Volunteer in the Community

Open Your Heart does not work directly with people experiencing hunger and homelessness. However, many of the agencies we partner with and support rely on volunteers to keep programs running smoothly and meet everyone’s needs. Visit one of the following websites or call us to find opportunities to make an impact on hunger and homelessness in your area:

360 Communities: They are always looking for volunteers to assist at our food shelves in sorting food, refilling shelves, picking up rescue food, and assisting clients. Visit https://360communities.org/volunteer/volunteer-needs/.

Advocates Against Domestic Abuse dba HOPE: They have a huge ongoing need for facility maintenance and groundskeeping. HOPE owns two buildings with large connecting lots. There is mowing, weeding, gardens, landscaping in the summer and shoveling in the winter months. There are three client-safe housing apartments that often have repairs and maintenance needs as well.

Alexandra House, Inc.: Please visit https://www.alexandrahouse.org/get-involved/volunteerintern/ to learn more about volunteering with Alexandra House Inc.

Avenues for Youth: This year for the holidays, they are seeking a partner that could provide ingredients for holiday meals for the youth and young families. Typically, this looks like a meal kit for MA and one for BA, along with individual meal kits for each of our 20+ young families. Please visit the volunteer page of their website: https://avenuesforyouth.org/volunteer.

Bridgepoint Community Food Shelf: Join the Volunteer team at Bridgepoint Community Food Shelf. They are also in need of a 16-foot box truck for pick-up donations for the food shelf right now. 

CAER Food Shelf: Please visit https://caerfoodshelf.org/volunteer to apply or learn more about volunteer opportunities with CAER Food Shelf.


Community Emergency Service (CES): CES has many ongoing and one-time volunteer opportunities such as: food sorter, kitchen helper, Meals on Wheels delivery driver, Home Delivery driver, Ani-Meals delivery driver, food shelf client interviewer/advocate, office volunteer, maintenance volunteer, and much more. For a full listing of opportunities visit: https://www.cesmn.org/help/volunteer#hands-on. Please contact Melanie LaPointe, Volunteer Coordinator at 612-870-1125 (ex.128) or [email protected].

Face to Face Health & Counseling Services: Hanes white T-shirts, boxer briefs, underwear, backpacks, chapstick, and lotion. For more and current needs please visit their Amazon Wishlist https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1Q3CKNRFDQX0L?ref_=wl_share.

FreedomWorks Incorporated: Every other Wednesday they have a community outreach that could always use volunteers. The next outreach is 3/8/2023. Contact Stephanie if interested: 612-449-8833.

Good in the ‘Hood: Shoe Sorting Shoes is a volunteer opportunity where Good In the ‘Hood collects shoes and sort them at the Fridley, MN warehouse in order to provide people in need with quality footwear. Volunteering at Good In the ‘Hood’s 20+ food distribution sites are needed to help set-up and clean-up the site for the day’s distribution. Volunteers can also help distribute groceries to guests. Good In the ‘Hood always serves with a spirit of joy and look forward to having volunteers. Learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities through their events calendar, www.goodinthehood.org/volunteer. Check the website regularly to see the most recent information on all Events and Volunteer Opportunities. You can also contact, Shawn Morrison at [email protected] to learn more.

Grace House of Itasca County: Volunteers are welcome and needed 7 days/week all year. Volunteer shifts include breakfast, lunch & dinner shifts, and as overnight on-site hosts.

Hamline Midway Coalition: Volunteer with Midway Project! For three years, volunteers with the Midway Project have been distributing food and supplies to the community on a weekly basis at Hancock Recreation Center. Ready to get involved? 1) Sign up to volunteer on our distribution days- Wednesdays. https://www.hamlinemidway.org/themidwayproject/survey_tools/volunteer-sign-up 2) Donate money for supplies. https://www.givemn.org/story/Vkricg 3) Host a diaper drive on your block, or in your organization or company. Email [email protected] to get involved.

Haven Housing: Volunteer opportunities are listed on their website at havenhousing.org/new- volunteers. They are especially in need of small groups of volunteers for one-time or quarterly projects like organizing or lawn work. Interested volunteers may sign up online or contact Kathy Moe, at [email protected]

Hope for the Journey Home: There are dinner and overnight shifts available for volunteers (sleeping position volunteers are needed 7 days per week). Position descriptions can be found at https://www.guardian-angels.org/hope/, or contact Patricia Brokman at [email protected] to learn more.

