Volunteering Opportunities for Kids and Families in DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia

There are many opportunities to help clean up Montgomery County parks throughout the year. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Parks
There are many opportunities to help clean up Montgomery County parks throughout the year. Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Parks
1/21/24 - By Rebecca Singer

Volunteering as a family is an enriching way to spend time together while building values like empathy and compassion. There are many volunteering opportunities for kids throughout the DC area, so families with children of all ages can experience how rewarding it feels to contribute to their community.

You can find a cause to fit any child's passion, from addressing food insecurity to cleaning parks to helping animals. Opportunities range from one-time events to ongoing service projects. There are also annual volunteer programs organized around holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, Earth Day, Thanksgiving, and the winter holiday season.

Here are 25 volunteering opportunities for kids and families in DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Our lists of DC Holiday Volunteering Opportunities for Kids and Summer Service Trips for Teens will give you even more great ideas for giving back.


Ongoing Family Volunteering Opportunities in Washington, DC

1. Edlavitch DCJCC

The Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility at the Edlavitch DCJCC offers hands-on volunteer opportunities designed to be family-friendly and flexible. The center hosts a variety of volunteer events throughout the year, including local park cleanups, food bank support, and more.

2. Capital Area Food Bank

Committed to ensuring access to healthy food, the Capital Area Food Bank provides more than 50 million meals to people in communities across the region. Kids must be at least 12 years old to volunteer in the organization's distribution center, but volunteers of all ages can help with weeding, mulching, and harvesting fresh produce in the half-acre urban garden.

3. Martha’s Table

Martha’s Table supports DC communities by increasing access to quality resources. Volunteers 12 and older help with tasks such as filling grocery bags, meal prep, and assisting in the no-cost Grocery Markets. Younger children can get involved by making and donating homemade trail mix, sandwiches, and muffins.

4. Rock Creek Conservancy

Volunteers of all ages can participate in public volunteer cleanup events at Rock Creek Park and various Maryland trails and parks organized by Rock Creek Conservancy throughout the year. The conservancy holds an “Extreme Cleanup” in honor of Earth Month each April, as well as an annual “Weed Wrangle” in the fall to rescue local public green spaces from invasive species.

5. Casey Trees

This local nonprofit is committed to restoring and protecting DC’s tree canopy by planting and caring for trees in the city. Casey Trees hosts community tree planting events throughout the year at various locations around the area, and volunteers of all ages can participate.

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Help assemble goody-filled backpacks for youth entering foster care. Photo courtesy of Comfort Cases

Ongoing Family Volunteering Opportunities in Maryland

6. Comfort Cases — Gaithersburg

Volunteers of all ages can help by processing donations, counting inventory, and assembling Comfort Cases—backpacks filled with personal care items for youth entering the foster care system. Children 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

7. Greater DC Diaper Bank — Silver Spring

The Greater DC Diaper Bank supports vulnerable families by providing essential baby supplies. Families with children of all ages are encouraged to volunteer together in the organization's Silver Spring warehouse, assisting with diaper bundling, organizing the baby pantry, and sorting inventory.

8. Rockville Weed Warriors — Rockville

Weed Warrior volunteers will help remove invasive species from local green spaces. Check the Rockville Weed Warriors online calendar for upcoming workdays. Volunteers of all ages are welcome, though children younger than 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Weed Warrior volunteers will help remove invasive species from local green spaces. Check the Rockville Weed Warriors online calendar for upcoming workdays. Volunteers of all ages are welcome, though children younger than 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

9. A Wider Circle — Silver Spring

Through its Essential Support program, A Wider Circle furnishes homes for families who are starting out, often after leaving situations like homelessness or domestic abuse. Volunteers ages 7 and up (accompanied by an adult) can help by sorting through donations and stocking showrooms.

10. Bikes for the World — Rockville

This organization donates good-quality used bicycles to low-income people living in developing countries, to support better transportation to work, education, and health care. Volunteers can help out in the warehouse, prepping bikes to be shipped overseas.

