families via literacy programs.
  • Words Alive! | Read to kids + teens, deliver books, or prepare crafts for families as you inspire a love of reading for underserved locals.
  • Traveling Stories | Read virtually to kids in grades 1-3 and mentor them to build literacy skills.

🤝 If you’re passionate about supporting local minority groups

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