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The Best Places to Volunteer in NJ

The latest update to The Best Places to Volunteer in NJ is written by Lindsay Podolak.

You may think of giving back to the community as a seasonal activity. Something like putting together food baskets at Thanksgiving or buying gifts for the needy during the holidays. But the truth is that there are people who need help all year long. Fortunately, the Garden State has plenty of opportunities to make a difference.

Whether you’re interested in putting in some time volunteering or are able to make a donation, you’ve got plenty of choices. The below programs provide some options for ways to give back locally or throughout New Jersey. Take a look and grab some friends, because a few hours of your time can go quite a long way!

Quick Click Guide: Select an NJ Region below to find the best places to Volunteer near you.
| North Jersey | Central Jersey | Jersey Shore | South Jersey |


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North Jersey

group of young volunteers posing together


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties

Location: 500 Broad Street, Newark
Mission: To provide mentorship to children in need of a positive and helpful relationship.
How They Operate: Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers spend a few hours per month mentoring a child or teen. As a result, children in the program spend time with someone who can offer the friendship and guidance missing from their lives. Above all, this is the chance to work with someone who truly needs a force of good in his or her life.
How to Sign Up: Follow the steps here.
Why I like it: You can be sure this program makes a lasting difference. All in all, 83% of former Little Brothers and Sisters surveyed are in favor of the program. They agree their Big Brother or Sister taught values that have guided them through life.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Color A Smile

Location: Mailing address is PO Box 1516, Morristown. UPS and FedEx address is 166 Ridgedale Avenue, Morristown.
Mission: To spread smiles. It’s that simple.
How They Operate: Volunteers draw pictures for senior citizens, soldiers overseas, and anyone in need of cheering up. Thousands of drawings are sent out monthly to those on Color A Smile’s mailing list, with more than 1,000,000 drawings sent out so far. This might be the simplest way to help someone in need.
How to Sign Up: No sign up is required. Just choose a drawing from the website, sign with your name and age, and send to their PO Box.
Why I like it: This is a great way to get kids involved in volunteerism. Just have them draw a few pictures and drop in the mailbox! What could be easier?
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Pass It Along

Location: 75 State Route 15, Unit 62, Lafayette
Mission: To build confident, resilient, compassionate teenagers through self-discovery, volunteer, and leadership opportunities.
How They Operate: Pass It Along is the only organization in North Jersey that solely selects teenagers for volunteerism. Teens can opt to donate their time to local programs like Compadres, Cooking with a Mission, Tilly’s Kids, and more. During each experience, volunteers take part in workshops that foster a personal connection between them and those they help.
How to Sign Up: View the available opportunities on SignUpGenius.
Why I like it: This program not only benefits those being served, but is also a wonderful way for teens to spend their time as they gain a strong sense of self, learn about the positive effects of volunteering and become equipped to avoid risky behaviors.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Central Jersey

volunteer


Allies, Inc.

Location: 1262 Whitehorse-Hamilton Square Road, Building A, Suite 101, Hamilton
Mission: To work with people with special needs and their families to provide recreational activities, healthcare, and meaningful employment.
How They Operate: Allies Day Program volunteers spend time hosting activities such as arts and crafts, fitness, and music classes. Another Allies program, Spruce Ups, also needs volunteers. They plant flowers and rake leaves, and help maintain the residential group homes. Those interested can also organize a clothing drive. Items go to Greensleeves Thrift Boutiques, which provide training and jobs for people with disabilities.
How to Sign Up: Contact BCarey@alliesnj.org to register for a program.
Why I like it: Allies, Inc. is a supported charity at Amazon Smile; which means you can choose to have 0.5% of your purchase price sent to Allies, Inc. every time you shop.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Bridges Outreach

Location: 120 Morris Avenue, Summit
Mission: To provide food, toiletries, and clothing to the homeless and those in need in Newark, Irvington, and NYC. Bridges also provides backpacks and school supplies to children in shelters in Summit, Newark, and Irvington.
How They Operate: Bridges volunteers go on weekly runs to Newark and Irvington. They bring food as well as other essentials to those in need. Volunteers can host birthday parties for sheltered children or join the Bridges’ program at St. John’s; which connects the homeless with housing, medical help, and social services.
How to Sign Up: Reach out to them via email.
Why I like it: The website details their impact each year. For example, they display figures for how many pairs of socks and underwear they distributed; and how many they helped sought substance abuse treatment.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


CASA for Children of Middlesex County

Location: 77 Church Street, New Brunswick
Mission: Court Appointed Special Advocators stands up for children in foster care. The program ensures children’s physical and emotional needs are being met.
How They Operate: CASA matches volunteers with a child or sibling group in the foster care system. The volunteer monitors the child and advocates for them when necessary. Volunteers receive training, and are monitored throughout the process. Children with CASA volunteers are proven to spend nearly eight months less in foster care, as well as show educational improvement.
How to Sign Up: You can find the volunteer application here.
Why I like it: If you have a passion for helping children but aren’t able to adopt, this is the organization for you. You can be a voice for someone in need and help a child find a better future.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Grace Healthcare Services Hospice

