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Best Volunteer Opportunities For Kids In Detroit

Volunteering not only teaches kids about the needs of others, it also instills in them a sense of responsibility and purpose. These local volunteer opportunities give kids a chance to make a difference in their own community.

Cass Tech Volunteers
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Cass Community Social Services
11850 Woodrow Wilson St.
Detroit, MI  48206
(313) 883-2277

Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Minimum Age to Volunteer: school age, younger children must be accompanied by parent
Click here to fill out a volunteer application

From its beginning as a church for the well-to-do residents of the Cass farm area in the 1880s, Cass Community Social Services has grown to be a significant factor in the fight against poverty and homelessness in Detroit. CCSS programs include meals for the homebound, homeless and hospitalized; emergency services and shelter for the homeless; medical care and a weekly free health clinic; mental health services for adults with disabilities; job training and employment; and youth mentoring, musical and recreational activities. Kids may volunteer packaging meals,making sandwiches, cleaning or painting. Students may volunteer individually or in groups of two or more, for an hour, a day or a weekend.

Capuchin Soup Kitchen
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Capuchin Soup Kitchen
4390 Conner
Detroit, MI  48215
(313) 822-8606

Hours: Mon to Fri – 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Minimum Age to Volunteer: 13 years
Click here for other volunteer opportunities

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen has been serving meals to working families and seniors since 1998, as part of Michigan's welfare-to-work initiative. Meal service volunteers prepare food in the kitchens or serve guests during mealtimes. Capuchin's other programs also welcome volunteers whose duties include weeding, harvesting or planting in the Earthworks Urban Farm, preparing food packages, or sorting and hanging clothing for the Service Center, or assisting with annual events.

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
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D-Town Farm
Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

Rouge Park
Orangelawn and Outer Drive
Detroit, MI  48207
(313) 345-3663

Hours: Mon and Fri – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tues to Thurs – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Minimum Age to Volunteer: none, but young children must be accompanied by parent

D-Town Farm occupies more than two acres in Detroit's Rouge Park and includes an urban garden, beehives, compost projects, greenhouses and rolling hoop houses for nearly year-round growing opportunities. In November 2011, the Detroit City Council approved a 5.2-acre expansion for the farm. Foods grown at the farm are sold in local shops and restaurants, and at Eastern Market, providing relief to an area often called a food desert due to its lack of access to healthy and affordable foods. Volunteer opportunities run the gamut of gardening and farming, from preparing soil to staking beds to securing greenhouse panels.

Related: New Community Garden Debuts in Detroit

Gleaners Community Food Bank
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Kids Helping Kids
Gleaners Community Food Bank

2131 Beaufait
Detroit, MI  48207
(866) 453-2637

Hours: Mon to Fri – 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Minimum Age to Volunteer: school age, young children must be accompanied by parent
Click here for information on volunteer opportunities

Gleaners has developed a volunteer program geared toward teaching school-age children about hunger and poverty in their own back yards. The Kids Helping Kids initiative includes the Smart Bites program, in which children package snacks for local school children who can't afford to bring a snack to school; the Backpack program, which provides weekend meals to school children who would otherwise go without; and the Empty Bowl program, in which kids ages 5 to 17 make two clay bowls, one for themselves and one to sell to raise money for hunger relief. Each volunteer opportunity begins with a tour of the Gleaners warehouse, a history of the food bank and an educational session focused on hunger awareness and good nutrition.

Blight Busters
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Motor City Blight Busters
17405 Lahser Rd.
Detroit, MI  48219
(313) 255-4355

Hours: Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Minimum Age: No minimum, young children must be accompanied by a parent
Click here to fill out a volunteer application

The Motor City Blight Busters have made it their mission to clean up Detroit's inner city. In addition to housing repairs and renovations, the organization provides free health screenings, a Thanksgiving dinner and runs a building and culinary training center. Blight Busters began Angels' Night patrols in 1990. In 1995 the patrols became an official city initiative, and each year more than 50,000 volunteers patrol the city Oct. 30. The rest of the year, Blight Busters volunteers tear down blighted houses, paint and renovate existing houses, board up and secure abandoned buildings, and participate in neighborhood clean-ups.

Related: Detroit Angels' Night Campaign Kicks Off

Jennifer Walker is a freelance writer living in Detroit. She earned her Bachelor's degree in animal science from Michigan State University. Her work can be found at

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