Hospitality House of Owatonna: Donation drives for supplies and volunteer drivers for their guests to get to appointments. Volunteers that would be willing to put together welcome home kits when a guest transitions into their permanent home.

HOPE 4 Youth: HOPE 4 Youth provides meaningful one-time and long-term volunteer opportunities that allow you to make a difference in the lives of the young people we serve. Start the process by visiting https://www.hope4youthmn.org/volunteer-3/ to learn more about volunteer positions and apply.

Loaves & Fishes: They have more than 10,000 volunteers prepare and serve meals at their commissary kitchen and community meal sites as well as assist staff at their central warehouse in Minneapolis. We welcome anyone who has a desire to serve and volunteer opportunities can be found on their website: https://www.loavesandfishesmn.org/volunteer/.

New Creation Baptist Church: New Creation Baptist Church has volunteer opportunities on Saturdays from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Contact [email protected] to learn more.

Newport United Methodist Church: They offer school supplies to students on a year-round basis. Extra school supplies is needed to keep the supply shelves stocked.

One Minnesota: There are several opportunities available at One Minnesota, volunteer opportunities are regularly posted on their social media or at: weareonemn.org. Contact Christopher Whidby at [email protected] to learn more.

Resources Justice Management: They are always looking for volunteers for community activities, training, administration work, etc.

Rivers of Hope: Cleaning supplies (laundry detergent, dish soap, bleach, multi-purpose cleaners, etc.) for them to give out along with Direct Client Assistance in the form of gift cards. 

Sanneh Foundation: They are always looking for volunteers at food distributions on Tuesdays and Fridays. Additionally, their personal distribution in Burnsville serves over 400 families. Please visit their website to sign up: https://thesannehfoundation.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/. 

Servants of Shelter of Koochiching County: They are always in need of hygiene items, microwaveable/ready-to-eat meals, and laundry soap/cleaning supplies

Shiloh Cares Food Shelf: Shiloh Cares has volunteer opportunities for unloading and stocking each week on Tuesdays from 11 am to 3 pm. Contact Jalilia Abdul-Brown at [email protected] to learn more.

Shobi’s Table: Visit shobistable.org/volunteer to learn more about volunteering in Shobi’s Table kitchen or as a host at the food truck.

Southern Valley Alliance: Crisis line volunteers, support group facilitators, and fundraising volunteers.

The Bridge for Youth:  Please visit https://bridgeforyouth.org/volunteer-opportunities/ for an up-to-date list of volunteer opportunities, which changes daily.

The Link: They have many ongoing volunteer opportunities. Please visit https://thelinkmn.org/get-involved/volunteer/ for more information.

The Open Door: The Open Door is always seeking volunteers to stock our fixed-site and mobile pantries, help clients “shop” for food items, make client appointments by phone, or assist at our public events. To attend a training and informational session, please contact client and volunteer services coordinator Veronica Lind at [email protected] or 651-605-2886.

Tubman: Summer of Peace Youth Supplies (https://www.tubman.org/give-help/ways-to-give/summer-of-peace.html) Personal care & other supplies.

Women of Nations: Winter gear, feminine hygiene and menstrual care, diapers, kids toys (in and outdoor), holiday and birthday gifts.

YouthWay Ministries dba Manna Market: Many volunteer hours go on behind the scenes: picking up food, unloading trucks, sorting and distributing food, checking in visitors, preparing food for hospitality, and cleaning up. Those interested in volunteering can contact Forrest Gregory to learn more via email at [email protected] or via phone at 763-205-1035.

360 Communities: 360 Communities needs volunteers at its food shelves to assist in stocking and distribution. Contact [email protected] to learn more.

At Home Volunteer Projects

Looking for ways to help your community during this unprecedented time while at home? At-home volunteer projects such as creating feminine hygiene kits for a local domestic violence shelter, putting together snack packs for children staying at a local emergency shelter, or sewing cloth masks for a local emergency shelter or clinic are easy and simple ways to provide support to your community during this time of need. Please refer to our in-kind needs list HERE for local agency needs. For a full list of volunteer project ideas and steps for each click HERE.