11. Montgomery Parks Cleanup — Montgomery County

Volunteers of all ages can participate in watershed cleanups scheduled at Montgomery County parks throughout the year. Children younger than 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is the perfect organization for young animal lovers to support. Photo courtesy of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue

Ongoing Family Volunteering Opportunities in Northern Virginia

12. Lucky Dog Animal Rescue — Arlington

Children ages 7-18 can join Lucky Dog Animal Rescue’s Youth Program to help ensure the safety and well-being of animals who need a loving home. Volunteer opportunities include helping at weekly adoption events (with an accompanying adult) and gathering donations for Lucky Dog.

13. Kids Give Back — Northern Virginia

This nonprofit provides volunteer opportunities for kids ages 6-12. Through virtual events, family volunteer days, and summer camps with a focus on volunteering, this organization gets school-aged kids involved with giving in their community. Projects include everything from assembling teacher welcome kits to packaging meals for families in need.

14. Animal Welfare League of Alexandria — Alexandria

Children 6 and up can enjoy a unique birthday celebration, while raising awareness for animal welfare, by holding their party at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Other youth volunteer opportunities include 30-minute Book Buddy reading sessions with small adoptable animals and at-home projects like preparing hot dog treat bags, no-sew blankets, cat wands, and more.

15. Animal Welfare League of Arlington — Arlington

The Paws & Read program is a win-win for families and shelter animals. Children practice their reading skills while giving pets an opportunity for socialization. Teens ages 13-17 can join the Junior Fosters program and gain responsibility and hands-on experience caring for a foster rabbit or guinea pig at home.

Ongoing Family Volunteering Opportunities Near DC with Multiple Locations

16. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington — Washington, DC & Falls Church, VA

Ronald McDonald House enables family-centered care for children who are ill. Volunteers can assemble care kits for family caregivers and their sick kids in their own homes, then drop the kits off at either of the Ronald McDonald Houses located in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia.

17. Chesapeake Bay Foundation — Maryland & Northern Virginia

Join the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in its commitment to restore the Chesapeake Bay and keep it healthy. Volunteer opportunities in Maryland and Virginia include picking vegetables at Clagett Farm, tree planting, oyster gardening, and the annual Clean the Bay Day on the first Saturday in June.

Holiday Volunteering Opportunities in the DC Area

18. Wreaths Across America

More than 2 million people of all ages participate in this annual event, laying wreaths at the graves of American veterans at more than 4,000 locations in all 50 states. Families in the DMV can participate at Arlington National Cemetery or other local cemeteries.

19.Holiday Shoebox Gift Drive

Organized by SOME (So Others Might Eat), a nonprofit committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness, this drive gathers gifts for both grown-ups and children during the holiday season. Volunteers are asked to decoratively wrap shoeboxes and fill them with essential items following the checklist provided by SOME.

20. D25 Day of Service and Everything But The Turkey

These two annual events, run by the Edlavitch DCJCC, bring hundreds of volunteers together to spread holiday cheer across the region by preparing meals, making cards, donating blood, and more. There are typically opportunities designed specifically for families with young kids to participate.

21. Good Karma Holiday Program

Through this holiday giving program organized by A Wider Circle, you can sponsor a family, donate new toys for local children, and help wrap and deliver gifts to spread joy to local families in need.

22. Angels for Children Toy Drive

A joint effort between MHP (Making Home Possible), the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad, and Wheaton & Kensington Chamber of Commerce, this program collects and delivers donations of toys, books, and games to local children in need.

23. Holiday Helpers Drive

Bridges to Independence, an organization devoted to ending systemic poverty in Arlington, Virginia, coordinates this holiday drive, collecting donations of gift cards to share with local families, who can then purchase the gifts their families want or need.

24. Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) Holiday Giving

NVFS contributes to a thriving community by providing essential resources to neighbors in need. During the winter holiday season,NVFS organizes a drive to collect gift cards and toys to support holiday celebrations for local families.

25. Volunteer Fairfax Holiday Volunteering

Volunteer Fairfax maintains a database of volunteer opportunities to help people connect with ways to help in their community. The organization's annual holiday volunteering guide provides suggestions for ways to contribute during the holiday season.

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