Advertisement

Guide to Volunteer Opportunities in Buffalo & WNY

Family Friendly, For A Good Cause, Things to Do

logo-buf-600w

Written by Step Out Staff

Published on January 18, 2023
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Looking for some ways to give back to the WNY community? If you want to live up to being called “The City of Good Neighbors,” volunteering is a great way to get involved with our region’s non-profit organizations. From spending time at animal shelters, to helping with conservation efforts at a nearby park, to giving out meals with a local food pantry, there is no shortage in ways you can get involved. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of major organizations in WNY that can connect you with upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Did one of these places close? Send us a note!


ADVERTISEMENT


1. Goodwill of WNY

Website

Mission: “Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by helping them overcome barriers and reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Organize a donation drive
  • Help others build skills and re-enter the workforce
  • Volunteer at their retail stores

2. Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

Website

Mission: “Promote, preserve, restore, enhance and ensure maintenance of Olmsted Parks and Parkways in the greater Buffalo area to guarantee Olmsted park experiences for current and future generations.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Help with weekly clean ups
  • Media volunteering to document parks and events
  • Assist at community events

3. Friends of the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter

Website

Mission: “Raise funds and financially support the shelter, including: critical and preventive veterinary care, subsized adoption rates for senior and special needs animals, and training for shelter dogs in need.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Pet foster care
  • Host a pet food drive
  • Host a pet collar & leash collection
  • Become a dog walker or play with cats

ADVERTISEMENT


Photo courtesy of FeedMore WNY

4. FeedMore WNY

Website

Mission: “Offer dignity, hope and a brighter future by providing nutritious food, friendship and skills training to our Western New York neighbors in need.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Sorting and packing food donations
  • Meal delivery
  • Community and fundraising events
  • Adopt-A-Route
  • Angel Card Program
  • Community service
  • Advocate
  • Host a food or fund drive
  • Become a Member Agency

5. United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

Website

Mission: “We bring people, organizations and resources together to create systemic community change.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Complete a Service To Go project
  • Find an opportunity through Volunteer WNY
  • Join a giving community

6. Habitat for Humanity Buffalo

Website

Mission: “Seeking to put faith into action, we bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Help build and repair homes

ADVERTISEMENT


Photo courtesy of Buffalo City Mission

7. Buffalo City Mission

Website

Mission: “Alleviate homelessness by restoring people’s hope and dignity – and help them live a life of meaning and purpose again.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Host a collection drive
  • Volunteer at thrift stores, pantries, and shelters
  • Volunteer through Church opportunities
  • Volunteer for Holidays and special events

8. American Red Cross of WNY

Website

Mission: “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Blood collection support
  • Join a Disaster Action Team

9. The Salvation Army of Buffalo

Website

Mission: “Help others through more than a dozen programs, including Emergency Family Assistance, Supervised Visitation, Emergency Shelter, Employment Services, Conflict Resolution/Anger Management, Corps Community Centers, Emergency Disaster and Canteen Services.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Provide housing
  • Help disaster survivors
  • Host a food drive

ADVERTISEMENT


10. Hearts for the Homeless

Website

Mission: “Hearts for the Homeless® is a non-profit organization that clothes and feeds the chronic homeless, poor, and those in need. Characterized by a profound spiritual motivation to share the Word of God, the program offers nourishing food, as well as clothing, pertinent information regarding area services, companionship and hope for the future.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Host a bin donation
  • Host a food drive
  • Volunteer at the food pantry or thrift store
Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities of WNY

11. Catholic Charities of WNY

Website

Mission: “Catholic Charities of Buffalo is a Catholic sponsored human service agency serving anyone in need in the eight counties of Western New York. Believing all persons are created by God, we advocate for equity and justice for all people and empower individuals, children and families to achieve and maintain meaningful, healthy and productive lives.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Volunteer at the food pantry
  • Volunteer with the Immigration & Refugee Assistance Program

