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Lending a Hand in Austin

Ways to Give Back to the Local Community


Want to do something good for the Austin community and the surrounding areas? There are all kinds of ways to lend a hand. From food banks to women’s shelters to Lower Colorado River Authority clean ups, there are plenty of ways for you to pitch in to better your city. Below is a list of places that regularly seek volunteers. Why not give it a shot? You might just learn a little bit about yourself while you’re doing something good for others.

United Way Capital Area

The United Way Capital Area oversees an area made up of 10 counties, collaborating with nonprofit agencies to give financial, volunteer and advocacy support to all ages, races and backgrounds. Because of the number of people the United Way helps, they are always in need of volunteers who can spare an hour to deliver meals, lead a financial literary class or read at a nursing home. Check the Web site for a full list of opportunities. Multiple opportunities in town; (512) 472-6267; www.unitedwaycapitalarea.org.


This organization is dedicated to finding new ways to raise awareness of various cancers and increasing the outreach and collaborative opportunities within the community. And they need your help. Volunteers are always being accepted for office work as well as night and weekend events. Check the Web site for more information. 2201 E. 6th St.; (877) 236-8820; www.livestrong.org.

Capital Area Food Bank of Texas

The largest hunger-relief organization in Central Texas, the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas provides nutrition education, food stamp outreach and food and grocery products for 300,000 people a year. To do that, they need a lot of manpower. Sound interesting? Sign up to be a volunteer. You can sort donations, serve clients, teach classes and work at special events. Volunteers must be at least 8 years old. 8201 S. Congress Ave.; (512) 282-2111; www.austinfoodbank.org.

Austin Animal Center

Offering help to more than 23,00 animals each year, this is the largest animal shelter in central Texas. It’s an open intake facility, meaning that no animal is turned away, which also means there’s loads of work to do. That’s where volunteers come in. If you are at least 13 years old, you can register to become a volunteer at the shelter, where you can work in cat behavior, potty patrol, dog wellness, customer care or data entry, among others. Check the Web site for forms and information. The shelter is open Monday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St.; www.ci.austin.tx.us/health/pets/.

Special Olympics Texas

Providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in 22 sports such as aquatics, bowling, figure skating, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and more, Special Olympics is always looking for volunteers to help out in a variety of capacities. Be a coach, serve refreshments or simply cheer at a major event – it’ll mean something to these remarkable athletes. 7715 Chevy Chase Dr. Suite 120; (512) 835-9873; www.sotx.org.
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