Living in Durham, NC has plenty of benefits. Not only the great restaurants, entertainment, and culture, but also for the opportunities available to help out those less fortunate. Volunteering in your community can make a direct impact on people who need a helping hand the most as well as the environment, and doing so can be really rewarding. If you are looking to get started with volunteering in the area, assess your skills and schedule, then consider the following positions.
Help the Homeless
The Durham Rescue Mission is the largest and oldest homeless shelter in the area. About 2,000 people live on the streets in the Triangle every night, so the Durham Rescue Mission provides desperately needed shelter and food as well as counseling and supportive services to help these individuals get back on their feet. Volunteers are crucial to the organization’s mission. Help is needed in serving meals by buying the food, cooking it in the shelter’s kitchen with the residents or preparing it at home, and bringing it to the facility; helping out in one of the organization’s thrift stores, whose proceeds benefit the shelter programs; assisting at a community event; tutoring residents who are pursuing their GED; conducting food drives; and helping at the shelter’s daycare center.
Help Foster Creativity
For a volunteer job like no other, consider putting in some time at The Scrap Exchange Creative Reuse Arts Center. This nonprofit organization combines creativity and a spirit of DIY with environmental awareness. It collects materials that might otherwise end up in landfills, like art supplies, fabric and notions paper, gift wrap, craft supplies, books and magazines, office supplies vintage items, kitchen supplies, and containers, and packing materials from residents and local businesses and offers it to the public in a retail setting on Chapel Hill Road. It’s a favorite of artists and those who like to do DIY projects. Volunteers are needed to greet customers when they enter the store and guide them to what they’re looking for, process and sort donations, help with administrative tasks, and more. The Scrap Exchange welcomes everyone to volunteer, including those with special needs, kids, teens, seniors, and groups.
The Ronald McDonald House of Durham offers the families of seriously ill children a place to stay while the children are undergoing medical treatments. The Durham branch has helped thousands of families since opening its doors in 1980, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of volunteers. There are a variety of ways you can help, such as greeting and assisting families and visitors, preparing meals or maybe even making your favorite baked good for families in the organization’s kitchen, doing repairs and maintenance like changing light bulbs and painting, and cleaning. If you have a skill you’d like to share, such as knitting or yoga, with these families who are living in Durham temporarily, you’re welcome to do so!
Some other ways to help include signing up for the Great Human Race fundraising walk or volunteering at another event. The Ronald McDonald House also welcomes corporate groups who want to do a community service project together, as well as teenagers and families.