Volunteer Opportunities in Fairfield County

5 local non-profits and how to help



Volunteers teaching English as a Second Language to recent immigrants

Courtesy of Neighbors Link Stamford

1. Operation Hope

Cause: To make free enterprise work for everyone.

Available Volunteer Opportunities

Thanksgiving:

  • Volunteers can conduct a food drive to stock the pantry shelves and deliver to the Food Pantry located at 636 Old Post Road in Fairfield
  • Sponsor a “Thanksgiving basket and turkey” for our neighbors who might otherwise go without. Deliver to our Food Pantry by November 21st
  • Prepare a Thanksgiving Day meal item for our Community Thanksgiving Meal and deliver to the Community Kitchen located at 50 Nichols Street in Fairfield by November 28th
  • “Make a Meal” throughout the holiday season to be served to our hungry neighbors at the Community Kitchen

December Holidays:

  • Sponsor an individual or family for the “Hope for the Holidays” gift giving program, now through December 9th.  
  • Volunteer to assist with the onsite receiving and organizing gifts during the “Hope for the Holidays” program.  
  • Sponsor a Food Drive for the December holidays and deliver to the Food Pantry.    
  • People are hungry throughout the month of December, not just on the holidays! Call and sponsor a meal or portion of a meal to be served at the Community Kitchen.

How to Sign Up

Volunteers must sign up on the web site in advance with their interests. Once a volunteer is registered on the web site and interviewed, volunteers will be assigned to volunteer opportunities that are available, such as making meals for and serving in the Community Kitchen, Food Pantry, and other opportunities.

Who Qualifies to Volunteer

In general, all members of the community are invited to volunteer: adults, young adults (16 and older for certain projects), community groups, families, and children with supervision. Please visit the website for more information.

Donating Supplies

Operation Hope is always in need of food, toiletries and other supplies for the Pantry. Suggestions for donation items include:

  • Canned spaghetti
  • Canned meats and stews
  • Canned fruit
  • Tuna
  • Soup
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Juices
  • Coffee
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Salad Dressing
  • Syrup
  • Cold Cereal
  • Instant hot cereals
  • Crackers
  • Muffin/Bread Mixes
  • Jello/Pudding
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste/Toothbrushes

Donations can be received any day during our office hours at the 636 Old Post Road in Fairfield above. Individuals, families, clubs, organizations and other groups can contact us to arrange food drives and other campaigns. Operation Hope can help with planning, organizing and picking up items for the Pantry. Food drives are an excellent way for organizations to contribute to their community, through the generosity and good will of their members or employees.

In addition, there is an ongoing need to provide prepared meals for the Community Kitchen, for lunch and dinner, 365 days a year. The organization works with various groups throughout the area to schedule meal drop off, but are always looking for new and additional volunteers. This is a wonderful way to help. Please check the website or call for more information.

The Volunteer Process

Opportunities are limitless. The organization works hard to match a volunteer’s passion and interest to the needs of the organization. A Volunteer Coordinator meets with each potential volunteer to understand their interests and abilities. Through this process we are able to manage most volunteer needs and match them to the needs of the organization.

Volunteering Contact:

You can reach the Volunteer Coordinator, Donna Schmidt at 203-292-5588; dschmidt@operationhopect.org or through operationhopect.org

Address and Hours

Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc.

636 Old Post Road

Fairfield, CT

www.operationhopect.org

203-292-5588

The administrative office is open from 9AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday.

 

2. Person to Person

Cause: Responds to individuals and families who lack the basic necessities or resources to improve their lives.

Available Volunteer Opportunities

  • Friday, November 22, Noon — 3pm in Darien, Food Drive. Help sort and organize more than 5,000 pounds of donated non-perishable food.
  • Monday, November 25 & Tuesday, November 26, 9am – 4pm in Norwalk, Thanksgiving Turkeys. Help distribute turkeys and Thanksgiving meal fixings to 500 families.
  • Wednesday, December 11, 9am — 2pm, Toy Store Set Up. Help set-up holiday pop-up shop; decorate, move and organize toys and books at a local toy store.
  • Thursday, December 12, 9am — 4pm OR Friday, December 13, 9am — 7pm OR Saturday, December 14, 9am — 1pm in Darien, Toy Store Shifts Available. Help clients shop for toys, books and board games for their children; wrap gifts, entertain children, clean-up.
  • Monday, December 16 & Tuesday, December 17 at the NEON gymnasium in Norwalk, Gift of Giving. Decorate gymnasium with holiday décor for Gift of Giving program where families receive holiday gifts for their children.
  • Wednesday, December 18 at the NEON gymnasium in Norwalk. Take down Gift of Giving decorations.

How to Sign Up

Volunteers can sign up at any time but the organization does appreciate knowing in advance.

Who Qualifies to Volunteer

Any high school student or adult is qualified to volunteer. Information is available at p2pHelps.org or on volunteermatch.com or volunteersquare.com

Donating Supplies

Person-to-Person is currently in need of Food (non-perishable) and brand new toys and board games for the Holiday Toy Store. Suggested Board Games: Monopoly, Sorry, Battleship, Connect4 and Clue. In addition, P2P always needs donations of shopping bags or grocery bags.

The Volunteer Process

One-time volunteers are accepted as well as ongoing volunteers. P2P recognizes that everyone is busy throughout the year and greatly appreciates any time a volunteer can give to the organization.