12. WEDI Buffalo

Website

Mission: “WEDI strengthens communities through a continuum of educational and financial resources, removing systemic barriers to economic equity for all Western New Yorkers.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Help with language literacy in education programs
  • Act as a business mentors for the emerging entrepreneurs served by WEDI

ADVERTISEMENT

 

 


13. SPCA Serving Erie County

Website

Mission: “Create a more humane community through education, rescuing, protection, and enhancing the lives of animals, and nurturing the bond between animals and people.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Animal Transport Volunteer for Wildlife and Investigations Departments
  • Cat Adoption Volunteer
  • Cat Colonies Assistant
  • Cat Overflow Assistant
  • Dog Behavior Volunteer
  • Event Volunteer
  • Foster Care Volunteer
  • Humane Education Department Docent
  • Laundry and Dishwashing Volunteer
  • Morning Dog Volunteer in the Animal Care Department
  • Offsite Adoptions Volunteer
  • Petique Volunteer
  • Surgical Suite Assistant
  • Wildlife Services Volunteer
Photo courtesy of Niagara SPCA

14. Niagara SPCA

Website

Mission: “To prevent cruelty to all animals through public education on their humane treatment and to provide love, care, shelter and advocacy for companion animals in our community. We are committed to a no-kill philosophy, embracing the practices of rehabilitating, fostering and rehoming companion animals in need and to preventing their overpopulation through community outreach.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Volunteer with walking and training of dogs when you become a Tailwagger
  • Interact and assist with the cats when you become a Purr Pal
  • Volunteer at community events

15. Make A Wish WNY

Website

Mission: “Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Host a fundraiser
  • Become a wish granter
  • Become a translator/interpreter
  • Become an office volunteer
  • Become a Speaker’s Bureau Volunteer
  • Become an Events Volunteer
  • Become a Skill-Based Volunteer

ADVERTISEMENT


16. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara and the Southern Tier

Website

Mission: “Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Become a Big Brother or Big Sister

17. WNY Heroes

Website

Mission: “The mission of WNYHeroes is to provide veterans, members of the armed services, and the widows and children of deceased veterans with access to essential services, financial assistance and resources that support their lives and sustain their dignity.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Volunteer your time with our troops when they return home
  • Sponsor a veteran family

18. International Institute of Buffalo

Website

Mission: “The mission of the International Institute of Buffalo is to make Western New York a better place for, and because of, immigrants and refugees.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Host a donation drive
  • Volunteer for English tutoring
  • Help with special events
  • Host international visitors
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Niagara Water Keeper

19. Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper

Website

Mission: “Our mission is four-fold: we PROTECT the water, we RESTORE both the waterways and the surrounding ecosystems, we CONNECT people to their waterways, and we INSPIRE both economic activity along the waterways and community engagement.”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Become a Water Reporter
  • Help with clean ups
  • Become a Riverwatch volunteer

20. Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Website

Mission: “If a child needs a bed, we want to make sure they get one. No kid sleeps on the floor in our town!®”

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Help build beds
  • Deliver beds

For further ways to get involved, we highly recommend checking out Volunteer WNY. With over 700 agencies to choose from, their site makes it easy to narrow your search by specific category of cause so you can find an organization that best fits your interests!

Did one of these places close? Send us a note!

We launched a new look!

Our new design features a better browsing experience, modern mobile navigation, more visual displays of key info, better filtering options on the search page, and much more.

We hope you love our new look! That said, we’re #ForeverTweaking and would greatly appreciate your feedback so we can make StepOutBuffalo.com *all* you want and need as your go-to resource for the best of Western New York!

Send feedback >

Written by <a href="https://stepoutbuffalo.com/author/step-out-staff/" target="_self">Step Out Staff</a>

Written by Step Out Staff

A group of Step Out Buffalo team members worked together to create this post from research and writing to editing and imagery. Thanks for reading!
Find More ➭ Guides

Registration

Forgotten Password?

X
You must be logged in to use this feature.