Want some suggestions? We have a few in mind:
If you happen to smile at dogs on the street while completely ignoring their owners, or regularly find yourself hidden away at a party playing with the resident cat, you may find your calling volunteering for four-legged friends. You can always go to your local Humane Society or animal shelter and ask about any open volunteer opportunities, or connect to The Humane Society of the United States (the nation’s largest animal protection organization) and find volunteer openings near you. There isn’t a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than being showered with affection from appreciative pups.
For those who prefer to sneak in a bit of exercise while also supporting a good cause, look no further than the annual Cupid’s Undie Run hosted in almost every state. The run focuses on funding research and finding a cure for neurofibromatosis – a genetic disorder that affects 1 in 3,000 births in the United States alone. Those afflicted develop tumors that may cause blindness, deafness, learning disabilities, and chronic pain. Strip down to your best heart-printed skivvies and join in with thousands of other runners to raise money and awareness for a good cause. Learn more about neurofibromatosis, the Children’s Tumor Foundation, and Cupid’s Undie Run here.
Fill some hungry bellies this Valentine’s Day by looking up your state’s food banks and soup kitchens at the Homeless Shelter Directory. You can choose to give money, donate food, or spend time volunteering. For more hands-on volunteer opportunities, check out No Kid Hungry, an organization that pushes to end child hunger in the United States. You can search for your state here and get connected to No Kid Hungry partnerships to offer your helping hands.
If you’re still searching for the perfect volunteer match but would rather talk or text, consider connecting with a crisis line in your area. Washington State’s Teen Link connects teens dealing with suicide, addiction, and crisis to trained volunteer phone operators. The phone line is national, but the volunteer opportunities are restricted to Seattle. To find other crisis lines in your specific area, go to Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get connected. If you can’t talk or simply prefer texting, consider checking out Crisis Text Line instead. It’s a free 24/7 text line that connects you to people in need.
If you’re still unsure of where to volunteer your time or even where to get started, check out Great Nonprofits’ list of top charities and volunteer organizations. This list is compiled by “people who experience their work first-hand – clients served, volunteers and donors,” so you know you’re picking the best of the best. Or, head over to Volunteer Match and find a plethora of organizations calling for Valentine’s Day volunteers.