Volunteering Contact:

Janet King, Director of Volunteers, can be reached at 203-655-0048 or janetking@p2pHelps.org

Address and Hours

Person to Person

1864 Post Road

Darien, CT

Monday — Friday, 9am to 4pm

Saturdays, 9am to 12pm

and

76 South Main Street

Norwalk, CT

Monday – Friday, 9am to 4pm

p2phelps.org

Person to Person CT
Photo courtesy of Person to Person

 

3. CT Food Bank

Cause: To provide nutritious food to people in need.

Available Volunteer Opportunities

Working at the East Haven warehouse sorting food. Appointment required from one of the following:

  • Mondays: 9:00-noon, 1:00-3:00
  • Tuesdays: 1:00-3:00, 4:00-5:30, 6:00-7:30
  • Wednesdays: 9:00-noon, 1:00-3:00, 4:00-5:30, 6:00-7:30
  • Thursdays: 9:00-noon, 1:00-3:00
  • Fridays: 9:00-noon, 1:00-3:00
  • Some Saturdays available for large groups (15-20 people)

Thanksgiving Food Drives

November 23, 8:30am — 1pm: Yale Bowl at Yale football stadium, New Haven. (Adults only)

How to Sign Up

Warehouse volunteers can sign-up right up to 1 hour before start of a shift as long as space is available. For food drives and the Yale Bowl, check the website for sign-up announcements 

Who Qualifies to Volunteer

  • Warehouse volunteers: ages 13 — 15 may volunteer with a parent,16 years and over can volunteer on their own; does involve lifting and standing and may not be appropriate for seniors or those with leg or back problems.
  • Food drives: generally ages 8 — 14 years may volunteer with a parent, 15 and up volunteer on their own.
  • Yale Bowl: college age or older (because of the tailgate party atmosphere).

Donating Supplies

The organization is in need of food donations, especially frozen turkeys, and they are welcome effective immediately. The Food Bank can also set people and organizations up for virtual food drives.

The Volunteer Process

One-time volunteers are accepted for food drives and other events, but not for the Warehouse.

Volunteering Contact:

Contact Kim Damien, Volunteer Coordinator, kdamien@ctfoodbank.org, 203-469-5000

Address and Hours

CT Food Bank Main Office

150 Bradley Street

East Haven, CT

Office Hours are Monday — Friday, 8:30am — 4:30pm

ctfoodbank.org

 

4. Homes With Hope

Cause: A local grassroots response to the tragedy of homelessness.

Available Volunteer Opportunities

Opportunities are available at the Gillespie Center all year. During the holiday season, the organization needs people to provide nightly meals to the 30 to 35 people who show up at the Community Kitchen. We need food donations for the Food Pantry that provides over 3,000 bags of groceries each year to needy neighbors. There are also opportunities to help organize the Pantry.

How to Sign Up

The Kitchen requires lead time to fill an open slot. Appointments are made through contact with Jeff Wieser at jwieser@hwhct.org; food can be dropped off anytime. Contact Rob Lockhart at rlockhart@whwct.org to arrange time in the Pantry with a days’ notice.

Who Qualifies to Volunteer

Anyone can volunteer. Call Rob Lockhart at 203-226-1661 for more specific information.

Donating Supplies

Supplies needed are: twin sheets, blankets, cutlery, soaps and toiletries (especially those we all collect from hotels), groceries for the Food Pantry, and towels.

The Volunteer Process

One-time volunteers are welcome. There are 10 properties at Homes with Hope and there is usually a need for volunteers at any of them!

Volunteering Contact:

Jeff Wieser and Rob Lockhart (as above) or Robynne Quinn at rquinn@hwhct.org.

Address

Homes With Hope Gillespie Center

45 Jesup Road

Westport, CT

hwhct.org

 

5. Neighbors Link

Cause: Provides a comprehensive resource center for recent immigrants in the Stamford area.

Available Volunteer Opportunities

  • Friday November 22nd and Friday December 20th: volunteers are needed to help with Holiday Family Nights. Volunteers will help with set-up, serving and clean-up for these festive meals that are open to the community.   
  • Volunteers can also help by conducting small gift drives among their friends or in their clubs, to collect new children’s books and new warm hats, scarves and gloves for adults. These gifts will be distributed at the December 20th Family night.
  • In addition, there is always need for tutors for our year-round ESL programs. ESL classes are offered mornings and evenings, and training is provided to all volunteers.

How to Sign Up

For the holiday activities, it is helpful to check with us at least a week in advance. ESL tutors are needed on an ongoing basis.

Who Qualifies to Volunteer

Volunteers from high-school age and up are welcome! Check the website at NeighborsLinkStamford.org/howtohelp/volunteer or email volunteers@NeighborsLinkStamford.org for more information.

Donating Supplies

School supplies are always needed, especially dry-erase markers, dictionaries, pens, pencils and notebooks. Supplies can be dropped off at Neighbors Link Stamford during operating hours.

The Volunteer Process

Neighbors Link Stamford volunteers can choose how and when to get involved, whether for a one-time project or an ongoing project.

Volunteering Contact:

Cathleen Stone, Program Manager. 203-674-8585 ext. 106 or Cathleen.Stone@NeighborsLinkStamford.org

Address and Hours

Neighbors Link

75 Selleck Street

Stamford, CT

NeighborsLinkStamford.org

(203) 674-8585

Monday — Friday, 7:30am — 8:30pm, Saturday, 7:30am — 1:30pm

 

 

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