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45 volunteer opportunities in San Diego

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

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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 45 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 and packing produce for families in need, support a local distribution site, or call donors.
  • San Diego Food Bank | Clean and pack fresh produce for distribution, inspect and label donations, and assemble packages for San Diegans facing food insecurity.
  • Meals on Wheels | Deliver meals — and human connection — 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, and bottled water 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 and families, or help refugees feel more at home.
  • San Diego Rescue Mission | Help with lunch or dinner service, community outreach, warehouse food organization, or teach a class to help SD’s most vulnerable populations.
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

SD Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden Balboa Park

Rose Garden Corps volunteers help maintain the grounds March-November.

Photo via Monica Garske

  • Balboa Park Rose Garden Corps | Stop and smell the roses — and help keep the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden beautiful for generations to come; weekly volunteer shifts are March-November.
  • Mission Trails Regional Park | Answer questions about the trails, activities, and programs at the Visitor Center, help with habitat restoration and revegetation projects, or train to become a trail guide.
  • County of San Diego Parks & Recreation | Become a campground or park host and help visitors with information and services, patrol local parks, or help preserve and archive the history of county parks.
San Diego Museum of Art

Art exploration for the ages.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

🎨 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 and events.
  • ArtWalk San Diego | Be part of the grand celebration of arts and culture.
SD Mission Trails Regional Park San Diego

A little time outdoors — like at Mission Trails Regional Park — feels right.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

🍎 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 and resources to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, help 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 and 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 homes — and hope — for those in need.
  • USS Midway Museum | Maintain and restore historic aircraft aboard the iconic naval aircraft carrier on San Diego Bay.
  • ElderHelp of San Diego | Help with grocery shopping, mail sorting, companionship visits, light gardening, pet care, and rides to appointments or errands for seniors.

📚 Self-proclaimed bibliophiles

  • San Diego Public Library | Process new books and audio materials, tutor adults, enter data, work in the office, or help with literacy programs.
  • San Diego Council on Literacy | Tutor adults, youth and families via literacy programs.
  • Words Alive! | Read to kids and 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 community groups

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