4 Family Volunteer Opportunities to Support Families in Need 

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family volunteer opportunitiesThe thoughts presented in this volunteer article are the writer’s and do not represent views of the organizations they are employed in. Please note that with COVID-19, not all of these suggestions can be done right now, but you can bookmark this article for when circumstances change!

The UN recognizes the importance of families, so much as to have a day to promote awareness about the importance of families and to better understand the challenges facing families. As an urban explorer myself, this year’s focus caught my eye: urbanization and its impact on families.

Know the needs in your neighborhood

As our communities grow and expand both in population and space, it’s hard to know all your neighbors, especially those in need of support in cities and metropolitan areas, more generally.  Fortunately, we’re blessed to live in an area with a variety of organizations committed to supporting families in need. 

As we move into the year ahead, let’s encourage our little ones to support others in improving their chances too. While the list below isn’t comprehensive, each organization offers multiple paths in helping other families. Let’s encourage our future generation to play a role in supporting families across our region as the DMV continues to grow.

1. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC

family volunteer opportunitiesDuring my undergrad years, I volunteered at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House (the first one in our nation). I recently learned of a local one here and volunteered in the DC area located near the Franciscan Monastery and Children’s National Hospital (with volunteer opportunities too). Ronald McDonald Houses serve families who have traveled far from home for the medical care their child needs. They have lots of ways to volunteer, including virtual options for families. 

2. Children’s Inn at NIH

As a high school senior, I volunteered here weekly. It’s an important space for families seeking treatment at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Children, teens, and young adults with rare and serious diseases seek treatment at NIH through a diagnosis or treatment through NIH’s clinical research studies. The Children’s Inn offers residential services and a wide range of programs for those staying. There are lots of ways to volunteer (both short-term and long-term) and get involved (family meals and thoughtful treasures). 

3. Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB)

family volunteer opportunitiesIt’s hard for families experiencing hunger, but unfortunately this is the reality for many in the DC area. The CAFB is working hard to address hunger in every zip code of our region. This past year they have sourced and distributed food for over 45 million meals. There are lots of ways to volunteer here, from helping to pack goods to grocery delivery.

4. Food & Friends

This community-based organization provides home-delivered medically tailored meals and medical nutrition therapy to our neighbors in the DC region living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses. Last year alone through the support of volunteers, they were able to deliver over 25 million meals. Here there are many different ways to volunteer and support.

Let’s continue to find ways with our children to support families experiencing tough times in our communities. Have other ideas for volunteering? Tell us in the comments! 

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