Want your family to give back to the Kansas City community this Thanksgiving? Whether it’s your time, allowance money, gifts, or general companionship, you have lots to contribute during the holidays. From community service events to local soup kitchens and food pantries, here are the best places in Kansas City that need youth and family volunteers on Thanksgiving.
Community Service & Local Food Pantries
Youth Volunteer Corps
Engage in challenging yet rewarding community projects with schools and groups via the Youth Volunteer Corps. Nonprofit organizations in Kansas City reach out to YVC when special needs arise, and the holiday season is the most popular time of year for volunteering events. Youth, teens, and families are all invited to join.
Visit yvckc.org for updated events and other details.
Harvesters Community Food Network
Just a few hours spent volunteering at Harvesters CFN can make a huge difference. Your time, donations, and canned goods help feed local families, children, and seniors during Thanksgiving. The nonprofit is hosting several food drives throughout the holidays, and they’re always accepting youth volunteer assistants. Additionally, those who want to give back to the community can make handmade greeting cards, participate at a food pantry, help sort donated goods, and more.
Head to www.harvesters.org for more information about the organization and to view their event calendar.
United Way of Wyandotte County
At Wyandotte County’s United Way—as at every UW in America—there are numerous volunteering options for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the rest of the year. Volunteers can become area guides, host or assist with special events, and so much more. They even have a very, very detailed list of local places that need volunteers for the holidays.
Check the United Way Volunteer Center page.
City Union Mission
The City Union Mission church in Kansas City is hopeful that your family will assist this Thanksgiving. They’re in need of volunteers for dozens of positions and places around Jackson County; you can help with Provide-A-Meal, Mission Christmas, “I Had No Idea” Tour, and other individual or group programs. As always, donations are appreciated, too, as their goal is to raise $6.5 million through the holiday season.
Become a hero of the Kansas City community by checking out available volunteer needs at cityunionmission.org.
Ronald McDonald House Charities® Kansas City
Volunteering at Ronald McDonald House is perfect for youth activists and younger kids. The charity offers on-site volunteer opportunities for teenagers, as well as unique options for families who’d like to give Christmas gifts, donate money, or help patients in local hospitals.
View special fundraisers, programs, and local Kansas City volunteer events at rmhckc.org.
Get involved at a local level by supporting NourishKC as they seek to provide nutritious food to underserved communities in the Kansas City region. Just 20 volunteers per day are needed for NourishKC to make a difference, but the organization always embraces more help at their soup kitchen.
View the daily and Thanksgiving volunteering needs at the NourishKC site.
Animal Shelter Volunteering
Great Plains SPCA
Families and teenagers are welcome to volunteer at all Great Plains SPCA facilities near Kansas City. Junior Volunteers (under 15 years old) assist with caring for animals in the shelter, providing them with water, food, and an enrichening and clean environment. With the guidance of a parent, these Junior Volunteers can learn to handle sheltered and homeless animals safely and securely.
For teenagers who are older than 16 years of age, all volunteering opportunities are available.
Additionally, you can give to the Kansas City animal shelter on Thanksgiving by buying products off their wishlist, giving money to their Poppy Medical Memorial Fund, making a tax-deductible donation, or help fund a pet memorial for a stranger.
View more holiday volunteer options at www.greatplainsspca.org.
Kansas City’s largest no-kill animal shelter is always in need of youth volunteers—on Thanksgiving and all year long. The not-for-profit organization accepts mature teenage volunteers who are at least 16 years of age (or 13 years of age with a parent) and have the capacity to donate their time for at least 3 months per year. Youth volunteering jobs include dog and cat socializers, animal caregivers, and humane education instructors.
In addition to doing community service or volunteering at the Wayside Waifs facility, you can also foster animals, collect wishlist items, host a blanket and towel drive, and create a Kids-in-Action group.
Visit their website for additional Thanksgiving volunteering information.
KC Pet Project
With the assistance of caring volunteers, KC Pet Project saves more than 10,000 pets from being euthanized each year. If you have free time on Thanksgiving or during the holiday season, the Kansas City animal shelter would absolutely love to have you join their volunteering team. The staff at KCPP could always use assistance promoting animal welfare, educating the public, and cuddling the animals in their shelter.
If your family or teen can’t volunteer time this holiday, you’re more than welcome to donate money or make and hand in microwaveable heating bags, fleece blankets, cat toys, and dog toys.
Head to their site for even more ways you can give back to the KCPP.
For 365 days each year, Prairie Paws accepts youth volunteers at their Ottawa animal shelter. Numerous volunteer opportunities are available for teenagers and even younger children. Become a birthday part volunteer, work at the Critter Camp, join the Prairie Paws Kidz Club, train to be a dog groomer, or simply be an animal companion.
Check the Prairie Paws website for more volunteer options.
Kansas City Zoo
Teenagers can also join the KC Zoo’s VolunTEEN program. A year-long educational program designed specifically for teens, VolunTEEN allows and empowers participants to become Junior Keepers, animal counselors, public educators, and more.
If your teen would like to sign up for VolunTEEN, know that applications must be submitted in the spring, as the program fills up fast. So, think ahead of time if you expect to volunteer at the zoo on Thanksgiving! Otherwise, consider contributing via a monetary donation to fund tree-planting efforts.
Click here for more details about the Kansas City Zoo’s volunteer opportunities.
McCarthy-Morse Chevrolet Community Service
At McCarthy-Morse Chevy, we strongly believe supporting our local Kansas City communities is far more important than selling cars. Over the many years, our Overland Park car dealership, in cooperation with McCarthy Auto Group, has contributed to dozens of local organizations and nonprofits. We’ve supported and funded cancer research, Whiteman Air Force Base, hospice care providers, local hospitals, sports tournaments and facilities, high school scholarships, and many more charities and programs. Read more about our involvement in the Kansas City community, and then do your part to give back this holiday season.
Have a great Thanksgiving!