Volunteer Opportunities for Elementary School

We are looking for kid-friendly volunteer opportunities for 6 and 8 year olds.  We have connections for beach + shoreline clean-ups, but are looking for additional ways to help give back to our local community (Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Alameda) in a hands-on, age-appropriate way.  Ideas and referrals to organizations welcome.  Thanks!

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Not an organization, but there's a few Town Fridges across Oakland that can always use self-guided volunteers to keep them clean and stocked with food, whether store-bought or homemade. The Town Fridge project started in Oakland during the pandemic and is basically what it sounds like -- working fridges on the sidewalk in various neighborhoods, for anyone to leave food or take food. There's no central organizational authority (just kind individuals and organizations who host the fridges on their utility bills); either folks help or they don't. 

The official Town Fridge instagram https://www.instagram.com/townfridge/ has been defunct for a while but the fridges are still frequently used, and Community Kitchens Oakland https://www.instagram.com/ckoakland/ has recently started running trainings for home chefs to make and stock meals for the fridges. I've found this has been a great volunteer project for me and my kid because we can do it whenever fits our schedule, and we take care to keep the freezer at our local fridge stocked with bottled water during heat waves. One note: if you're looking for the one in North Oakland, the fridge has moved a block away from its old location and is now at 59th and Vallejo.

Contra Costa/Solano Food bank allows elementary school kids to help out (mostly in Concord and Fairfield) and the shifts are short and perfect for 6 and 8 year olds.

Also, you might sign up with this incredible resource that we have loved:


Project Peace East Bay Day of Service.    It comes up every few months, and is a great way to volunteer.     The next one is on June 24th, 2023.

Project Peace is a faith-based organization, but the Day of Service is not religious in nature.  I learned about it when they held a Day of Service at my child's BUSD elementary school, so we jumped in, and it was great. The way to find out about their upcoming days of service is to subscribe to their email newsletter, which is very occasional and doesn't destroy my inbox   https://www.projectpeaceeastbay.org

Also, sometimes it is the little things that count, like picking up trash on a walk around your own block or at the playground.  If we all pick up a little trash, it can keep a lot of those microplastics from flowing into storm drains, which flow to the bay and ocean.  It also teaches stewardship for when your kids get older, so they are less likely to forget to pick up their own trash,  a very common problem that I see in my work and social life and general societal interactions among people of all ages. 

In Kindergarten through 5th grade, my husband and kid volunteered with their classroom teacher to clean the desks in the classroom before the morning bell  about once or twice per week.   It made a huge difference in the wellness of the kids in that class (seemed to be fewer colds anecdotally), which contributed to learning.  It was easy to do... our supply bucket was a stack of clean rags and a spay bottle with an easily refillable, nontoxic homemade solution of something like dish soap/vinegar/salt from a recipe found online.  The teachers really appreciated it, and the other teachers may have been a bit jealous.  It was a very simple act that made a long-term impact on my kid learning how to see a need, pitch in, and help out.