Please note: This article was last updated in winter 2020. Please double check with organizations for the latest volunteer information.
As Mahatma Gandhi once put it, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
During this time of year, with everyone in the holiday spirit, you can see individuals starting to catch the “volunteer-bug.” In 2016, nonprofit organizations saw a 42% increase in volunteering in the fall vs. the spring.
While it can be hard to find the time (or energy) to volunteer– especially with gifts to buy + turkeys to roast– volunteering can actually help boost your energy levels. In fact, psychologists have found that taking the time to volunteer can be just as beneficial to you (the volunteer) as it is for those you are helping. Getting out + volunteering has been shown to help combat stress, anxiety, + depression.
So, as we are approaching the season of giving– we recommend taking some time to focus on helping others in our beloved community. And luckily for us, Charleston is chock-full of great organizations working to shape a better future for our city.
Scroll below for organizations hosting seasonal volunteering events and year-round opportunities that you can join today.
Charleston Habitat for Humanity
📍731 Meeting St.
⏰ 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tues.-Fri.; 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat.; closed Sun.-Mon.
❗Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit affordable housing effort, which Charleston became a part of after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Its mission is to build + restore houses for those who cannot afford it through the help of volunteers and staff.
Meals on Wheels
📍259 Meeting St.
⏰ 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Mon.-Fri.
❗Meals on Wheels is a national non-profit organization whose goal is to end senior isolation + hunger through the delivery of meals, home visits, check-ins + more.
Charleston County Parks
📍 Locations vary
⏰ Times vary
❗Charleston County Parks is dedicated to keeping Charleston’s parks beautiful and its community strong. From recruiting for upcoming programs + events to its Adopt-A-Landing program, there are tons of opportunities to give back.
Medical University of South Carolina
📍171 Ashley Ave.
⏰ Volunteer hours vary
☎ Downtown: 843-792-1414
❗Click here to see five unique volunteer opportunities through MUSC – from pet therapy programs to coffee cart volunteers.
The Blood Connection
📍5870 Core Rd., North Charleston
⏰ 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun.
❗What started off as a mobile blood drive, The Blood Connection now has a permanent brick + mortar location where you can donate blood. Read more here.
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach
📍 Downtown locations: 77 & 79 America | Johns Island location: 1684 Brownswood Dr. | St.
⏰ 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
☎ Downtown: 843-805-8064 | Johns Island: 843-559-8819
❗Our Lady of Mercy offers multiple services to families in the Lowcountry. Volunteers are most needed for the after-school program. OLM is also collecting gift cards and toiletries for their food bank.
Lowcountry Food Bank
📍2864 Azalea Dr., North Charleston
⏰ 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Mon.-Fri.
❗Lowcountry Food Bank is working to end hunger in the Charleston area. Volunteers can help in multiple areas such as the production kitchen or food distribution. Fill out a volunteer application here.
Be a Souper Hero!
📍259 Meeting St.
⏰ 2:30-4:30 p.m. every Friday through Nov. 30 (program details change monthly)
❗Volunteers help prepare soup to help feed those in need with the Stone Soup Collective.
📍Charleston Shelter: 35 Walnut St. | Veterans Housing Services: 1064 Gardner Rd., Ste. 206, West Ashley
⏰ 6:30 a.m.- 8 p.m. daily
❗One80 Place seeks to end homelessness in the Lowcountry by offering multiple services such as shelter, medical care, and legal counsel. The shelter serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner to people in need. Volunteers can sign up to help with food service individually or as a group here. One 80 Place also accepts donations– you can find out what items are needed by contacting the donation center at 843-737-8387.
Fresh Future Farm
📍2008 Success St., North Charleston
⏰ 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Tues.-Fri.; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.
❗Fresh Future Farm hosts volunteer days every third Saturday of the month, where you can help garden, harvest, + more.
Be A Mentor
📍 Location dependent on program
⏰ Time-dependent on program
❗ Be a Mentor helps kids learn + grow by connecting them to compassionate adults. Volunteers can help in multiple ways, including providing academic assistance or future career advice.
Charleston Animal Society
📍 2455 Remount Rd., North Charleston
⏰ 12-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sat.-Sun.
❗ Charleston Animal Society takes in homeless, abused, + neglected animals, and helps to find them safe + loving homes. Volunteers can help by dog-walking, socializing with the animals, + more. Fill out the application form here.
Trident Literacy Association
📍 6185-D Rivers Ave., North Charleston
⏰ 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Mon.-Thurs.
❗ The Trident Literacy Association works to combat adult illiteracy. Volunteers can help in multiple areas– including assisting in the computer lab, being a tutor, + working on special projects. To sign up, click here or call the main office at 843-747-2223.
My Sister’s House
⏰ 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Mon.-Thurs.; 9-11 a.m. Fri.
☎ 843-747-4069 admin. office, 843-744-3242 Crisis Hotline (operates 24/7)
❗My Sister’s House helps women + children who have suffered from domestic violence. Volunteers can help as a telephone counselor, shelter aide, + more. There is a big need for Spanish-speaking volunteers. Apply here.
Magdalene House of Charleston
📍1013 West Richardson Ave., Ladson
⏰ 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays; 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., Thurs.-Sat.
❗ Magdalene House is a nonprofit recovery home for women. Volunteers are most needed to help at the organization’s boutique.