Are you moving to San Francisco for work or school? Do you want to get familiar with your new city? One of the best ways to get acquainted with your new surroundings and make new friends is by volunteering. There are dozens of opportunities to volunteer in San Francisco. Many of the volunteer organizations mentioned in this article don’t ask for a long-term commitment. So, if your schedule only permits a few hours here and there, or one day a month, there are options.

Moving to a new city can present its challenges. The list of to-dos can seem never-ending. Yet, when you move into a turnkey apartment like those provided by Blueground, your to-do list becomes much shorter. And by settling in easier, it frees up time to volunteer and gives back to your new home.


One Brick

woman volunteering to help a child read

One Brick is a perfect option for first-time residents of San Francisco. They offer many types of different volunteer opportunities to serve local nonprofits in the city. And long-term commitment is not required. So, if you are only going to be in San Francisco for a short while, this is a great benefit. Also, the atmosphere at the events is both social and friendly. After the event, the entire group of volunteers grabs food or coffee to get to know one another. Social events are also hosted for volunteers as a way to connect with others and become part of the community. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. You can go to their website, view their calendar of events, and click a button to RSVP. It’s that easy. Each event is inspiring, impactful, and most of all fun for all those involved. Examples of volunteer events include the following activities: food distribution, gardening, making care packages for the homeless, working with children, and more. Volunteering with One Brick is very flexible.

There are other chapters located in major cities across America. So, if your job or future life plans takes you elsewhere, volunteering with One Brick is still possible. Currently, the other chapters are Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Washington D.C. Interested in this organization? Check out One Brick here.


826 Valencia

This nonprofit’s mission is to serve under-resourced students ages six to 18. Their focus is to enhance students’ creative abilities and writing skills. Additionally, 826 Valencia helps teachers encourage their students to enjoy and love the art of writing.

Students get one-on-one attention because greater improvements in learning can happen this way. 826 Valencia believes possessing strong writing skills are fundamental for the students’ future success.

There are two centers, one in the Mission District and the other in the Tenderloin District. People who volunteer with 826 Valencia describe their experience as fun and rewarding. And the opportunities to help out are flexible and varied. Volunteering around your schedule is possible. All you need to do first is decide what kind of volunteering you’re interested in.

At the moment, their biggest need is to help tutor students. The good news is, they provide all the training and support needed. So, as long as you have the interest, you can become a great tutor with their guidance.

Also, if you have any design, illustration, or photography experience they can use your help here as well. For more information about volunteering, visiting their website.


Food Runners

Food Runners’ mission is to reduce hunger in San Francisco. They also focus on waste prevention and bringing people together to create community. Through this organization, food donors, volunteers, and recipients are all able to connect. Food Runners picks up more than 17 tons of food each week from companies who planned to throw it away. With this food and other donations, 20,000 meals are provided to members of the San Francisco community every week.

Mary, the founder of Food Runners says, “The volunteers who pick up and deliver the food have an immediate sense of helping others. And the recipients have tangible proof that their fellow San Franciscans care.”

If you volunteer in San Francisco with Food Runners, the commitment is only one hour a week. And you can either become a “regular runner” or an “on-call runner.” Everyone is welcome, here’s how you sign-up.


Performing Arts Workshop

Established in 1965, this nonprofit helps young people develop important life skills through the arts. Each year, the Performing Arts Workshop provides art lessons and instruction to 4,200 students ages three to 18. Art instruction includes dance, music, poetry, and theater. The Workshop offers its services to students who don’t have an art program at school.

Much success and recognition have come to this organization. UNESCO, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Arts recognized them for their work. And the City of San Francisco honored them for their commitment to youth education.

Volunteering with the Performing Arts Workshop is flexible. You can either volunteer for one-day opportunities or become an ongoing volunteer. Find out more information here.


Friends of the Urban Forest

group of volunteers planting a tree

Friends of the Urban Forest work to promote green infrastructure in San Francisco’s community. They plant trees, tend to the trees, educate the community on agriculture, and advocate for a sustainable environment. By keeping the community “green” the city is more beautiful, the air becomes cleaner, and polluted stormwater runoff gets reduced. Trees get planted in the streets of neighborhoods and in sidewalk gardens.

For almost 40 years, Friends of the Urban Forest have planted more than 60,000 trees. This number makes up about half of the city’s total tree population. Volunteering in San Francisco with Friends of the Urban Forest is possible for all ages and skill levels. And previous experience is not required. Visit the events calendar to RSVP for an event.

Giving back to an organization in your city can help you feel connected to your community. This list can serve as a good starting point when considering places to volunteer in San Francisco.

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