Volunteering as a family is an excellent way to spend time together, benefit the community and teach your children about the importance of giving to others and lending a hand. When the spirit of helping and giving moves your family this spring, check with any of these local non-profits for more information about getting involved.
19 Places Where Families can Volunteer in Des Moines
Much of the work necessary to keep this special needs, no kill Shelter operating and their animals well cared for is done by dedicated volunteers. Volunteers must be 16 years of age with guardian permission. Children 14-15 years-old may volunteer with a guardian present. Many children under the age of 14 who are interested in volunteering start by baking dog biscuits for them.
Location: 4521 SE 14th Street, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 285-7387
Furry Friends seeks to assist all area animals in need through a variety of programs including adoptions, spay and neuter, community outreach, and humane education in West Des Moines, Urbandale, Clive, and Windsor Heights. They have several volunteer opportunities available, including a Junior Volunteer spot for kids under 12.
Location: Shelters located in Des Moines and West Des Moines
Phone: (515) 222-0009 DSM or (515) 697-0009 WDM
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden can only grow with volunteers! Dig in the dirt or provide support for an event – opportunities exist for many interests and experience levels. Volunteer positions currently available to kids and teens include: pot washers, Green Thumbs Volunteers, Summer Camp Assistant and Summer Discovery Tour Leader.
Location: 909 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 323.6290
The Des Moines Children’s Museum is a 501 (c)(3) 100% volunteer run organization with the long term goal of opening a permanent location. They provide hands-on exhibitions and programs to encourage a love of learning, and be a positive resource for parents, children, and the surrounding community. Volunteers will assist with the day-to-day operation of the museum. Tasks will include things like welcoming visitors, sanitizing toys, and keeping exhibits tidy.
Location: Valley West Mall 1551 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines
Being in poverty is a full-time job. Bidwell Riverside is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to assist families to relieve the strain and allow them more time to do other important things. The organization is always looking for individuals and groups to volunteer. Bidwell has many ongoing needs, as well as special projects, throughout the year. Volunteers of all ages and abilities can be accommodated.
Location: 1203 Hartford Avenue, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 244-6251
The Johnston Partnership is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization that has been serving the community almost 20 years and is led by an all-volunteer board. Volunteers are needed to help serve clients in their food pantry and clothing closet. Volunteers must be at least 16 to volunteer without a parent.
Location: 5870 Merle Hay Road, Suite D, Johnston
Phone: (515) 868-1357
Food Delivery and Pantries
The Urban Bicycle Food Ministry goes out on to the streets of Des Moines to provide radical hospitality! They ride their bikes into the downtown Des Moines area to provide burritos, peanut butter sandwiches, water, fruit, cookies and bug spray while building a relationship with those who are in need. Kids under the age of 18 can volunteer but will need to ride/volunteer with a parent or other responsible adult.
Location: Capital Hill Lutheran Church, 511 Des Moines Street, Des Moines
The Des Moines Area Religious Council is an interfaith organization. The DMARC Food Pantry Network is health-based and is the largest food pantry network in Iowa. Food pantry sites are located in Des Moines, Ankeny, Clive, Johnston, Urbandale and West Des Moines. There are numerous volunteer opportunities available including, but not limited to their Red Barrel Program, Food Pantry Network Warehouse and Sack Saturdays.
Location: 1435 Mulberry Street, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 277-6969
What started as a little plot of land with a few plants has turned into a food pantry garden. Volunteers sow, plant, fertilize, weed and harvest a garden each year that has produced as much as 16,000 lbs of food for local food pantries. They are in need of volunteers to help tend to the community garden.
Location: St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 1020 24th Street, West Des Moines
Phone: (515) 223-1782
Catholic Charities Emergency Family Shelter keeps homeless families together during a very difficult time in their lives. Volunteers are needed to help organize donations, clean the shelter and garage, and help with yard work.
Location: 601 Grand Avenue, 2nd Floor, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 244-3761
Central Iowa Shelter Services (CISS) provides free shelter and meals to homeless adults regardless of physical or emotional conditions. Volunteers are needed in many different ways including the food pantry, clothing closet, food prep and meals, food rescue, and garden help.
Location: 1420 Mulberry St, Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 284-5719
Unity Point Health-Iowa Lutheran Hospital-Volunteen Program gives high school students an opportunity to volunteer in a hospital. Volunteen duties might include making health folders, talking with patients, making floral arrangements and delivering flowers, magazines, and beverages to patients.
Location: 700 E University Ave, Des Moines, IA 50316
Central Iowa HCS depends on the goodwill of their volunteers who wish to give something back to America’s heroes. Volunteers provide many important functions throughout the Medical Center and help make patients’ stay more enjoyable. Volunteers can perform a number of services, and a volunteer’s talents are closely matched with one of their many assignments.
Location: 3600 30th Street, Des Moines, IA 50310
Phone: (515) 699-5850
Kids & Special Needs
Volunteers are needed to serve as Courage League Sports “Team Mates” to children and adults not able to go “full speed” due to disability, illness, or emotional challenges. Team Mate volunteers offer minimal to moderate assistance with sports leagues, fitness classes, and special events. The population served consists of toddlers age 2-6, school-aged youth age 7-18 and adults with special needs. Volunteers will be helping participants developing new skills, meet new friends, build self-confidence, and have fun!
Location: 4405 121st St, Urbandale, IA 50323
Phone: (515) 421-4021
Link Associates provides services for more than 900 individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. They need volunteers to assist with the implementation of a wide variety of leisure programs for people with disabilities. Volunteers are needed for their Special Olympic sports, Community Art Connection, Club Travel, and Spinners programs.
Location: 1452 29th Street, Des Moines
Phone: (515) 262-8888
Park Activities & Clean Up
The Polk County Conservation Board’s mission is to provide the citizens of Polk County with quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and long-term protection of Polk County’s natural heritage. Volunteering with PCC is also a great way to lend a helping hand while enjoying the great outdoors. All community members (youth and adult) are invited to participate in a variety of activities and projects throughout the year.
Location: Administrative Office, 11407 NW Jester Park Drive, Granger
Iowa’s state parks need and welcome volunteers. There are several ways your time and talents can be put to use in our parks. Individual parks may have stewardship days, special events or other needs for volunteers. Contact your local state park or visit DNR Events calendar for more information. Finally, be sure to check the DNR volunteer page for opportunities at parks and other DNR areas.
Senior Citizen Centers
HCR ManorCare is looking for volunteers at their facility in West Des Moines. Volunteers will assist with fun activities such as: bingo, arts and crafts, cards, board games, trivia, Wii games, name that tune, and more! They also have a piano where volunteers may play songs for their residents.
Location: 5010 Grand Ridge Drive, West Des Moines
Phone: (515) 222-5991
The residents at the Wesley Acres retirement home love to listen to live music of all kinds: singing, instrumentals, solos, quartets, old songs, new songs… everything! Stopping by to share your musical talents will brighten their day (and probably yours, too).
Location: 3520 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312
In what ways does your family get involved, helping your community?