Holiday Service and Volunteer Opportunities in the Iowa City Area

The season of giving is upon us! Now is the perfect time to give back to the community and causes that you care about. Volunteering can be a good way to connect as a family and teach your kids that it’s never too early to make a positive impact on the world around them.Service and volunteer opportunities in Iowa City for the holidaysHere are some of the ways your family can volunteer and give back this holiday season:

Holiday Food Drives

Food insecurity is a serious problem, and there are several organizations working to address this problem in our community.

CommUnity Project Holiday

CommUnity Project Holiday provides free holiday meals to families in need. The organization is looking for volunteers to distribute the meals and/or cover the cost of purchasing the food. A donation of $25.00 will cover the cost of a meal for one local family.  (I’ve volunteered for this program several times and it’s an extremely rewarding experience!) Donate or sign up here.

Coralville Community Food Pantry

You can learn more about volunteer and donation opportunities here.

North Liberty Community Food Pantry

View volunteer opportunities and donation needs here.

Basic needs

Our local shelters provide critical services that are especially important during cold Iowa winters.

Iowa City Shelter House

Shelter House provides help for individuals experiencing homelessness. You can view ways to volunteer and/or donate here.

Iowa City Animal Shelter

Don’t forget our furry friends! Volunteering or donating to the animal shelter can be a very fun and rewarding experience for kids. Donation and volunteer information can be found here.


The holidays are often stressful and challenging for families in crisis situations. Learn more about DVIP’s work in the community and ways you can donate or get involved. 

Toys for Tots

Donating a toy can be a wonderful way to teach kids about generosity and service during the holidays. Learn more about how to donate or request a toy here.


We are lucky to live in a community with fantastic hospitals and healthcare. Let’s spread a little holiday cheer at our local hospitals to those who might really need something to smile about.

University of Iowa Children’s Hospital

Spending the holidays in the hospital can be challenging for anyone, but for kids it can be especially rough. UIHC  has a wish list of items that help make hospital stays a little easier on the kids.


The hospital has many special projects that could use your help.  Collecting food, books, or movies for patients; knitting, sewing or crocheting; and lots more. There are many projects you can do together as a family or on your own.

Ronald McDonald House

Sign up for the Casserole Club and help give families staying away from home while a loved one is in the hospital a delicious hot meal or collect items from the House’s holiday wish list to donate.

Military and Veterans

Our military service men and women work around the clock all over the world to keep us safe. The holidays are the perfect time to say thank you for all of their service and sacrifice.

Operation Gratitude:

You and your children can write letters of appreciation to new recruits, active military, or veterans. Holiday letters need to be sent a few month in advance, but letters of appreciation are accepted all year round.

VA Hospital:

Send holiday greeting cards to the VA Hospital to thank local vets for their service. Send your cards (no glitter or political messages, please) to Voluntary Service (135), 601 Highway 6 West, Iowa City, IA 52246. You can find details here, along with a list of the VA hospital’s other needs.

Other Service and Volunteer Opportunities

If you’re looking for other volunteer opportunities be sure to check out the United Way of Johnson and Washington County. Their website has a very long list of ways to be involved in the community–not just during the holidays, but all year round.

Do you know of another great service opportunity? Please leave a comment and let us know!

Our Ultimate Guide to Holidays in Iowa City offers answers to all your holiday questions, from Christmas Light Displays to Santa Sightings and more!November and December family events in the Iowa City areaSanta Sightings: Where to see Santa in Iowa CityBest Places to see Christmas Lights Displays around Iowa City areaChristmas tree farms near Iowa CityHanukkah Menu and Recipes

Holiday Movie BINGO

Holiday Music Playlist



Meghann is the mom of 5 kids. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an Owner/Partner at Brand Driven Digital. Meghann was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2017 and is currently serving her first term. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coralville Community Food Pantry (Vice-Chair) and on the DVIP Board of Directors. She is also a member of Johnson County's Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Policy Board. Meghann is passionate about her family, her community, and is a proud pop culture nerd.


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