In a world of sensationalized news, there seems to relentless effort to pound the us into submission with all the bad things going on: Wars, budget battles, murders, terrorist attacks, hate crimes, and countless other things assault our senses.
It’s hard not to get overwhelmed.
There is a solution to this wave of negativity, however: Take some time and volunteer. This study from helpguide.org shows that benefits from volunteering can have mental and physical benefits, connect you to others, and can even help advance your career while bringing a little fun and fulfillment into your life.
The following are just a few opportunities in the Twin Cities area; maybe you’ll decide to spread some good and improve the world just a little.
Animal Humane Society
Location: 1115 Beulah Lane, Saint Paul, MN 55108
(651) 645-7387 Ext. 105
Talk to the folks at the St. Paul Animal Humane Society and volunteer doing a wide range of tasks. Take a four legged friend for a walk, pet the cats and kittens, socialize with all the animals, help clean cages, or make sure everyone has food and water. Just be careful because you could go in as a volunteer and walk about with a new fur baby.
Feed My Starving Children(FMSC)
Locations: Chanhassen, Eagan, and Coon Rapids
FMSC was founded in 1987 and is a Christian faith non-profit that allows people to come in individually or as a group and pack lunches for people not only in the United States but across the world. There is also a volunteer opportunity to travel with FMSC and hand out the very lunches you helped pack, or help organize and run a MobilePack event in a location outside their permanent building locations. Sign up through their Volunteer Website above.
Meals on Wheels
Location: Multiple around the state
Meals on Wheels for the Twin cities is known as Metro Meals on Wheels and is an association of 32 Meals on Wheels in the Twin Cities and metro area. Here you’ll help seniors and those with disabilities get the nutritious meals they might be otherwise be deprived of. Along with delivering the meal, you will also give people often confined to their homes some social connection; I’ve done this myself and it is very rewarding. It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside that usually only comes from watching Disney movies…
If you would like you can even do it as a family or setup a Workplace Meals on Wheels program that allows different employees to participate on a rotating schedule.
Location: 8161 Normandale Blvd, Bloomington, MN 55437
Phone 952.838.9000 | Toll-free: 800.537.2237
Was Jim Henson a hero of yours? Do you want to work with kids and deliver a message against bullying? Then volunteering at the Pacer Center is the perfect fit for you. They will teach you how to puppeteer and present their message of Disability Awareness and Anti-Bullying. You’ll get to work with a fun group of people, work with kids, and spread a message that simply makes the world a better place for our youth.
The Minnesota Zoo
Location: 13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley, MN 55124
Phone: 952.431.9200, 1.800.366.7811
24-hour information line: 952.431.9500
Volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo and help guests in the gift shop, explain exhibits, help on the farm, and many other opportunities. There Note: Some of the volunteer opportunities require a commitment of working at least one day per week for year.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Location: 1225 Estabrook Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55103
Volunteer and Intern Services 651-487-8252
Head on over to the zoo and explore all the opportunities to volunteer; from being an interpreter and talking about exhibits to greeting people as they come in, as well as working in the Conservatory, there is bound to be a position that fits your interests and schedule. You can even assist with some of the day camps that take place or help the zoo keepers with food for the animals.
Yes, you can feed the animals.
That in itself is amazing.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Location: Sites across Minnesota
There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer with the Minnesota DNR. You’ll get to work outside in most cases and get your hands dirty; the perfect way to spend time outdoors while helping out one of Minnesota’s most important departments. Volunteer opportunities range from pulling wild parsnips, safety instruction, building field desks, hosting a camp ground, measuring the level of lakes… The list goes on and on and on.
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
Location:1954 University Ave. W, St. Paul, MN 55104
You can help with painting someone’s house in their Brush of Kindness program. You can help build a families new house and learn a bit about home construction along the way. There is no experience necessary: All you need to have is a willingness to help people in need.