Volunteering doesn’t have to be just for adults, and it’s a great opportunity for children to learn to give back to their communities at a young age. Finding the right group, the one whose values you trust and want your kids to emulate, is simple with these great area aid organizations.

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Jewish Family Service of Metrowest
475 Franklin St.
Ste. 101
Framingham, MA 01702
(508) 875-3100 ext. 300

Click here for hours
Minimum Age for Volunteering: 14

Because the elderly and those with disabilities often don’t get out of the house as often, they may succumb to loneliness or depression. Encourage your kids to visit isolated seniors and rest assured they’ll learn a lesson or two along the way. The Jewish Family Service of Metrowest pairs children with isolated seniors for company. A visit from a child can do wonders to brighten the day of someone who might otherwise be alone too often. Sit and talk, help with errands or offer transportation to Boston’s elderly through the Jewish Family Service. Call Diana O’Brien at the phone number listed above for more information and to schedule your visit.

Photo Credit: Gainingground.org

Gaining Ground
Thoreau Birthplace Garden

315 Virginia Rd.
Concord, MA 01742
(978) 610-6086

Hours: Tues to Thurs, Sat – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fri – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Minimum Age for Volunteering: 16 unaccompanied; 4 with a parent
Click here for more information

Children ages 5 and older are welcome to get their hands dirty at Gaining Ground. Volunteering for Gaining Ground affords children the opportunity to learn how food is grown and cultivated, and where it comes from. They will experience the basics of agriculture and learn about organic gardening while helping to grow produce that goes directly to shelters, food pantries and meal programs around Boston. The season runs April through October.

Related: Boston’s Best Stuff For Young Kids (5-8 Years Old)

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Pine Street Inn
444 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 892-9186

Hours: daily breakfast – 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Minimum Age for Volunteering: 15
Click here for more information

Help feed the hungry. As a family, cook supper or brunch for one of a housing unit of about 12 tenants. Pick the ingredients, bring them to the housing unit and cook on site, or help serve breakfast at the emergency shelter in the South End. Contact Coffie Fields at the phone number listed above to schedule your family’s visit. Pine Street Inn offers opportunities for families with younger children to volunteer as well on special request.


Spread the Bread
24 Happy Hollow Rd.
Wayland, MA 01778
(774) 286-9987

Minimum Age for Volunteering: none
Click here for more information

Spread the Bread gives loaves of bread to those in need. The organization began as a way to encourage children to become involved in charitable giving by baking a loaf or two of bread and simply giving it to someone in need. Spread the Biscuits, a branch of Spread the Bread, offers the same opportunity to families that want to help pets as well.

Photo Credit: straypetsinneed.info

Stray Pets in Need
5 Overbrook Terr.
Natick, MA 01760
(781) 235-1218

Minimum Age for Volunteering: 12
Click here for more information

If your child is partial to the four-legged, furry types, Stray Pets in Need encourages children to volunteer and help stray animals. Children of all ages help Stray Pets in Need by putting up posters around town, collecting cans, holding lemonade stands, putting on plays and helping around the neighborhood. Children younger than 12 may assist in fundraising projects with a parent’s permission any time, but older children work more directly with the organization and its efforts.

Related: Boston’s Best Stuff For Pre-Schoolers

Nicole Adams resides on the South Shore of Massachusetts. She is a freelance writer specializing in animal welfare. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.