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 an easy and simple way 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
*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.
- Take one sandwich sized Ziploc bag and place 2 -4 pads (depending of what type you get – overnight ones will be thicker and take up more space, daily one will be thinner and take up less space so you can fit more in) in it.
- Then take 4 tampons and place them in the bag. (Putting the tampons vertically and 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat steps 1-4 for however many kits you would like to create.
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 or nonperishable foods.
- 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.
- Then add 1 plastic spoon or any other utensils to the bag to accommodate for all scenarios and to make it portable.
- 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.
- Repeat steps 1-3 for how every many packs you are creating.
Items Needed Per Kit:
- 1 Re-useable 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/shove in the water bottle. Some ideas for additional items include: mini floss, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, chapstick, mini travel toothbrush, mini toothpaste, rain poncho, etc.
- Take 1 plastic re-usable 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.
- 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.
- Place completed water bottles in a re-useable bag, paper bag or box for easy drop off.
- Repeat steps 1-3 for as many kits you would like to create.
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 helps Open Your Heart spread awareness and involve more people in our mission!
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:
Advocates Against Domestic Abuse dba HOPE (Healing Opportunity Provided Equally): We are in need of crisis line advocates and repairs/maintenance volunteers. For more information please email [email protected].
Anna Marie’s Alliance: Volunteers needed to cook meals on the weekends.
Ascension Place, Inc. dba Haven Housing: We have a variety of ongoing and one-time volunteer opportunities at St. Anne’s Place, including tutoring, field trip support, children’s activities support, childcare, cooking and serving meals, building cleaning and maintenance, yard work, and more.
Avenues for Youth: We have needs for maintenance volunteers, administration volunteers, and tutors.
Brunswick United Methodist Church: We have an ongoing need for volunteers to help prepare and serve Loaves and Fishes meals at Brunswick United Methodist Church on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
CAPI USA: We have various volunteer needs from assisting with fresh produce distributions that occur on specific Fridays from 1-2:30pm, helping to wrap and distribute toys to families in need during the holiday season, to volunteering at various times at our food shelf. Contact Ekta Prakash, Executive Director at [email protected] or 612-767-3661 for more information.
Churches United in Ministry (CHUM): We have an ongoing and critical need for food shelf volunteers – contact Scott Van Daele at 218-720-6521 for more information.
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].
Grace House of Itasca County: Volunteers are needed Monday through Sunday, 365 days a year. Volunteer shifts include: early morning, noon, evening, and overnight. Please visit www.gracehousemn.org/volunteering-opportunities/ for current volunteer opportunities.
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center: Opportunities include working on our Archive Project, helping with our children’s garden, food shelf, front desk, special projects and events and clothing closet. For more information please contact Dawn Selle at [email protected] or at 651-224-4603.
HOPE 4 Youth: Opportunities include mentoring at our Drop-In Center, serving meals, sorting donations, covering our front desk area and volunteering at our resale boutique store, hope’s closet. Contact Kate at [email protected] to learn more!
Mission Outpost: Mission Outpost is open 6 times per week for families to access – Monday 1 – 3pm, 5 – 7pm, Tuesday noon – 2pm, Wednesday evening 5 – 7pm, Thursday morning 1030 – 1230 and 1 – 3pm. We also have volunteer opportunities every morning, Monday through Thursday, sorting clothing and food.
Northern Suburban Emergency Assistance Response, Inc. (NEAR): NEAR is a non-profit volunteer Food Shelf. NEAR volunteer opportunities include; answering phones from home, picking up food and supplies from major donors, sorting, packing, and organizing incoming food and supplies.
Open Hands Midway, Inc.: Volunteers are always needed for our meal program and other events. Please visit www.openhandsmidway.org/volunteering for more information. Please note volunteers MUST submit volunteer application and be approved prior to volunteering with us.
Pillager Area Food Shelf: Every Thursday from noon to five volunteers help families “shop”.
