27 Rochester-Area Volunteer Experiences

I can’t think of a better day trip than one that helps others. Take a look at these volunteer experiences and offer your time and talent with one of these amazing Rochester-area organizations.

“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.”—Aristotle

1. Willow Domestic Violence Center

Willow Center depends upon the support and generosity of the community to sustain its programs for victims and survivors of domestic violence and their children. 

There are many ways that you can help, including monetary donations, wish list items, hosting events and volunteering. Your help allows us to bring safety, hope and healing to victims and survivors of domestic violence. Whether you can offer financial assistance, donations or volunteer time, we at the Willow Center, deeply appreciate all that you do.

2. Foodlink

Volunteers are essential at all levels of food bank operations, from sorting and repackaging food to helping at fundraising events.

We also welcome more than 100 volunteers to assist with our nutrition education programs. The Curbside Market, Foodlink’s mobile market truck, is currently seeking volunteers to assist our drivers in day-to-day operations. The Curbside Market travels to more than 80 sites per week in Rochester, as well as the outlying counties in our service area, and attracts nearly 30,000 customer visits per year. 

The newly expanded Foodlink Kitchen has also welcomed in volunteers since opening in 2017.

3. House of Mercy

The House of Mercy runs around the clock thanks to the help of our tireless volunteers that never give up. The front desk is the first face people see when they come to the House of Mercy.

We need volunteers to help answer the phones, take donations as they come in and provide general assistance. We also need volunteers to help with light cleaning, clothing distribution, IT support, kitchen support, photography and grand writing.

4. Gilda’s Club

There are a wide range of opportunities for people to contribute their time and skills to Gilda’s Club Rochester.

Mental Health Professionals are needed to lead support groups and help introduce prospective members to the Gilda’s Club philosophy, program, and Clubhouse. The Noogieland Team helps to provide a warm, supportive, and comfortable play environment that fills important psychosocial needs of children touched by cancer by engaging in interactive play and supervision.

The Clubhouse Team helps maintain and improve the Gilda’s Clubhouse facility by assisting with basic maintenance such as fixing or improving areas as needed, or help to beautify our building and grounds by by gardening, seasonal decorating, and/or cleaning. 

Support the Gilda’s Club staff in any aspect of planning and/or executing of their special events. Be a GCR Ambassador and represent Gilda’s Club Rochester at various venues throughout the community. You can advertise, inform and promote Clubhouse happenings throughout the area!

5. Cameron Community Ministries

Cameron Community Ministries functions mainly on the support of our dedicated volunteers. There are opportunities to volunteer in many different areas, and we encourage groups, individuals, companies, & families to come spend some time with us giving back to the community.

There are many opportunities to become a volunteer at Cameron on a regular basis, or to come just for a few hours for one day!

6. Ronald McDonald House

Whether it’s cooking meals, cleaning and preparing rooms for families, helping in the office, or driving our van, the time you give makes it possible for our families to be with their children during a very difficult time. 

We rely on hundreds of volunteers each month to do everything from cleaning and preparing rooms and gardening and maintenance to keep our programs running for our families 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

7. Barakah Muslim Charity

Barakah Muslim Charity operates solely on the generous donations of our supporters. Funds are used to support our Food Pantry where we feed over 500 families monthly.

Our Refugee Program provides translation and documentation assistance services and assistance with clothes, toiletries and household items for refugees who have recently arrived in the Rochester, NY area.

We also provide hot meal services such as Soup Kitchen, Breakfast Service and Summer Lunch program. Food and Monetary Donations are always welcome.

Volunteer Kitchen

8. Open Door Mission

Volunteers needed for serving meals, sorting donations, kitchen service, administrative tasks, cleaning, maintenance, fundraising events and outreach.

9. Dimitri House

Drop-in Program Volunteer Role: Volunteers serve food in our dining room, wash dishes, and keep the dining room well stocked and clean.

Volunteers are encouraged to sit and chat with our guests and engage in activities such as a card game or chess. Learn more on their website about Food Pantry Volunteers, Men’s Shelter Volunteers, and Ministers of Hospitality.

10. Sojourner House

Volunteers are needed to teach new elective classes. Throughout the school year, volunteers are needed to provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring for children in grades K – 12.

Occasionally, volunteers are needed weekday afternoons from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or weekday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to help the Activities Coordinator plan and implement activities and to assist with childcare.

Volunteers are needed to help with “odd jobs” around Sojourner House, such as outdoor and/or indoor clean up (yard, garden, kitchen, basement, garage), picking up and delivering furniture donations, and more.

Special event volunteers may assist with such tasks as set-up, food preparation and service, and clean up for our program celebrations. We also need volunteers for special fundraising events.

11. Catholic Family Center

Please note: we require a minimum six month commitment, unless the position states otherwise. One Time and Group Opportunities include Cleaning and organizing, fund raising, meal preparation, enrichment program provider

12. Meals on Wheels

By volunteering a few hours of your time, you can make a difference in the lives of those who need you in the community. Meals On Wheels Drivers/Servers volunteer to deliver hot, nutritious meals to the home bound, elderly or ill.

Two volunteers are scheduled to deliver each route. One volunteer drives using their own car, and the other takes the meals to the recipients’ doors.

13. Saint’s Place

Saint’s Place is a volunteer organization, based on Christian values, that provides household goods, clothing, and education to legal refugees of all races.

Our offices at 46 South Main Street are open from 8:00am – 4:00pm Monday through Thursday. Volunteers are available during that time to accept donations of household goods, small furniture, items for our sale and clothing. View the kinds of items we accept

We love community groups who are willing to hold coat drives, glove collections or new socks drives for our clothing closet! Toiletries and cleaning supplies also make great service projects for groups. If you would like flyers to pass out in your community, please call 585-385-6860.

Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery Tour

14. Mount Hope Cemetery

Landscape Committee volunteers help revitalize and maintain gardens and significant grave sites within Mount Hope Cemetery. They are responsible for planting, weeding and watering their sites throughout the planting season (May-October) under the direction of a master gardener.

Gatehouse reception a critical job involving registration of tour attendees, selling merchandise, and serving refreshments at tour events. 

The Friends of Mount Hope host a variety of cemetery tours throughout the year and provide training sessions for people interested in becoming a tour guide.

15. Toys for Tots

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation relies on local volunteers in several areas: assisting in the transportation and storage of toys, assisting in our local warehouse, and assisting with meals plus so much more!

16. Rochester Museum & Science Center

The involvement of hundreds of talented, committed individuals greatly extends the range, quality, and variety of our visitor’s experiences.

RMSC volunteers are guided by the principles of engagement, innovation, passion, and excellence. Volunteers place a focus on the visitor, create a welcoming environment, and help make the connection between exhibit content and the world around us.

17. Memorial Art Gallery

Join the more than 1,000 people each year who donate their time and energy to help further the mission of the Memorial Art Gallery. The Gallery has many volunteer opportunities available, both behind the scenes and in contact with the public.

Geva Theater seating

18. Geva Theater

Volunteers are asked to help with several responsibilities while at the theatre, including: preparing the theatre before performances, ticket-taking and helping patrons in the lobby, guiding patrons to their seats, helping in our coat room and gift shop, light cleaning of the theatre after performances, and assisting our staff during busy periods.

19. Rochester Broadway Theater League

Volunteers can become a part of the RBTL team in numerous ways, from clerical duties at our administrative offices to assisting with special events, or ushering at our numerous performances.

20. Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

RPO volunteers are given the unique opportunity to work and learn in a variety of “behind-the-scenes” environments and meet others who share a desire to improve our community’s cultural life. From planning and executing exciting special events to serving as educational ambassadors for young children, our valued volunteers play a critical role in our efforts to achieve and maintain the mission of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

21. Cobblestone Arts Center

Come and join the Volunteer Cobblestone Crew.  Help us to bring art programs & events to the community!  Promote upcoming performances, community classes, fundraisers, etc.  Volunteer to help out during our events and fundraisers.  Share new ideas to help improve our programs and events.  Meetings will be help once a month.

Volunteer Horses

22. EquiCenter

EquiCenter is a volunteer-based non-profit organization. Opportunities for involvement include working with horses and participants during our lesson programs, helping with horticultural activities, facility and barn support, fundraising, special events committees and administrative support. Whatever your interest and talent, it can be put to good use at the EquiCenter!​

Our volunteers generously lend their time and skills in many invaluable ways:​ ​Riding Lesson VolunteersBarn Volunteers, Organic FarmingGardening CrewMaintenance VolunteerMarketing VolunteerAdministrative Volunteer,Special Events Volunteer. Volunteers assisting with riding lessons, barn activities & facility maintenance are required to attend a volunteer training session.

23. Heritage Christian Services

With dozens of homes and programs in the Greater Rochester and Buffalo, NY areas, there are opportunities for everyone to get involved with Heritage Christian Services and make a difference in the lives of the people with special needs. We offer a variety of fun and interesting opportunities to match every personality. You can volunteer as an individual or as part of a group; for a one-time event or participate in an ongoing program. Free training and flexible hours are provided! A Second Thought Resale Shop, Pieters Family Life Center, Heritage Christian Stables, Springdale Farm, Special Events, Internships, Expressive Beginnings Child Care.

24. Lollypop Farm

You can help pets in need as a volunteer at Lollypop Farm! Whether you wish to help care for the animals, work in guest services or administration, provide assistance with programs, make special events special, or lend your handy-person skills on projects, your participation is key to helping homeless and abused pets.

25. Verona Street Animal Services

Animal Services has an active volunteer program that enables citizens to get involved with various aspects of the programs and services.  Volunteer duties include dog walking, pet bathing, socializing and training animals, cleaning cages, assisting with spay neuter clinic, providing customer services, data entry, administrative support, and promoting the organization at special events. There is also a Foster Care Program for individuals interested in providing temporary homes for animals in need of special care or awaiting placement in a new home or transfer to another organization.

26. Habitat for Humanity

Whether you want to build the houses, work with the families, plan events, or help with the MANY other volunteer opportunities we have; we invite you to be part of a kind, dedicated, and welcoming volunteer community that is actively building strength, stability, and self-reliance in Rochester. We have a variety of one-time and regular opportunities for individuals and groups.

27. ComPeer

In as little as four hours a month, you can have an impact on someone in our community who lives with mental illness. Our volunteers are carefully matched according to mutual preferences and receive comprehensive, customized training, and personalized, constant support from Compeer Rochester staff

More opportunities to explore

Community Wishlist Special Events Calendar

Community Wishlist Volunteers Needed

Where do you like to volunteer around Rochester?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!

We will absolutely update this list on request!

Most images courtesy of pixabay.


4 thoughts on “27 Rochester-Area Volunteer Experiences”

  1. Saint’s Place. They set up homes with new beds and donated furniture for all newly arriving refugees in Rochester. They run the largest clothing closet in Rochester as well and give backpacks full of school supplies to the children. There is also a tutoring snd vocational scholarship program. Volunteers must pass a background check and complete training.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.