Top 5 Places to Volunteer in Charleston

When you’re in college, volunteering can often be at the bottom of your list of priorities. Between daily homework, exams, jobs, and trying to have a social life, volunteering can often fall to the wayside. Never fear! Here are some places in Charleston where you can volunteer and it doesn’t have to take out huge chunks in your schedule.

1) Fields to Families

Fields to Families has been growing, harvesting, collecting, and distributing fresh produce to the Charleston community since 2006 and they’re always busy! You can help plant and collect produce at their garden in Moncks Corner or help deliver it to impoverished communities right here in the Lowcountry. When the Farmer’s Market in Marion Square is on (April – December), you can collect donations from the vendors and deliver them! My time volunteering here was absolutely wonderful. You can sign up for whichever event fits your schedule and can volunteer as little or as often as you like. If you volunteer with Fields to Families, you can help alleviate hunger one turnip at a time.

2) Lowcountry Food Bank

Another organization to tackle issues of hunger in the Charleston area, the Lowcountry Food Bank has weekly opportunities to sort and pack food right in downtown Charleston. If you want to do, even more, you can work in the production kitchen to prepare meals for children and seniors, get involved with nutrition education through teaching courses and leading events, or assist in administrative support. There’s truly something for everybody at the Lowcountry Food Bank, no matter your schedule.

3) Coastal Conservation League

They may not have as many opportunities to volunteer as Fields to Families, but their events are super fun! Last year, they worked with the Lowcountry Land Trust and U.S. Fish and Wild Life Services to build up an oyster reef on Seaboard Island. Whether it’s reef-building, advocacy training, or mushroom collecting, you can bet that the Coastal Conservation League is on top of things. If you can’t go to any events, you can sign up for their e-mails and they’ll send you the latest information on local environmental concerns and petitions that take only a few seconds to sign!

4) Charleston Animal Society

If you’re a big animal-lover, the Charleston Animal Society is the place for you! As a volunteer, you can help walk and socialize with dogs, care for cats and kittens, help with adoptions and other special events, as well as provide post-surgical care in the spay/neuter clinic. It’s super easy to sign up and all you have to do is go to a volunteer orientation, which they have at least twice a month. Through the Charleston Animal Society, you can help animals who have been left homeless, sick, abused or neglected.

5) Charleston Surfrider

Charleston Surfrider is a grass-roots nonprofit that is committed to protecting beaches, oceans, and waterways across America. While collecting litter is a big part of their work, so is preventing it in the first place. Charleston Surfrider has successfully fought for a ban of plastic bag bans on Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Mt. Pleasant, and is currently advocating on James Island. By volunteering with them, you can do your part to protect and clean our oceans and beaches.

These are just a few of the places that you can volunteer in Charleston, SC. Volunteering is something we should all take seriously, no matter how busy we are. I have two part-time jobs, go to school full-time, and try to maintain relationships but still manage to find some time to volunteer at a few places during the week. I promise you if I can do it, so can you! Not only is volunteering fun, but it's also an excellent resume booster and looks great on job, grant, scholarship, and graduate school applications. Now is the time to get out there and make a difference!

Other volunteer opportunities:

One80 Place

Habitat for Humanity

Nature Abounds

Charleston Aquarium

Begin with Books

My Sister’s House

Lowcountry Aids Services

American Heart Association