Where do you volunteer? Give me some secular ideas!

Several years back I spent a lot of time volunteering for our local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I was very involved in their art program and I even made connections that led to the job I have now. I meet some amazing people and found the support I needed as a person with a mental illness.

Since then, I have worked at two nonprofits both in the mental health field.

In my previous position, I was required to drive clients to food pantries – almost all of them were at churches. Some said a prayer before passing out food. One actually made you sit through a sermon before they gave you groceries. I thought it was disgusting that they were taking advantage of very vulnerable people.

You shouldn’t help others in the name of god. You should want to help because you’re a decent human being. 

It’s no surprise that you run into a lot of religious people in “Holy Toledo”. 

I’m thinking of volunteering again and I would love to hear where you volunteer. I need some secular ideas. 

At the top of my list right now is my daughter’s school. It might be nice to meet some of the other parents and I definitely need more reasons to get out of the house. However, I may have to wait a couple months since the last week of school is literally next week.

Okay decent humans, where do you volunteer?


  1. Some Old Programmer says

    My husband volunteered for a women’s shelter (given the nature of the organization, he looked after kids rather than interacting with the abused women).

  2. StonedRanger says

    I spent three years volunteering with a patient resource medical marijuana center. One of the hardest and most fulfilling three years of my life.

  3. SchreiberBike says

    I deliver Meals on Wheels and edit Wikipedia. Both make the world a little bit of a better place and have no religious connection. I’ve even delivered Meals on Wheels with my granddaughter and both she and the recipients got a thrill out of that. Volunteering at your kids’ school has a host of benefits in addition to helping them; you get to know the teachers and support staff and maybe some of the other kids.

  4. Katydid says

    I agree with all the options above and also suggest a local animal shelter. There are so many opportunities! Think about which would be most impactful for you, and leap right in.

  5. Trickster Goddess says

    For the past 18 years I’ve been volunteering for a monthly community newspaper. I design ads for local businesses. The paper is published by a non-profit society. I am also on the board of directors.

  6. Muscadine says

    When school is out, local libraries might have summer programs with anything from science projects to crafting to movie nights for the kids. Often they just need a few people to step up, make a plan, and collect some cheap materials like paper cups and craft sticks.

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