Here are some creative ways to volunteer in the Tri-Cities

There are plenty of ways to volunteer around the Tri-Cities, from food drives to classroom work to caring for the area’s many trail systems.
There are plenty of ways to volunteer around the Tri-Cities, from food drives to classroom work to caring for the area’s many trail systems. Tri-City Herald

Imagine what it would be like if everyone of us volunteered now and then to help others in the community.

There are numerous creative ways to help out. Just a few hours each week, or even each month, can help make our community a better place.

So first, what do you love?

Is it animals, your hobby, cars, technology, hiking, water skiing, babies? Do you play music? Whatever it is, there are people who can utilize your interest, devotion, and energy in that area.

Now find out who in the Tri-Cities does what you love?

Search online and use your imagination. You will find all sorts of opportunities to connect with people who appreciate what you love the most.

Be creative. Yes, there are well-established organizations that help people in the community. But there are also hundreds of lesser-known groups, clubs and organizations who will gladly take on volunteers.

Volunteering can be rewarding for high schoolers who need to satisfy community service requirements. It could lead to internships and job offers.

All the school districts in Tri-Cities welcome volunteers to help out in classrooms, at school events and on field trips.

Kadlec Medical Center, Trios Hospital and Lourdes Hospital all have volunteer programs ranging from clerical work and mail delivery to caring for patients’ pets.

One of the best sources for volunteers is The Tri-Cities Guide online, with more than 200 non-profit organizations seeking help: tri-citiesguide.org/volunteer-opportunities.htm.

Here are just a few of the many organizations where you can volunteer in the Tri-Cities area:

Second Harvest, Pasco: Operates a food sorting and distribution program that feeds thousands of people. Even children as young as 5 with an accompanying adult can help out with daytime and evening food sorts at the volunteer center in Pasco.

The arts: The Academy of Children’s Theatre, the Richland Players, Hanford High School and Columbia Basin College Theatre Arts Program welcome volunteers to help with the productions and work behind the scenes, from carpentry to hair and makeup.

Friends of Badger: Trail work and maintenance on the miles of trails they have built for the public to use. If you love dogs, be a trail angel and pick up the poop and bags left by others.

The parks: The Richland, Kennewick and Pasco parks departments have adopt-a-park programs to maintain a section of the park or even the entire park.

Libraries: Richland, Kennewick and Pasco libraries need help assisting people in the library and shelving books, as well as delivering books to homebound readers. And they are flexible on hours.

Domestic Violence Services of Benton and Franklin Counties: Filling food boxes, collecting and sorting donations, yard work and household projects like painting and cleaning. Also, working with women and children at the shelter, and helping answer the crisis line or provide support at court.

Educational Services District 123 in Pasco: From retired professionals to those still working, volunteers are needed to give students an insight to different career opportunities.

Junior Achievement: Mentors, classroom volunteers and interns are needed to support programs designed to teach students about business and economics, financial literacy, and career development.

Make-A-Wish: Needs bilingual volunteers to work with children battling life-threatening medical conditions.

There are many more organizations in the area that need your help. Find one that is the right fit.

Paul Krupin is an avid local hiking enthusiast, retired environmental specialist, and a member of the Intermountain Alpine Club (IMAC). He is a regular columnist in the Herald. He can be reached at pjkrupin@gmail.com.