Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, spend meaningful time with your family, sharpen your skills, and give back to your local community. It’s also a great way to impact your legacy and instill the importance of giving back within your family.
There are many ways to give to a charity that doesn’t include writing a check. Let’s look closer at 5 volunteer organizations in the St. Louis, Missouri area and discover how you can help on the ground floor.
Finding your ideal volunteer role
The great thing about volunteering is that there’s a place for everyone—all interests and skills are welcome!
Before you jump in, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions:
- How much time can you commit? Once a week? A couple of times a month?
- What kind of skills do you have? This could be office support, handy work, hosting, education, or childcare.
- What do you like to do? Work with animals? Are you passionate about conservation or food insecurity?
The options for volunteering within your community are endless, and you can use this time to do things you’re passionate about.
Food-Related Volunteering: St. Louis Area Foodbank
A 2021 study found that 42% of households had to choose between paying for food or housing. The St. Louis Area Foodbank is working to ensure that choice never has to be made.
As the bi-state region’s largest non-profit 501(c)(3) food distribution center, the St. Louis Area Foodbank is dedicated to feeding those in need, regardless of education, race, or ethnicity. The organization provides food assistance to more than 57,000 individuals weekly in 26 counties in Eastern Missouri and Southwestern Illinois.
Volunteers are critical to the food bank. In 2022, volunteers logged nearly 60,000 hours in the Repacking Center and at distribution events. By donating your time, the St. Louis Foodbank can direct more funding toward helping the community instead of hiring full-time staff.
To get involved, you can donate your time to the volunteer center, at a local pantry, or to special events held throughout the year.
Animal-Related Volunteering: Stray Rescue of Saint Louis
Stray Rescue of Saint Louis may be your perfect volunteering opportunity if you love spending time with furry friends in your free time.
Shelters have always struggled to keep animals out of the shelter, but since the pandemic, they have been bursting at the seams. Stray Rescue is doing everything it can to rescue stray animals needing medical attention and restore them to health so they can find their forever homes.
Serving the city of St. Louis and surrounding metro areas, Stray Rescue is aiming to have the largest inner-city animal sanctuary in the country. But they can’t do it without the thousands of volunteers.
Volunteers are needed in the field and behind the desk! If you’re interested in directly helping the animals, you can spend time with them on walks or in the play yards to give them the necessary attention and exercise. Volunteers can also assist in educational outreach, fundraising and adoption events, and more!
Outdoor or Environmental Volunteering: Gateway Arch National Park
There’s a reason it’s called the great outdoors! The Gateway Arch represents St. Louis’ role in the Westward Expansion of the US. He is dedicated as a memorial to Thomas Jefferson and the pioneers who helped shape its history.
Volunteers are critical to the success of the park. Volunteering with the park includes customer service, implementing educational programs, maintaining the Arch grounds, or working directly with staff to protect precious artifacts and archives.
Fun fact: Volunteers who earn 250 hours or more receive a ‘Volunteer Pass’ allowing free entry to all Federal lands for 12 months.
If you’re passionate about preserving and protecting national parks, you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity.
Educational Volunteering: Saint Louis Public Schools
One of the most rewarding volunteering opportunities is to impact your community’s youth directly.
Saint Louis Public School District (SLPS) is home to more than 60 schools and academic programs—including Magnet and Choice schools—so every child’s education needs are met.
SLPS is always looking for volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of their students, and there are many ways to get involved:
- Tutoring or mentoring
- Coaching sports teams
- Taking field trips, including college-campus visits
- Participating in school-based community service projects like neighborhood school gardening
Community Volunteering: United Way of Greater St. Louis
Your local community needs you now more than ever. With the United Way of Greater St. Louis, you can work with like-minded volunteers to help people live their best possible lives.
The organization works with 164 local nonprofits to serve 16 counties in Illinois and Missouri, with a population of nearly 3 million people. United Way serves the people of greater St. Louis in various ways, including basic needs, securing jobs, economic mobility, early childhood, health and wellbeing, community stability, and crisis response.
With so many different impact areas, there are a variety of roles for volunteers, including group volunteering, clothing sorting, joining a leadership society, and more.
Give all year round
It’s easy to put off volunteering until the holidays roll around, but the organizations in the St. Louis area need help all year. And your time and monetary donations are equally important.
Don’t hesitate to connect with us as you decide how to give your time and resources this year.
Craig Toberman is the Founder of Toberman Wealth – a fee-only, fiduciary financial advisor based in St. Louis. He assists families and businesses with strategic financial planning and long-term wealth management. He has over a decade of experience in financial services and has crafted custom financial plans for hundreds of families and businesses.
Craig received a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree in Finance from Saint Louis University. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder, and Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Craig is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Fee-Only Network, and XY Planning Network.
Craig lives in the greater St. Louis area with his wife, Ally and son, Hank.