Giving Back: Service and Volunteer Opportunities in the Iowa City Area

It’s the season of giving! Now is a great time to learn more about Iowa City area organizations that serve our neighbors and community both during the holiday season and year-round. There are many ways to give back through volunteering, donations, and charitable giving.

If you are in the position to share your talents and/or time, consider building a relationship with one of the outstanding nonprofits on this list. Many offer a variety of ways to get involved! Thank you to our good friends at The Bails Team Urban Acres Real Estate for making this guide possible. Their team values philanthropy and want to make these opportunities known throughout the local community.

Service and Volunteer Opportunities in the Iowa City Area

Graphic: Guide to Holiday Service and Giving Back in the Iowa City Area“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” — Muhammad Ali

American Cancer Society Russell and Ann Gerdin Hope Lodge

Volunteers help make Hope Lodge communities a true home away from home. Volunteers may choose from a variety of opportunities and activities that fit your skills and interests. You can volunteer for a single day or be a longer-term volunteer, and you can volunteer by yourself or with a group.

The Arc of Southeast Iowa

The Arc of Southeast Iowa offers services to individuals with developmental disabilities. You’ll make a difference in the lives of more than 500 clients and families by sharing your time and talents. Your contributions help enrich the quality of programming, advocacy, education, caregiver support, and more — right here in southeast Iowa.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County

Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is one of the most enjoyable things you’ll ever do. Not to mention one of the most fulfilling. You can help shape a child’s future for the better by empowering children to become the best versions of themselves. And the best part is that it’s a lot of fun!

The Bird House, Hospice Home of Johnson County

During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Bird House is limiting the number of volunteers coming into the home. However, it needs volunteers to sign up to bring meals to the Bird House through Meal Train. In addition, volunteers can help with outdoor tasks such as gardening and helping with maintenance of the outside of the home.


ChildServe has many volunteer opportunities like reading to kids, playing games, preparing or helping with a craft and exciting annual events like the Trunk or Treat and Kid’s Week. It welcomes energetic, enthusiastic individuals and groups who pass our background check process and complete the volunteer application.

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

Each year, volunteers donate more than 30,000 hours of their time to CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank. It has many opportunities, and you don’t have to choose just one. Only one application is needed for consideration of multiple positions.

Coralville Community Food Pantry

The Coralville Community Food Pantry relies heavily on volunteer power to provide food assistance to Coralville residents. Last year, over 150 individuals volunteered their time in some way at the food pantry, and there are always plenty of opportunities to help.

Crowded Closet

All the profits of the Crowded Closet go to support Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) world relief, service and development programs, as well as local community relief agencies. Over 300 regular volunteers support all thrift shop operations throughout donation processing and the retail floor. ​

Domestic Violence Intervention Program

DVIP relies on the help of dedicated individuals in our communities to help support survivors of domestic violence. Volunteering is a meaningful way to address the impact of intimate partner violence in our own communities.

Girls on the Run 

The Girls on the Run 5K would not be possible without the help of amazing volunteers who believe in this mission and show up to support our girls. Whatever your special skills and talents, Girls on the Run has a role for everyone.


HACAP is a community action agency serving nine counties in eastern Iowa. Every year, well over 2,000 volunteers are helping HACAP to build stronger communities. Volunteer projects include packing food boxes, sorting donated food items, mobile food pantries, and food donation pick-ups.

Houses into Homes 

Its mission — to help people feel the comforts of home by providing a comfortable place to sleep, sit, and eat — is only possible with the support and service of wonderful community members like you!

Iowa Children’s Museum

Volunteers are critical to the success of The Iowa Children’s Museum. Adult and youth volunteer opportunities are available to accommodate a wide variety of interests and availabilities. The museum requires all volunteers be at least 14 years old.

Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center

Volunteers make all the difference in the world to the animals at the center. Volunteers provide the animals with responsive and positive human contact, exercise and relief from their kennels and cages.

Iowa City Free Lunch Program

The Free Lunch Program of Iowa City serves meals from noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday, all year long. Volunteers help make Free Lunch possible and serve in any number of roles: help a serving team, clean part of the kitchen, work on a food drive, come have lunch and visit with the guests

Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center

Volunteering with Friends of The Center provides you with engaging opportunities to strengthen The Center and its services, enrich the lives of seniors and contribute to the vitality of our community as a whole.

Iowa City Public Library 

Adults and teens (Grade 7 and up) are eligible to participate in the volunteer program. Current openings are often posted in the library’s lobby.

Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity 

When you invest your time with Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity, you help build strength, stability, and self-reliance.

North Liberty Community Pantry

Volunteers are essential to our mission of feeding and clothing our neighbors. The volunteer team keeps the pantry running smoothly by doing everything from bagging groceries to stocking shelves to doing administrative work.

Oaknoll Retirement Residence 

Oaknoll’s mission is to provide exceptional retirement living and health services through LifeCare. To help provide this exceptional level of service, Oaknoll is seeking caring, competent, and dependable volunteers to become a part of our growing volunteer program.

Rape Victim Advocacy Program

RVAP offers volunteer positions in direct service (in person and crisis line advocacy), prevention, our rural service area, and in our Queer Health Advocates Program.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois 

The Ronald McDonald House relies on our volunteers to help keep the house a clean, warm and welcoming place for families. Volunteer duties include cleaning, laundry, errands, preparing guest rooms, sorting donations, driving the shuttle van to/from the hospital, and helping with special events.

The Salvation Army Central Territory

The Salvation Army offers volunteer opportunities for individuals as well as opportunities for group projects. Independent volunteering is a great way to meet new people while helping others, and group projects serve as wonderful team-building activities for established groups or clubs.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign

The funds you raise as a Salvation Army bell ringer will make a year-round impact in the community through social services assistance, homeless shelters, disaster relief, children’s programs, rehabilitation services, anti-human trafficking, and more.


Shelter House volunteers selflessly donate over 2,500 hours of their time and talent each year and are the backbone of its daily work. When you volunteer at Shelter House, you solve problems, strengthen communities, connect to others, and improve lives.

Table to Table 

The mission of Table to Table is to keep food from going to waste by collecting and distributing to those in need through agencies that serve the hungry, homeless, and at-risk populations. Volunteers are essential to this mission. Each day, they are keeping great food from going to waste through their efforts. Many volunteer opportunities are available.

Toys for Tots

Volunteers are needed! Opportunities include toy pick-up, sorting, packing, and distribution.

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics 

Volunteers can be found throughout University of Iowa Health Care making a difference in the lives of patients, visitors, and staff every day. The services provided by volunteers complement the skills of faculty and staff, and improve the overall experience of our patients and their families.

More Opportunities in the Iowa City Area

Thank you for considering the many service and volunteer opportunities in the Iowa City area.

About Our Sponsor

A photo of the Urban Acres Bails TeamHiring The Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate means you’ll have access to the real estate expertise you need anytime, anywhere. This real estate team includes Mike Bails, Phil O’Brien, Marcy Willier, Chelsey Riggan, Matt VandeBerg, and Briley McAtee. Together, they have over 50 years of combined experience and a deep understanding of the entire residential and commercial real estate picture in the Iowa City area – it’s what they like to call a panoramic view of real estate. If you are ready to buy or sell, give them a call today and tell them Iowa City Moms sent you!

More Holiday Fun in Iowa City

Ultimate Guide to the Holidays in Iowa City | 2021

Susie is a mom of two, book-lover and frequent challah baker. In addition to working at The University of Iowa, Susie is a PTA volunteer and sorority advisor. She loves date nights in the Ped Mall, catching a show at the Englert, and most of all, cuddling her family on the couch.


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