The holidays are behind us, and gone are the Red Kettles and coat drives. But worthy causes in the area need volunteers year-round. There are numerous volunteer opportunities in the Fort Worth area. Sign up your family for a year-round opportunity to help fellow Fort Worthians who are hungry, vulnerable, sick or homebound. Begin here and find a local cause that tugs on your family’s heartstrings.
Help Hungry Families
Rise and shine to pulling weeds, raking beds and harvesting the fruits of your labor at Tarrant Area Food Bank's Learning Garden in Fort Worth. Every Tuesday morning (and second and fourth Saturdays), volunteers age 8 and older learn the different ways to grow food and build raised beds and watering systems. They also help feed hungry families by donating crops to WestAid Food
Pantry down the road, and little stewards tend the Kindred Spirits Kitchen Garden, growing food for the Community Kitchen and Cooking Matters cooking program for low-income families. Sign up online or email volunteer coordinator Kayla Davis at email@example.com.
Dig into the spirit of service every third Saturday at 6 Stones' urban farm pilot project. Their goal is to donate
half of the sustainable garden’s produce to New Hope Center food pantry, which provides food and clothes to families in need in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford area. During these garden workdays, you and the kids can help plant, weed and harvest, as well as learn sustainable practices from master gardeners. Additionally, the New Hope Center is always in need of volunteers to stock, organize and tidy the free clothing closet. Sign up online for monthly Family Serve Days in the garden or warehouse.
Tarrant Area Food Bank, 2600 Cullen St., Fort Worth, 817/857-7101; tafb.org // 6 Stones, 209 N. Industrial Blvd., Suite 241, Bedford, 817/868-7400; 6stones.org
Help Rescued Animals
Animal Hope Adoptions gives animals that are sick or have behavioral issues a second chance. Before finding
these pets a forever home, Animal Hope volunteers help
them recuperate from medical treatment and offer therapy they couldn’t get in a regular shelter. As volunteers, you and your animal-loving kiddos can attend two-hour weekday shifts to clean rooms and cat condos, do laundry, wash and refill food and water dishes, scoop the yard, walk the animals and (the best part) cuddle with
a free-roaming feline in the cat room. Walk in to submit a volunteer application and sign a release waiver.
Animal Hope Adoptions, 6708 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth,
Help the Environment
For now, only teens can help beautify the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on a regular basis, but your younger kids can lend a green thumb on free Family Exploration
Saturdays starting in March. The brand-new program, a collaboration with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (aka BRIT), welcomes families with budding environmental stewards of all ages to help plant seeds, compost, tend the pollinator garden, restore the vegetable plot and learn sustainable gardening practices from master gardeners. Stop by early afternoon on select Saturdays to pitch in; don’t forget a water bottle. Visit the botanic garden’s website for more information.
Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth, 817/392-5510; fwbg.org
Through World Relief Fort Worth, your family can help refugee families from Africa, Iran, Iraq, Burma and other countries assimilate to life in Tarrant County. Sign
your bunch up to be a Family Friend and fellowship with refugees for at least one hour a week for three months. Or go on a yard sale scavenger hunt for furniture, decor and small household appliances that will furnish a new apartment for one of these peace-seeking families. To sign up, first fill out a volunteer application online.
World Relief Fort Worth, 4059 Bryan Ave., Fort Worth, 817/924-0748; worldrelieffortworth.org
Help Senior Citizens
Kids show respect for their elders when they adopt a lawn through the volunteer programs of Mid-Cities Care Corps in Hurst. Children old enough to handle yard equipment (with a parent’s supervision) spend at least three hours a month mowing, weeding, raking and edging.
Other service opportunities include driving clients to and from medical appointments on weekdays and to the grocery store, bank, pharmacy and even hair appointments on Saturdays. Or sign up to be a Visiting
Friend, and you and the kids will meet with a senior once or twice a month for 1–2 hours to play games, read books, talk or go on a walk. Fill out a volunteer application online.
Mid-Cities Care Corps, 745 W. Pipeline Road, Hurst, 817/282-0531; midcitiescarecorps.org
Help Kids in the Hospital
There are a few ways to brighten a child’s day at Cook Children's hospitals in Tarrant County. One is to have kids make sympathy cards for patients. Instead of generic
messages like “Get well soon,” encourage kids to find other ways to express sympathy like drawing happy, uplifting pictures or writing knock-knock jokes. You can also drop off Lego sets, Uno decks, plastic animals, travel-size toiletries, light-up toys, Play-Doh and other much-needed items to the volunteer services department (find the wish list online). And when your child’s birthday nears, she can participate in the Peter Pan Birthday Club by asking for new games, dolls, books and even Mr. Potato Head toys for the patients instead of presents for herself. Drop the goods off at the information desk Monday–Friday 8am–8pm or Saturday and Sunday 10am–4pm.
Cook Children’s, 801 Seventh Ave., Fort Worth, 682/885-4590; cookchildrens.org
Help Vulnerable Families
Each year, Safehaven provides emergency shelter to nearly a thousand women and children fleeing domestic violence. Local families have an opportunity to meet their needs by donating pillows and pillowcases, bath towels,
cough drops and pajama pants for adults and medicine
syringes, diapers and bottles for infants. Contact Cristie King to sign up and for drop-off locations firstname.lastname@example.org.
SafeHaven, 1100 Hemphill St., Suite 303, Fort Worth, 817/502-7154; safehaventc.org