Category: Volunteer Programs

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and make new friends. During this holiday season, local marketing agency Moonraker Marketing (moonrakermarketing.com) would like to remind you that many Austin-area non-profits need volunteers just like you to stay running. With their help, we’ve come up with a list of ten ways you can get involved with volunteering in Austin.

1. Assistance League of Austin

This completely volunteer-run organization has no paid staff and relies on its 418 volunteers to serve the Austin community. ALA takes donations of gently used clothing and household items, which it resells in its well-stocked thrift shop. With the proceeds it raises at the thrift shop, the Assistance League distributes toys to children in hospitals, visits with senior citizens, helps foster children, and distributes clothing to low-income school age children.

2. Austin Public Library

Are you a bibliophile? If so, then Austin Public Library could use your help re-shelving books, leading community programs, and working special events. You can also work in the historical archives or tutor local school children at a library branch close to your house.

Volunteering with the Austin Public Library is perfect if you're a bookworm.

Volunteering with the Austin Public Library is perfect if you’re a bookworm.

3. Austin Parks and Recreation

Channel your inner Leslie Knope and help keep Austin beautiful. Volunteers with the parks department plant trees, maintain trails, and pick up trash in city parks. If you want to head indoors, the park system needs help in its science and cultural centers, too.

4. Airport Greeters

If you love Austin and want to share your appreciation of the city, consider volunteering at the airport. You can greet new arrivals, offer directions, and give advice on local sites for visitors to see. Plus, you get free airport parking!

5. CASA of Travis County

Abused and neglected children need an adult they can trust to advocate for them in the court system. As a CASA volunteer, you’ll meet regularly with an assigned child victim and get to know the child and their social support system. You will also accompany the child to court sessions and speak to the judge and prosecutor about the child’s needs.

CASA of Travis County advocates on behalf of children in the foster system.

CASA of Travis County advocates on behalf of children in the foster system.

6. Caritas

This homeless shelter has served Austin for over 50 years, helping people in poverty realize their true potential and transform their lives. Volunteers are needed to serve in the soup kitchen, food pantry, and office areas. With training, you can work directly with clients to help them build life skills.

7. Thinkery Children’s Museum

Adults or teens can help out at Austin’s science-focused children’s museum. You can run ongoing workshops or give one-time presentations, help curate exhibits or bring your business for a day of service.

8. Drive a Senior

If you want an easy way to make a difference in the lives of someone from Austin, consider volunteering with Drive a Senior. That’s how all of us got our start with volunteering in Austin! This wonderful organization helps elder residents by providing reliable transportation to medical appointments, social engagements, and the grocery store while providing friendship and a smile. You can also make calls to homebound seniors.

9. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Learn how to respond to public disasters in the Austin area. This city-run training will teach you everything you need to know to help your community if disaster strikes.

Give a pup some extra love when you volunteer with the Austin Animal Shelter.

Give a pup some extra love when you volunteer with the Austin Animal Shelter.

10. Austin Animal Shelter

The city’s no-kill pound always needs volunteers to give exercise, love and attention to its dogs and cats. You can volunteer once a week or sporadically.

Read More

Texas has a rapidly growing senior population. According to the US Census, by 2030 more than 20% of Texans will be over 60. As the population ages, it’s important to have a support system in place to ensure that loved ones can continue to have the quality of life they’ve always enjoyed. Most seniors believe that staying in their own homes is a crucial aspect of this, and Central Texas’ Meals on Wheels program is an important link in the chain to keep the elderly living independently.

The Origins of Meals on Wheels

The concept of Meals on Wheels started in the UK during World War II, when volunteers began delivering meals to people displaced by the blitz. The US version originated in Pennsylvania in 1954 as a program to give meals to seniors and “shut-ins” who would otherwise go hungry. Other states followed, and in 1974 the national Meals on Wheels organization was created, coordinating donors, volunteers, and local resources into the organization we know today.

Meals on Wheels provides homebound seniors with weekly meals and groceries, so that they can maintain an independent lifestyle.

Meals on Wheels provides homebound seniors with weekly meals and groceries, so that they can maintain an independent lifestyle.

Meals on Wheels in Austin

Meals on Wheels does more than just deliver food, it provides key supports to our aging population. It allows seniors more agency as their mobility decreases, removing the burden of cooking and shopping for those that are wheelchair or walker-bound. But more importantly, Meals on Wheels provides a way for seniors to stay connected, providing a friendly face, conversation, and the knowledge that someone is looking out for them.

Additional Services Offered

Meals on Wheels of Central Texas expands on the core mission of the national organization in several ways. They have a variety of meal programs to fit clients’ needs including grocery delivery and shopping help, and they also deliver frozen meals to areas outside of their regular driving range. They manage several senior centers that provide food, games, and exercise, as well as providing respite care for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s. There’s also a service for veterans that provides meals and case management.

Their services expand beyond nutrition in several ways that recognize and answer challenges facing people who choose to stay in their homes. For example, the HAND program provides in-home caregivers who can help with a variety of tasks like dressing or toileting. PALS will deliver pet food and care products as well as arrange grooming and veterinary care for clients’ furry friends.

Meals on Wheels of Central Texas offers more than just meals. They have several programs to assist the elderly with in-home care, maintenance, and other needs.

Meals on Wheels of Central Texas offers more than just meals. They have several programs to assist the elderly with in-home care, maintenance, and other needs.

For those people needing to add safety features or have a minor house repair, there’s Handy Wheels, which will provide minor house repairs or improvements. They also have a separate home repair service that will remove barriers to having a safe and healthy home, like adding central air. There’s also several pilot programs that provide help with depression, safety and assisting with technology.

What makes Meals on Wheels able to offer crucial supports like these is volunteers, who literally keep the wheels turning. It’s a great way to support your community, helping seniors stay safe and more self-sufficient. Interested in delivering meals, assisting with shopping, or pet care? Check out these volunteer opportunities in the Austin area and find one that fits your schedule. If you don’t have time to serve, donations are also always welcome.

 

Read More