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Where To Volunteer This Holiday Season in WNY

Buffalo Culture, City Guide, Feel Good News, Things to Do


Written by Nora Hassan

Published on December 6, 2021
Donation Bin / Photo courtesy of the Salvation Army

No matter whats going on with the world, the tradition of giving during this time of year is not lost. One benefit of all that we have been through this crazy past couple years is that it makes us extra grateful for what we have and we use that as motivation to help others in need. The ongoing situation also creates a great need in the community, so we’ve rounded up a few excellent options for volunteering this year.

Keep in mind too that if volunteering if not an option for you this year, these organizations and others across WNY can always benefit from donations and those helping raise awareness of their causes. You can also always check with your local town or city to find out where there is a need in your specific community.


Donated Thanksgiving Turkeys / Photo Courtesy of FeedMore WNY

1. FeedMore WNY

Website / Facebook

FeedMore WNY is the area’s food bank that provides food assistance to individuals and families across the area (previously known as the Food Bank of WNY and Meals on Wheels program). Not only do they provide food and meals but also nutrition assistance to allow people access to education about nutrition to adults and youth. They make an incredible impact on our community and are an excellent resource for those in need of food assistance. They have plenty of volunteer opportunities all year long.

Find a list of volunteer opportunities here!

Toy Drive / Photo Courtesy of Totally Buffalo Hope For The Holidays

2. Make A Case For Kids


This holiday charity aims to help families and children struggling this time of year. Their mission is to bring hope and help to those in need – particularly around all holidays throughout the year, and they offer gifts, food, and supplies who need it.

Around the holidays they run Make A Case For Kids where volunteers can stuff a pillow case for a kid in need with toys, pajamas, books, games and more for sick children at Oishei Children’s Hospital as well as those in need throughout our community. You can donate items, donate money, or donate your time.

3. The Salvation Army of Buffalo


The Salvation Army of Buffalo does work across the region all year long. Assistance includes housing, clothing, nutritional, social, and spiritual assistance through several programs and services. They have a variety of holiday giving opportunities including Toy Shoppe drives and their Angel Tree gifting where you can pick a child to give a gift to this season!


4. Buffalo City Mission

Website / Facebook

The Buffalo City Mission is essential to the community serving the homeless and underprivileged WNY citizens. They provide assistance with meals, shelter, education, and spiritual guidance. Whether you are volunteering or donating you can find all the information on their website. They have several volunteer opportunities that you can apply for as well.

Donated Meals / Photo Courtesy Of Friends Of The Night People

5. Friends Of The Night People

Website / Facebook

This organization deals with food insecurity and helping provide meals as well as help with managing the impact of poverty. Volunteers are mostly needed to help distribute meals. Find more information on what they need on their website under volunteer opportunities.

6. Journey’s End Refugee Services

Website / Facebook

This organization aims to provide services and educational opportunities to refugee families and children. From employment to English language classes they support the large refugee community in WNY. Check out the volunteer and donate section on their website to be able to help support families in need.

Donation Box / Photo courtesy of Hearts for the Homeless

7. Hearts For The Homeless

Website / Facebook

This organization provides clothing and food to those in need in the community. This includes their donation bins across the region which can be located right on their website. They also provide a food pantry and mobile soup kitchen to service those in need. Whether it is in their thrift store, food pantry kitchen, or mobile kitchen there are several opportunities here.

8. Catholic Charities of WNY


This charity provides a number of services to the WNY community from mental health services to warm meal delivery. They typically have a Christmas toy distribution as well. You can find all of their volunteer information on their website and get the most up to date information from the contact listed under those opportunities.


9. Your Local Toy Drive

Toy drives are the most popular holiday tradition, and most are still happening virtually and drive-up. Your best bet is to check your local parks and recreation or general town/city website to find one going on near you. If there isn’t one in your area you can always circle back to the Salvation Army and their Angel Tree or Toy Shoppe events.

10. Volunteer WNY


This is a website run and supported by the United Way of WNY which aims to be a hub for all volunteer opportunities available in the area. It is a great resource for finding opportunities and where there is a strong need. You are able to search and apply right on the website which is updated often. They also have information on agencies as well.

This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.

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Written by <a href="https://stepoutbuffalo.com/author/norah/" target="_self">Nora Hassan</a>

Written by Nora Hassan

Nora is studying Marketing and Fashion Business at Canisius College and FIT. She's really into local art and murals and always love to try new things!
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