We have 11 unique ways to help community, inspire kids volunteering, and get your kids involved during emergency situations and tough times—perfect if you’re wondering how can students help the community. Even when you’re isolating, you can still help your community and neighbors and get service hours!
Why is it important to help the community?
Getting kids and students involved in helping community is an important life skill. To help community, students understand the importance of developing a sense of community, getting involved, and volunteering. Additionally, during tough times volunteering and giving back can help those in need, businesses, and the economy by taking some stress off of things they would normally have to spend money on.
What are good community service ideas?
Here’s how to help your community and ideas for kids volunteering in the community, even if you can’t leave the house:
- Donate virtual tip jars to help restaurant and service workers.
- Leave a note on the door for the elderly, homebound, or immunocompromised neighbors with your contact information if they need anything.
- Send a book, letter or gift to a soldier.
- Make and freeze meals for friends/neighbors in need.
- Offer to buy a meal for a friend in need (via DoorDash, etc.).
- Send a care package snack box to a college student, friend or family member stuck at home.
- Offer to pack food bags for students from home (and then drop them off at school to be distributed).
- Start a Facebook Live and read to kids stuck at home, in a shelter, or at a hospital.
- Make blankets for shelter pets.
- Clean off your bookshelf and donate the books to nursing homes and shelters.
- Pick up trash near your house or in a local park.
- Check out an animal shelter’s wish list and send/drop off some items.
- Make cards for kids in hospitals.
- Host an online fundraiser for a local charity.
- Send gift cards to shelters, animal shelters, or friends in need.
DON’T MISS OUR FULL LIST OF UNIQUE WAYS TO HELP YOUR COMMUNITY BELOW. KEEP SCROLLING!
If your kids are wondering, “How can I help my community as a student?” here are some great ideas to help community!
How To Help Community During Hard Times
How can you help your community?
How To Help Community Tip #1: Donate your clothes and toys.
And, not only does it help you (by getting rid of all that crap), but there are people who really need it.
Donate clothes and toys to:
- Animal shelters
- Nursing homes
- Men’s and women’s nonprofits who provide clothes for job interviews
Also, did you know that many animal shelters will take your old blankets and towels? So, don’t throw them out. Offer them up to the animal shelters instead!
How To Help Community Tip #2: Work with animal shelters.
During emergency situations and tough economic times, animal shelters get hit hard, too.
People who lose jobs and homes can no longer afford their pets, so animal shelters see an increase of drop-offs during this time.
You can help by:
- Organizing a fundraiser for your favorite local animal shelter.
- Adopting a dog or cat if you can!
- Fostering a dog or cat.
- Volunteering to walk dogs, play with cats, or help clean.
- Donating to the animals with specific medical needs.
- Dropping off supplies. (Check with them first on specific needs.)
- Dropping off a meal to the workers.
How To Help Community Tip #3: Write letters.
During emergencies (especially when you’re quarantined), connecting with others is super important. One way you can help community during this time is to write letters.
It seems like a meh kind of community service, but it’s actually very important to many who are stuck at home and lonely or even those who are away from home.
Write letters or make cards and send them to:
- Kids in local hospitals
- Nursing home residence
- Relatives and friends
- Elderly neighbors (you can even sneak deliver them and leave them on their door)
And, if mail is down during this time (for whatever reason), you can always send a heartfelt text, email, or private message on social media!
How To Help Community Tip #4: Offer to pack food.
In regular times and in emergencies, many food banks and school backpack food programs need your help with donating, sorting and packing food.
During emergency situations, these services will also pack food cases or bags to be delivered or picked up.
You and your kids can offer to pack food or even deliver or hand out at pick up.
How To Help Community Tip #5: Donate your tech services.
Are your kids a social media whiz or influencer?
Do they know how to write blog posts, build websites, write killer newsletters or get a buzz going on Instagram?
Many small businesses and non-profits have very little funds for these services, but they are so important!
If you can help in any of these areas, offer them up to non-profits or businesses in your community.
How To Help Community Tip #6: Make blankets for those in need.
Have you ever made those no-sew fleece blankets? (They’re so easy AND fun!)
Those make a great community help project for kids!
You can make them and donate them to:
- Kids in need
- Elderly neighbors
- Nursing homes
- Animal shelters
How To Help Community Tip #7: Offer services to stressed parents.
During emergencies, one of the best ways to help community is to offer help to the parents. Your kids can be community helpers for your neighborhood!
Many parents may be working with home during this time while also trying to juggle work or other home demands. If the emergency situation allows, older kids can offer to babysit kids or be a parents helper.
If you’re in a quarantine situation, you can:
- Facebook Live the kids and read stories to allow parents to get a few things done
- Make craft packs and drop them off on their doorstep (get free printables online)
- Put together lesson plan ideas and send to the parents (see our huge list of theme lessons)
- Drop off books or art supplies you’re no longer using
- Put together toy packs (of toys you were going to donate anyway) and drop them off on the doorstep as a surprise!
How To Help Community Tip #8: Become part of history!
Volunteer with the Smithsonian to transcribe documents like field notes, diaries, ledgers, logbooks, currency proof sheets, photo albums, manuscripts, biodiversity specimens labels and more!
How To Help Community Tip #9: Contribute to science and conservation by tracking birds.
Keep track of birds, sounds, and photographs in your area for eBird.org.
Our goal is to gather this information in the form of checklists of birds, archive it, and freely share it to power new data-driven approaches to science, conservation and education.
At the same time, we develop tools that make birding more rewarding. From being able to manage lists, photos and audio recordings, to seeing real-time maps of species distribution, to alerts that let you know when species have been seen, we strive to provide the most current and useful information to the birding community.
eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year by eBirders around the world.
A collaborative enterprise with hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of regional experts, and hundreds of thousands of users, eBird is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
How To Help Community Tip #10: Volunteer to help the visually impaired.
BeMyEyes.com is a site that connects you to the visually impaired and allows you to assist them with questions.
From their site:
“Sighted volunteer receives video call: As a sighted volunteer you can help just by installing the Be My Eyes app. A blind or a low-vision user may need help with anything from checking expiry dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings.”
How To Help Community Tip #11: Become a cartographer (sort of…).
Have a kid who loves maps? Then this is the perfect family volunteer effort!
MissingMaps.org maps out areas to help first responders and you can help map those areas!
From the site:
“Each year, disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace 200 million people. Many of the places where these disasters occur are literally ‘missing’ from any map and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which you can help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people.”
Kids can also use any of these projects to help community for service hours and as ideas on how to help community as a student!
WHAT ARE WAYS YOUR KIDS HELP COMMUNITY DURING EMERGENCY SITUATIONS?