Operation Turkey is one of many excellent volunteering opportunities in Houston. Photo courtesy of Operation Turkey, Facebook
Operation Turkey is one of many excellent volunteering opportunities in Houston. Photo courtesy of Operation Turkey, Facebook

Holiday Volunteering Opportunities in Houston for Families

Create meaningful family holiday traditions and teach kids that the holidays are more than just presents through one of many volunteering opportunities in Houston. Non-profits need volunteers to make their programs a success. There are so many activities you can do to help your community, such as collecting and donating food, making cards, and preparing and delivering meals. Many Houston non-profits with volunteering opportunities allow children on-site to volunteer alongside their parents, or older teenagers to volunteer without an adult. 

Find more ideas to keep the holidays bright in our Guide to Holiday and Christmas Events for Houston Families.

 

OUR LATEST VIDEOS

 
Photo courtesy of Books Between Kids

Houston Food Bank

Downtown
The Houston Food Bank is a great option for families because children as young as age six can volunteer alongside an adult parent or guardian. There are many volunteering opportunities, including kid-friendly projects, which can vary from inspecting and sorting food, to packing food into family-sized bags, to stocking the Emergency Food Pantry. Volunteer shifts are available daily, but hours vary. There are also special volunteer events coming up for the holidays. Register online to volunteer and make sure to wear closed-toed shoes and sleeved shirts. In addition to volunteering, you can also help by donating food or money or even hosting a food drive.

 
Houston Food Bank allows volunteers as young as age 6. Photo courtesy of the Houston Food Bank

City Wide Club

Downtown
City Wide Club is best known for its annual events, which include a Thanksgiving Day Feast and a Christmas Eve Feast held at the George R. Brown Convention Center with volunteer shifts available in the morning and afternoon. In 2021, they are offering both takeaway and in-person dining. In addition to handing out meals, thousands of people also receive clothing, shoes, blankets, flu shots, medical care, food baskets, and other resources. All volunteers must be at least 16 years of age, wear face coverings and gloves, and adhere to all Covid safety and social distancing protocols. Although that means most kids cannot help out at the annual events, there are many other ways to help, including collecting items they need and donating them on November 22nd at a variety of locations around the city including Downtown, Sugar Land, and The Woodlands.

Buffalo Bayou Community Volunteers

Inner Loop
The Buffalo Bayou Partnership invites Houstonians to join in a community-wide volunteer day at Buffalo Bayou Park on the third Saturday of each month. Volunteers help with a variety of tasks, including trash pick-up, mulching, silt management, and weed removal. Volunteers should bring their own gloves, personal sanitation items, and personal protection equipment, but all other necessary tools will be provided. Children aged 6-9 can volunteer as part of the family unit. To sign up please read the volunteer information packet and complete an online volunteer waiver with the event date. You can also volunteer as a family unit on a weekday for 2-4 hours. Help restore the park to its former glory!


Your whole family can participate in community volunteering. Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bayou 

Operation Turkey Houston

Various locations
The volunteer-run organization distributes meals and care packages in more than 30 communities nationwide. For 2021, Operation Turkey has set the bar high, with a goal of passing out 45,000 meals to those in need on Thanksgiving morning. Volunteers are needed to prepare, package, and deliver food to the homeless and less fortunate in the Houston area. Children are welcome as volunteers along with their parents and are given tasks including decorating the clamshell food containers and walking through the food line to get the food containers filled; they can also help with delivering food if a parent volunteers to be a driver.

Kids Meals, Inc.

Inner Loop
Kids’ Meals, Inc. works to end childhood hunger by delivering free, healthy meals to the doorsteps of children ages five and under facing hunger due to poverty. Monday through Friday, volunteers prepare thousands of healthy lunches and then deliver the meals to children enrolled in the program. Kids Meals Inc. also provides children with additional resources such as free books. Outside of the holiday season, the group needs at least 20 volunteers a day. You can imagine how the need increases this time of year! Other ways to help include donating holiday food items, gift cards, and toys, or by participating in their adopt-a-family program. Volunteers at the Garden Oaks Center need to be 8 years of age or older. However, if you have younger children you can still help by decorating bags or providing lunches from your home.

 
Kids Meals, Inc. has volunteering opportunities in Houston for kids as young as age 8. Photo courtesy Kids Meals, Inc. 

Books Between Kids

Westchase
Books Between Kids distributes over 260,000 books to approximately 36,000 Houston elementary school students. Volunteers are usually needed to count and inventory donations, sort books and box them, and help with stocking the tables. At the moment, there is no in-person volunteering due to the coronavirus. However, when it does resume children as young as 5 are welcome. In the meantime, you can help by donating gently used children’s books appropriate for Pre-K through 5th-grade readers or hosting a book drive. You can schedule a large donation at the warehouse using their calendar or drop off small donations at Michael’s cookie jar in two locations in Houston. 