Location: Many locations throughout New Jersey
Mission: To bring comfort to those facing times of poor health.
How They Operate: Companionship volunteers spend time with hospice patients. Meanwhile, craft volunteers make comfort objects such as blankets, shawls or stuffed animals. Additionally, junior volunteers draw pictures or make holiday cards to brighten patients’ rooms. Companionship volunteers must take hospice training classes, which are free of charge and take place on an ongoing basis. It’s so worth the time to bring a little bit of joy to a place that can be quite lonely to live in.
How to Sign Up: Just fill out this form!
Why I like it: Know a veteran who wants to give back? Grace Healthcare has a special group of Veteran Volunteers who provide support to fellow military personnel in need.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Jersey Shore

volunteer


Community Foodbank of NJ

Location: 31 Evans Terminal, Hillside (HQ); 6735 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township (Southern Branch)
Mission: To fight hunger and poverty while creating long-term solutions.
How They Operate: Volunteers sort and pack donated food and children’s clothes for those in need throughout NJ. Additionally, there’s the Pediatric Mobile Pantry Program, where volunteers unload groceries and bring food to clients. Meanwhile, the food show pick-up program collects food donated by vendors. They also host virtual fundraisers to collect donations.
How to Sign Up: To volunteer as an individual or family, fill out the volunteer form.
Why I like it: This charity addresses the root cause of poverty. For instance, the Food Service Training Academy is a free culinary and life skills program that helps with job placement.
More Info: Visit the website or call 908-355-3663 (HQ) or 609-383-8843 (southern branch).


Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County ReStore

Location: 45 South Street, Freehold
Mission: To build a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
How They Operate: Habitat for Humanity does a lot of good for the community. In addition to building homes, they provide furniture and home decor at a discount in their resale store. The ReStore shop has kept over 2 million pounds of unwanted materials from landfills since 2015. It needs such positions as sales associates, cashiers, and social media admins. Meanwhile, Wednesday through Saturday, construction volunteers have the chance to help out.
How to Sign Up: Fill out this form.
Why I like it: Habitat for Humanity accepts tax-deductible vehicle donations. If you’re looking to unload a car, this is your chance to do so while helping those in need.
More Info: Visit the website or call 732-728-0441 for Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County business offices, 732-577-8160 for ReStore.


Simon’s Soup Kitchen

Location: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Center
Mission: To provide nutritious meals and companionship to anyone in need.
How They Operate: Simon’s Soup Kitchen offers the type of meal you’d expect to get at home; in a warm and welcoming space. Thirty weeks per year, Simon’s hosts dinner on Tuesdays and Fridays for locals in need. They also feature “Breakfast with Al,” which ensures that each child goes home with breakfast for the following day. Volunteers cook meals (more than 250 per dinner), serve food, and help clean up.
How to Sign Up: Individuals can fill out this form, and organizations can register here.
Why I like it: Each guest receives a meal fit for a king – placemats, fresh bread, homemade soup, salad, entree, starch, vegetable, and dessert.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


South Jersey

children doing crafts at a table


Boys & Girls Club of Vineland

Location: 560 Crystal Avenue, Vineland
Mission: The Boys & Girls Club provides every child with a safe place to go after school.
How They Operate: In the presence of caring adults, kids participate in programs for academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character and citizenship. The club holds many events and activities throughout the year suitable for one-time or occasional volunteers. More steady volunteers can work with the youth at any of the three locations in Cumberland County.
How to Sign Up: Click this link to fill out the contact form, or call to discuss volunteer options.
Why I like it: Another way to get involved is by attending the club’s annual masquerade ball each October, complete with live entertainment, dinner, and dancing.
More Info: Visit the website or give them a call.


Burlington County Parks System

Location: 49 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly (HQ)
Mission: To protect and preserve the county’s natural, cultural, and historical resources.
How They Operate: The Burlington County Parks System offers residents the chance to contribute to the community while also learning and sharing their skills. Some of the current volunteer opportunities include art gallery assistance, preparing crafts for children’s story times, assisting with special events at Historic Smithville Mansion, and bird surveys for winter bird counts.
How to Sign Up: Click this link to apply.
Why I like it: Special arrangements can be made for groups of 20 or more for businesses and organizations. Fill out the Volunteer Group Registration Form to get started.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Center for Family Services

Location: 560 Benson Street, Camden (HQ), with many program-specific locations throughout southern New Jersey.
Mission: Center for Family Services offers many programs which cater to the health, happiness and education of children of families in need. From cooking breakfast, to tutoring a child, to taking in a foster child, volunteers provide many services. During the holidays, the center accepts donated presents for children and teens that would otherwise not receive any gifts at all (donation info is here).
How to Sign Up: Click this link to apply for individual volunteer opportunities.
Why I like it: Those who are able can host a community drive for items like baby essentials, luggage, winter coats and more. It’s a good way for youth to take initiative as well as involve their peers.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Hero (Top) Feature Image: © william87 / Dollar Photo Club
Additional Images: ©
Pass It Along / Facebook
Bridges Outreach, Inc. / Facebook
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey / Facebook
Boys & Girls Club of Vineland / Facebook