Volunteer and Community Service Opportunities in Des Moines

Volunteer and Community Service Opportunities in Des Moines

Looking for a way to give back to the community and help others? We’ve compiled a list of volunteer and community service opportunities for Des Moines families, teens and older youth. Some have opportunities specifically tied to a holiday while others are year-round opportunities. For those with young children, volunteering as a family is a fun and easy way to start. Older children can often volunteer on their own. Find one that fits your family’s interests and availability!

Animal Lovers

Animal Rescue League of Iowa

5452 NE 22nd Street
Des Moines, IA 50313
(515) 262-9503

  • Be able to commit to at least 12 hours of volunteering. In-shelter opportunities require at least two hours of volunteerism a month.
  • Ages 10+ (A volunteer younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian volunteer who is at least 18 years of age at all times. The adult volunteer also needs to have completed orientation and any subsequent training with their minor partner.)
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find a volunteer application form online.

Jester Park Equestrian Center

11171 NW 103 Court
Granger, IA 50109
(515) 999-2818

  • Kids over 14 (with parental consent) can help out with cleaning stalls, assist with special events and camps.
  • Volunteers are required to attend a training session.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find a volunteer application form online.

Blank Park Zoo

7401 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50315
(515) 285-4722

  • Kids between the ages of 13 and 17 can participate in Zoo Crew and will have the opportunity to share artifacts with zoo visitors, help keep the zoo looking beautiful, assist Summer Safari Interns with preschool camps and assist keepers in several areas of the zoo.
  • Animal contact is extremely limited.
  • Applications are posted on the zoo’s website in January.
  • Find more information about the zoo crew here.


Blank Children’s Hospital

1200 Pleasant Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 241-5437

  • Kids can participate in volunteer groups that help provide an assortment of items for patients.
  • Group project ideas include: Craft Bags for Kids, Decorated Holiday and Birthday Bags, Purchasing Items from their Wish List and Book Drives.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find a Group Project Form here.

Mercy Medical Center

1111 6th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50314
(515) 247-3121

  • Volunteer applicants must be at least 16 years of age. Additional age restrictions may be required in certain areas of the hospital. Volunteers are asked to commit to a weekly shift (3- 4 hours) for a minimum of six months.
  • Families and kids can also help with Mercy’s Wish List.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find a volunteer application form on-line.

Ronald McDonald House

1441 Pleasant Street
Des Moines, IA 50314
(515) 243-2111

  • Families can help out with a number of volunteer opportunities.
  • General Help ideas include: baking cookies or other treats, cleaning, holiday decorations, landscaping, pop tabs, special events and their wish list.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find additional information for volunteers

Holiday Assistance

Hope Ministries

PO Box 862
Des Moines, IA 50304
(515) 265-7272

  • Serve a free hot meal at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas time.
  • Spend time on holidays serving and delivering meals, decorating, visiting with recipients and more.
  • They begin accepting holiday volunteers in October.
  • Find additional information for volunteers

West Des Moines Human Services

139 6th Street
West Des Moines, IA 50265
  • Holiday Giving Opportunities include Adopt A Family, New Toys and Gift Cards for Kids, Grocery Gift Cards and Monetary Donations.
  • Students age 14 and older are welcome to volunteer in their clothing closet and food pantry.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find a volunteer application form on-line.

Waukee Area Christian Services

Westview Church
1155 SE Boone Drive
Waukee, IA 50263
(515) 987-5523

  • They have several “Holiday Helper” volunteer opportunities available for families and other groups.
  • Most tasks include sorting and packing holiday food donations.
  • Holiday volunteer opportunities run mid-November through mid-December.
  • Find a volunteer application form on-line.


Altoona Kids Café

211 Dooley Court SW
Altoona, IA 50009
(515) 991-1463

  • Altoona Kids Cafe is a Summer Food Service Program that provides summer lunches to students who reside within the Southeast Polk School District.
  • The organization also provides backpacks and school supplies to students in need and asks for donations to fill them.
  • Volunteers are needed in the summer months and they typically host a volunteer meeting in May.
  • To inquire about volunteering email altoonakidscafe@gmail.com.

Food Bank of Central Iowa

2220 E 17th Street
Des Moines, IA 50316
(515) 564-0330

  • Families can help out in a number of ways. Sorting and packing food donations, helping out with and attending special events and more.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find a volunteer application form on-line.

Veteran Support

Cover My 6 Foundation

  • Cover My 6 Foundation is a non-profit organization benefiting Iowa service men and women.
  • They are hosting a softball tournament at Walker Johnston Park in Urbandale
    Fri Sep 16, 2016 04:00 PM – Sun Sep 18, 2016 03:00 PM
  • To volunteer to help at the softball tournament email brandibraune23@gmail.com or sign up on Volunteer Match.

Puppy Jake Foundation

3101 104th Street #2
Urbandale, IA 50322
(515) 419-1858

  • Puppy Jake Foundation selects, trains and places service dogs with brave wounded warriors.
  • Volunteer opportunities include: Foster Family, Puppy Sitter, Community Relations, Trainers, Fill in handler, special events and more. They also have a Wish List.
  • Volunteers are required to attend a training orientation.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find a volunteer application form online.

Youth Programs

Best Buddies of Iowa

7648 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50324
(515) 282-6218

  • Best Buddies Iowa offers One-to-One Friendship and Leadership Development programs to individuals with and without disabilities in Iowa.
  • Volunteers can submit a Membership Application if there is a local chapter.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find Iowa Colleges, High Schools and Middle Schools that participate in Best Buddies here.

Community Youth Concepts

1446 Martin Luther King Jr Parkway
Des Moines, IA 50313
(515) 243-4292

  • CYC connects Des Moines youth with volunteer opportunities.
  • Programs are offered to elementary, middle-school and high school students.
  • Year-round opportunities.
  • Find additional information for volunteers here.

Urbandale Community Action Network (UCAN)

P.O. Box 7615
4103 72nd Street
Urbandale, IA 50323
(515) 278-3936

  • UCAN has a number of volunteer opportunities available and they can earn points by participating in their UCAN 100 Club.
  • Families can help with fall and spring clean-up of elderly Urbandale residents’ homes, mentor and fix meals for kids, assist at events and more.
  • Year-round opportunities.



We want to know! How do you give back to your community as a family? 


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