Project for Pride in Living (PPL): PPL is consistently in need of volunteer tutor-mentors to work 1:1 with a student (age 5-12) onsite at our Family Supportive Housing sites in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Volunteers must be willing to commit to tutoring their student twice weekly during set program times for a full school year. For more information, please contact Julie Huck, PPL’s Volunteer Manager, at 612-455-5111 or at [email protected].
Rural Enrichment and Counseling Headquarters, Inc. (REACH): REACH has many volunteer opportunities available, most specifically in our two food pantries located in Glyndon,MN and Hawley, MN. For more information please visit www.ruralenrichment.org/html/volunteering.html
Ruth’s House of Hope: Ruth’s House would love to have you or your group volunteer with us. Our ability to offer help and hope is made possible by the contributions of our many volunteers, who together give about 4,000 hours each year to support our work and our residents. Please visit https://ruthshousemn.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer/ for current volunteer opportunities.
Simpson Housing: We offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups. In our Children and Youth Services program we are always looking for volunteer tutors and mentors to forge lasting relationships with youth transitioning out of homelessness.
Stepping Stone Emergency Housing: Our Donate a Dinner program – details and sign up provided on our website.
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.
The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center: Bell ringers during late November and throughout December.
The Salvation Army of Fergus Falls: It’s the kindhearted volunteers who help fulfill our promise to do the most good. Whether you have a specific talent to offer or simply an hour of your time, The Salvation Army is the place to turn your passion into action. We are specifically looking for volunteers to serve in our kitchen from 8am-1pm Monday through Friday, to help with food preparation, serving, and clean-up during our meal program. Please see this link for more information: https://salvationarmynorth.org/community/fergus-falls/community-pages/volunteering-9/
The Sheridan Story: We love to have people join us for our evening packing events. Individuals and groups can sign-up online.
Vineyard Community Services: Both Fruit of the Vine Food Shelf locations (www.vcsmn.org) are raising volunteers on-going. For volunteer opportunities please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 952-595-5980 or by email at [email protected].
Western Community Action Network (WeCAN): Volunteer opportunities for Meals on Wheels drivers, Mobile Market food distribution, food pantry sorters and packers, food recovery volunteers, and front desk receptionists. We are currently looking for Food Recovery volunteers. Contact Lorrie at 952-472-0742 or fill out our volunteer application online.
Wright County Community Action: We have volunteer opportunities across all programs. We are currently looking for volunteer delivery drivers. Our food shelf delivers food across the entire county for our Back Pack Programs, Emergency Food Box Network, and Mobile Food Shelf. For more information please visit https://www.wccaweb.com/Home/Volunteer.
Youthlink MN: Volunteer opportunities for groups include meal preparation and service (lunch or dinner), ‘done in a day’ events such as cleaning or painting, birthday bingo and ice cream/cake celebrations monthly, donation drives, and other opportunities depending on the season. Group volunteer opportunities can utilize 2 or 3 individuals to groups as large as ten or more. Individual volunteer opportunities include tutoring for the GED test, organizing donated items, child care, one-on-one guidance, and more.
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 Jesse Mathias at [email protected].
Volunteer on a Committee
Open Your Heart is supported by a robust committee structure that includes staff, members of the Board of Directors and other volunteers. Committees typically meet every other month or once per month to discuss strategies that will help Open Your Heart have a greater impact on hunger and homelessness. Committee members also work individually and in groups to carry these plans into action. This is an excellent opportunity to develop strategic planning and leadership skills, network with professionals in multiple sectors and make an impact on hunger and homelessness in Minnesota.
- Fund Development and Outreach Committee: Increases the visibility of Open Your Heart and of hunger and homelessness issues through a wide variety of communications strategies and works to build more robust funding sources for Open Your Heart by developing and implementing fundraising strategies, identifying potential grant funding sources and engaging with current donors.
- Finance Committee: Oversees the finances of the organization.
- Grant Review Committee: Oversees all aspects of Open Your Heart’s grant programs, including establishing grant criteria, developing tools for data collection and evaluation, reviewing grant applications and completing grant auditing.
If you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors or one of the Committees listed above, please contact [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!