Thursday, October 5

Where Can I Volunteer in Jacksonville?

I saw a social media post by a new neighbor looking to volunteer somewhere, and since my wife has asked similar questions, I thought I'd compile a few of the ideas in an article, mostly based on neighbor ideas and a few of my own experiences. 

Several neighbors mentioned BEAM, but no one provided a lot of details beyond helping those less fortunate. If that's your jam, then I guess look up BEAM.

Humane Society
Some people volunteered here, but some said it was dirty. Jacksonville's humane society is basically a Pit-Bull rescue that's constantly over capacity and offering free pits to everyone, so please don't volunteer here. 

Animal Rescue
If you want to help non-pit-bull animals, then you can volunteer with specific breed rescues. I guess look them up based on your preferred breed. 

Timucuan Parks Foundation
I guess you pick up garbage and plant some stuff. Actually, building those raised trails and clearing ADA paths is probably important volunteer work that would be pretty blistering all summer long. We have a lot of parks and very low taxes, so we probably need volunteers.  

Mission House
People who need help with food and (I believe) temporary housing. It's at the Beaches, so it's a more discerning homeless population. I guess the bonus here is a beach day after you serve.

Pinecastle, Inc.
Looks like this organization helps people with disabilities in group homes and a day program. PossAbilities Plus seems to also offer vocational training for those with disabilities, or as they describe it, "special needs and exceptional abilities."

If this is your kind of thing, please do it. Haven and Community Hospice were mentioned.

We Care Jax and Mayo Clinic were also mentioned, as well as Hubbard House. However, those folks didn't say what those places offer for volunteers.

At Your Church
Most churches look to share or create opportunities to serve. I'm sure some are much better at this than others, and you also (sadly) have politics play a role. My church doesn't do a whole lot outside of its own walls or for the wider community, but even cleaning the church or helping a fellow church member with yard work is volunteering. I work the Bread Ministry at my church, which entails someone getting day-old bread from a store and someone else taking it to the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center. It's not terribly interactive or even totally healthy (lots of sweets), but it's filling a need from a waste product.

Lutheran Social Services
Like Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services offers a number of social services and volunteer opportunities. I signed up and was asked to drive refugee families to medical appointments, but you can teach skills, set up apartments, distribute food, and probably lots of other stuff. And I don't think it's all about refugees, so you can check out LSS or Catholic Services online. 

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