 
Donate your gently used books to Books Between Kids. Photo courtesy of Books Between Kids

Northwest Assistance Ministries

North Houston
The Season of Blessings program at Northwest Assistance Ministries coordinates assistance for individuals in need, providing food, hygiene products, financial assistance, and more. For the 2021 holiday season, NAM will work to provide families in need with food and toys to help create special holiday memories. Volunteers help accept food or toy donations, stock the pantry, prepare food for distribution, carry food to cars, and help with toy distribution. Volunteers must fill out an online RSVP to indicate when they will be available to volunteer, and all minors must have a permission slip filled out by their parents to volunteer. All volunteering opportunities will follow social distancing and safety protocols. One fun activity for all ages that you complete at home is their Reverse Advent Calendar—your family adds a listed food item to a box every day in December and then donates it to the NAM Center.


Photo courtesy of Northwest Assistance Ministries

Toys For Tots

Various Locations
When families need assistance providing a joy-filled holiday for their children, Toys For Tots steps in with in-kind donations of new toys for kids who otherwise might not receive anything to open on Christmas morning. Your kids can get in the spirit of giving by selecting toys for a child and dropping them off at one of the many collection locations throughout the greater Houston area. Most of the sites have a deadline of November 11 to drop off your donation.


Help Houston kids have a happy holiday season. Photo courtesy of Toys for Tots, Houston Childrens Charity

Meals on Wheels

Various locations
Interfaith Ministries' Meals on Wheels program provides over 5,000 holiday meals to homebound seniors in the Houston area.  They have so many different jobs in the holiday season, such as assembling breakfast bags, helping with meal delivery, working in the warehouse, or making greeting cards. Children 6+ can work on-site and of course, your younger kids can get busy by making cards, or coming out in the car for meal deliveries. Why not assemble some gift bags using their list of approved items for drop-off by mid-December?

If your child is a pet-lover, get them involved in Interfaith's Animeals program. Volunteers are needed to make monthly deliveries of pet food, adopt a senior and their pet(s), host pet food drives, assist with inventorying donations and organizing the Animeals pets, food room, repackage pet food donations, pick up donations of pet food throughout the community and represent Animeals at special events.

The Holiday Project's Handmade Holiday Cards for Nursing Homes

Various locations
Covid continues to prevent us from making holiday visits to nursing homes, so there is more of a need than ever for fun, cheerful, holiday cards for residents. This year, since we still can’t visit, there is an added option to make or purchase fleece lap blankets or fleece shawls or give other gifts that would make the holidays brighter and let the nursing home residents know they have not been forgotten! Take the time to think of our senior community members and follow the guidelines online to make your cards, find gifts and identify a nursing home near you.

 

There are so many ways that you and your family can make a difference. For many other ideas search Volunteer Houston.

Want to deliver hot meals to Houston seniors on Thanksgiving Day? Click 'VOLUNTEER' in the menu above!

Can't come on Thanksgiving Day, but want to help? Click 'VOLUNTEER' in the menu above and sign up to fundraise!

Over 4,000 seniors in the Houston area rely on IM's Meals on Wheels program every day. They need you to bring them a little extra holiday cheer along with their traditional Thanksgiving meal! Thank you for caring about seniors in need. Together, we can make sure that no senior goes hungry, on Thanksgiving or any other day!

- See more at: http://support.imgh.org/site/TR?fr_id=1070&pg=entry#sthash.sIDLEUrZ.dpuf

Want to deliver hot meals to Houston seniors on Thanksgiving Day? Click 'VOLUNTEER' in the menu above!

Can't come on Thanksgiving Day, but want to help? Click 'VOLUNTEER' in the menu above and sign up to fundraise!

Over 4,000 seniors in the Houston area rely on IM's Meals on Wheels program every day. They need you to bring them a little extra holiday cheer along with their traditional Thanksgiving meal! Thank you for caring about seniors in need. Together, we can make sure that no senior goes hungry, on Thanksgiving or any other day!

- See more at: http://support.imgh.org/site/TR?fr_id=1070&pg=entry#sthash.sIDLEUrZ.dpuf
Over 4,000 seniors in the Houston area rely on IM's Meals on Wheels program every day. They need you to bring them a little extra holiday cheer along with their traditional Thanksgiving meal! Thank you for caring about seniors in need. Together, we can make sure that no senior goes hungry, on Thanksgiving or any other day! - See more at: http://support.imgh.org/site/TR?fr_id=1070&pg=entry#sthash.sIDLEUrZ.dpuf
Free Photos with Santa in Sugar Land
Sur La Table - Sugar Land - 1:00 PM Pick
Holidays at Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens - various times Pick
Santa's Wonderland
Santa's Wonderland - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides