There are various ways to give back to the community and one of the best is by giving the gift of your time. Take a look at some of the following volunteer opportunities and see if you can find a way to squeeze some extra time out of your busy schedule in 2017 to help those in need.

Help save Madison’s pets

If helping animals is something near and dear to your heart, consider lending a hand at one of the many rescue organizations in and around Madison.

Shelter from the Storm – An all-breed dog and cat rescue, Shelter from the Storm is based in Madison. Aside from pet rescue, the group offers a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. The shelter, open only by appointment, only houses some of the animals, while foster families have the rest. Check out the cuties up for adoption on the group’s website and do consider helping out by becoming a foster parent or offering to help at the clinic, at adoption events and at the shelter. Fill out the volunteer application online, here.

Underdog Pet Rescue of Wisconsin – Located on Fair Oaks Ave. in Madison, Underdog Pet Rescue is an all-breed animal rescue whose stated mission is “. . .to find permanent homes for animals in need, and to enrich lives by strengthening the connection between animals and people through community services and outreach.” They need foster families, of course, but you can also help out at the group’s adoption events, help with transporting pets to foster families, care for the center’s cats, help with fundraising and more. Find the volunteer needs list and application online at

Fetch WI Rescue – If you live in or near Verona, consider fostering a Fetch-rescued pet. If you can’t foster, please consider volunteering. The group needs help at their Sunday adoption fairs, pet care assistance and temporary dog sitting, pet photography, marketing, fundraising, event planning. . .you name it, they can probably use your skills. You’ll find the volunteer application online, here.

Feed the hungry

Celebrating 10 years of feeding Dane County, River Food Pantry offers not only free groceries, but cooked meals and clothing to anyone that enters their doors needing help. They’re located off Northport Dr. and Packers Ave. and last year served more than 30,500 families. Sadly, nearly 40 percent of them included children.

They need your help meet the basic food needs for many Dane County residents. Currently, volunteers are needed to help:

  • Clean facilities
  • Sort clothing
  • Stock shelves
  • Help clients shop at the food pantry and in the clothing area
  • Prepare meals in the kitchen, including sandwiches for the mobile lunch program
  • Deliver lunch for children

If you have additional skills, they can also use your help with fundraising, event coordination, grant writing, truck maintenance and legal services.

Read about volunteer requirements and sign up online to help River Food Pantry, here.

Help the homeless

Did you know that Porchlight is the largest supplier of low-cost housing in Dane County? Indeed, it is and it prides itself on providing an emergency shelter for men, and housing and services for both men and women who suffer from mental illness, are in recovery from addiction, veterans and low income Dane County families.

Or, in their words, they offer “A helping hand, not a hand out. A second chance. A warm bed. Hope. Opportunity.” As you can imagine, a mission this grand requires lots of help from the community and they could use yours. If you have office skills, consider volunteering to help with general clerical tasks. Good with the public? Porchlight needs help providing support to clients and staff and help with fundraising or coordinating special events. They also need folks with other skills, such as artists and graphic designers.

Visit Porchlight on the web at and call (608)-257-2534 for details on how to volunteer.

Lend a hand to our older residents

East Madison/Monona Coalition of the Aging, Inc. (EMMCA) has one main goal: to help empower older adults to safely and healthily live independently. To that end, they offer outreach and community education, a chore program, health and nutrition programs, adult day care and more. And, EMMCA keeps a lean staff so volunteers are always welcome.  

Right now they need folks to spend time with older adults at the day care center. They also need your friendly face at the nutrition center to:

  • Serve meals
  • Make coffee
  • Socialize with clients as they eat
  • Clean up after the meal

Prefer to help those who stay at home? Bring your mad housekeeping skills because seniors need help with basic household chores, such as:

  • Dusting
  • Vacuuming
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping
  • Lawn mowing, raking, etc.

Although the program is open to all, teenagers can help by becoming a Snow Angel for a senior in need. Just volunteer to take care of snow removal for the season so these clients can get to their medical appointments, receive home-delivered meals and remain independent during the winter.

Learn more about volunteering with EMMCA on their website.

Give back to our veterans

The nation’s veteran hospitals are a bit like our nation’s real estate market – location, location, location tells the true story about how “good” or “bad” they are. We happen to be rather proud of Wisconsin’s William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison. Sure, the wait times could be lower but, overall, veterans rank, especially the in-patient care, as acceptable.

You can help make the experience better by volunteering to help. Currently, they need a volunteer at the information desk to help patients and visitors. They also need help in the office to perform various administrative tasks and in the clothing room to sort new clothing donations, organize and maintain the room and more.

If you’d prefer to work directly with our veterans, consider volunteering to be a patient escort. In this position you’ll transport patients in wheelchairs or on stretchers to medical appointments and to other areas of the hospital.

Express your interest by calling (608) 256-1901.



Posted by Jolenta Averill on
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