Feminine Hygiene Kits

Items Needed Per Bag:

  • 1 Sandwich Size Ziploc Bag
  • 4 Tampons (regular or pocket size)
  • 2-4 Pads (depending on size/thickness)
  • Craft Paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers

*To figure out how many of each item to purchase depends on the number of kits you would like to make. For example, for 10 kits you would need about 40 tampons and 20-40 pads. The number of boxes of each item depends on what size and kind you get. Many places offer bulk packages of each. These kits can also be customized depending on how much money you would like to spend on each bag, adding less or more of each item.


  1. Take one sandwich-sized Ziploc bag and place 2-4 pads (depending on what type you get – overnight ones will be thicker and take up more space. Daily one’s will be thinner and take up less space so you can fit more in) in it.
  2. Then take 4 tampons and place them in the bag. (Putting the tampons vertically and over to one of the sides of the bag instead of laying it diagonally across the bag works best to make sure they fit and take up less space).
  3. Now take your craft paper and scissors and make small squares to write empowering, supportive, and positive notes on for the women that will receive these kits.
  4. Squeeze out all of the excess air in the bags and then place the completed bag in a box or paper bag to be used for easy drop off.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for however many kits you would like to create.

Organizations In Need of Feminine Hygiene Kits


Kids Snack Packs

Items Needed Per Pack:

  • 1 Brown Paper Lunch Bag
  • 2 Fruit Snacks
  • 2 Granola Bars
  • 1 Apple Sauce Cup
  • 1 Mini Water or Juice Box
  • 1 Mini bag of Gold Fish (individual packets)
  • 1 Plastic Spoon

*To figure out how many of each item to purchase, depends on the number of kits you would like to make. Just take the number of each item and multiply it by how many bags/kits you would like to make to get the total number for each item needed.

**Bag can be customized depending on how much you would like to spend on each kit. Some ideas for additional items are: individual pack of crackers, individually wrapped fruit leathers, individual bag of mini pretzels, individual mini cereal boxes, mini Slim Jim sticks, cracker and cheese dip pack, to-go Jif peanut butter packs, to-go pack of hand wipes, etc. Just make sure all items are nonperishable foods.


  1. Take 1 brown paper lunch bag and place 2 fruit snacks, 2 granola bars, 1 applesauce cup, 1 mini bag of gold fish, and 1 mini water bottle or juice box in the bag.
  2. Then add 1 plastic spoon or any other utensils to the bag to accommodate for all scenarios and to make it portable.
  3. Fold the top of the bag over horizontally twice to close the bag and place the completed bag in a box for easy drop off.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for how every many packs you are creating.

Organizations In Need Of Kids Snack Packs


Outreach Kits 

Items Needed Per Kit:

  • 1 Reuseable Plastic Water bottle with Twist Top (See photo for example). The Dollar Store and Amazon have many options.
  • 1 Pair of New Unisex White Socks
  • 1 Mini Roll-on Deodorant
  • 1 Mini Body Wash
  • 1 Mini Mouthwash

*Please note that this kit can be customized and changed as you see fit and depending on how much you want to spend on each kit. Some ideas for additional items include: mini-floss, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, Chapstick, mini-travel toothbrush, mini-toothpaste, rain poncho, etc.


  1. Take 1 plastic reusable water bottle and place 1 pair of new unisex white socks in it. Rolling them first helps them to fit in the top of the water bottle opening.
  2. Then place 1 mini-deodorant, 1 body wash, and 1 mini-mouthwash inside the water bottle. Place any additional items in it at this time as well.
  3. Place completed water bottles in a re-useable bag, paper bag or box for easy drop off.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for as many kits you would like to create.

Organizations In Need Of Outreach Kits

For a full list of volunteer project ideas and steps for each click HERE.

Volunteer in Your Spare Time

Open Your Heart receives almost all funds from individuals and uses social media as a way to get more donors without diverting funds from agencies to fundraising. Any of the below actions help Open Your Heart spread awareness and involve more people in our mission!

Volunteer by Throwing a House Party

Like to party? Like to raise money for a good cause? Throw a house party!

Hosting an Open Your Heart House Party brings awareness and raises funds for people who are hungry and homeless in our community.

Who do you invite? Your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, friends of friends, anyone you want!
Where do you hold it? Your home or wherever you would like to host the event (library, church basement, community center, bowling alley, etc.)
What would you need to do? You are responsible for cost of location, invitations, and food/beverages. OYH can provide background materials on the organization (e.g. brochures, video, and signs), help through the process, and a speaker!

Interested in learning more? Contact [email protected].