How to give back in Philly: Ways to volunteer, donate, and support local groups – The Philadelphia Inquirer

How to support Philadelphia’s in-need communities through monetary donations, food donations, volunteering, and more.
Ready to give back?
There are many, many local organizations that are working to provide vulnerable communities throughout Philadelphia with the necessities they need. There are groups that provide shelter to those experiencing homelessness, organizations that collect clothing for people who need it, groups that serve meals to the food insecure, groups that provide support to school-aged children, and more.
And, there are many ways you can support these groups by donating your time, your money, and new or gently used items. Organizations that give back to the community are always looking for help, whether that means donating or volunteering, or both.
Here are some groups to get you started. Find one that you’re passionate about, and find ways to help them year round.
Homeless shelters and local organizations need volunteers, clothing and monetary donations all year round to support Philadelphia’s unhoused community. Most shelters and organizations have lists of items they accept and don’t accept (you can find a list in our guide on winter donations here). Here are some groups to get you started:
The Bethesda Project annually serves more than 1,400 men and women experiencing homelessness. πŸ“ Multiple locations, πŸ“ž 513-280-2236, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 bethesdaproject.org/in-kind-donations
The Broad Street Ministry helps Philadelphians living in poverty with meals and social services. πŸ“ 315 S. Broad St., πŸ“ž 215-735-4847, βœ‰οΈ [email protected] 🌐 broadstreetministry.org
Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia builds housing for those who need it; to date, the group has built 240 homes and repaired nearly 700 in Philly.πŸ“ 1829 N. 19th St., πŸ“ž 215-765-6000, 🌐 habitatphiladelphia.org
People’s Emergency Center supports families and youths experiencing homelessness, the People’s Emergency Center offers housing, social services, access to early childhood education, and educational programs in career training, parenting, financial literacy, life skills, and technology.πŸ“ 325 N. 39th St., πŸ“ž 267-777-5800, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 pec-cares.org
Potter’s House Mission is a nonprofit, community-based organization that provides transitional housing for homeless women with children and social services to the communities in West and Southwest Philadelphia and parts of North Philadelphia.πŸ“ 524-26 South 52nd St., πŸ“ž 215-747-7477, βœ‰οΈ [email protected] 🌐 pottershousemission.org
Project HOME helps adults, children, and families break the cycle of homelessness and poverty through subsidized housing, adult learning, and workforce training, and social enterprise programming. πŸ“ 1515 Fairmount Ave., πŸ“ž 215-232-7272, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 projecthome.org
Saint John’s Hospice is a Catholic Social Services shelter for men in Center City. Services include providing meals, showers, mail room services, case management, medical assistance, counseling, and emergency shelter. πŸ“ 1221 Race St., πŸ“ž 215-563-7763, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 saintjohnshospice.org
Youth Service Inc. is a nonprofit that provides immediate shelter and support services to children, teens, and families in Philadelphia. πŸ“ 410 N. 34th St., πŸ“ž 215-222-3262, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 ysiphilly.org
Β» READ MORE: Where to donate to help people experiencing homelessness in Philly
Many organizations throughout Philadelphia will happily accept your unwanted items β€” everything from furniture and appliances to books and electronics β€” so they don’t just end up going to waste in a landfill. In fact, we have a full guide that details what groups will accept and what work those donations help fund. Local organizations have specific instructions regarding what they accept and don’t accept, but you’ll likely be able to find a local place to donate your unwanted clutter. These donations support some of the most vulnerable communities in Philadelphia, including Afghan evacuees, people escaping domestic violence, people who cannot afford gender-affirming clothes, and people who have were recently incarcerated. Read our full guide here.
Β» READ MORE: Where to donate furniture in Philadelphia
Moms Bonded By Grief helps support kids who have lost parents due to gun violence. The group accepts donations at 1920 S. 20th St., Phila, PA 19145 or cash app $MBBG2017
The Donte Wylie Foundation works to provide β€œa safe space for survivors of violence, individuals who caused harm, and community members to collectively heal and explore workable solutions to reduce gun violence.” Donate via the group’s website or through The Donte Wylie Foundation, P.O. Box 20130, Philadelphia PA, 19145 πŸ“ž 267-329-9338, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 thedontewyliefoundation.com
Northwest Victim Services supports victims of crime and their families in Northwest Philadelphia.πŸ“6023 Germantown Ave., πŸ“ž 215-438-4410, 🌐 northwestvictimservices.org
EMIR Healing Center provides support to families and friends who have lost a loved one to homicide.πŸ“59 E. Haines St., πŸ“ž 215-848-4068, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 emirphilly.org
The Monkey and the Elephant cafe accepts donations for their Employment Training Program. It’s a year-long employment training program for youth aging out of the foster care system.πŸ“2831 W. Girard Ave., πŸ“ž 267-457-5334, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 themonkeyandtheelephant.org
Valley Youth House helps youth β€œachieve their desired future through genuine relationships that support families, ensure safe places, and build community connections.β€πŸ“Multiple locations, πŸ“ž 610-820-0166 ex. 1318, 🌐 valleyyouthhouse.org
Covenant House β€œprovides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness.β€πŸ“31 E. Armat St., πŸ“ž 215-951-5411, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 covenanthousepa.org
YSI Philly β€œprovides immediate shelter and support services to children, youth and families, YSI offers unique programs and niche services throughout the city, including Philadelphia’s only Crisis Nursery program and the longest standing shelter for runaway and homeless teens.β€πŸ“ Multiple locations, πŸ“ž 215-222-3262, 🌐 ysiphilly.org
Mighty Writers is a literacy group that has reading and writing programs for school-aged children of all ages. They also provide food to children who need it.πŸ“ 1501 Christian St., πŸ“ž 267-239-0899, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 mightywriters.org
YEAH Philly provides teens with a safe space and helps them address and stop the β€œcycle of youth community violence in West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods.β€πŸ“5257 Walton Ave., πŸ“ž 267-892-3538, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 yeahphilly.org
Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network addresses drug use and violence in teens by providing support to youth and their families.πŸ“2700 N. 17th St., πŸ“ž 215-940-0550, 🌐 paan1989.org
NoMo Foundation provides children, K-12, with information about healthy lifestyle choices.πŸ“925 N. Broad St., πŸ“ž 267-807-1120, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 nomofoundation.wixsite.com
The Attic Youth Center offers mental health counseling for LGBTQ youth and young adults up to age 23, as well as their families/caregivers. πŸ“255 S 16th St., πŸ“ž 215-545-4331, 🌐 atticyouthcenter.org
100 Black Men of Philadelphia aims to β€œimprove the quality of life within our communities and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans.β€πŸ“ 1324 W. Clearfield St., πŸ“ž 267-238-2900 ext. 3, 🌐 100blackmenphilly.org
Mary’s Daughter for the Formerly Incarcerated advocates for and supports Black women, non-binary people, and trans people who are either formerly or currently incarcerated. 🌐 dignityactnow.org
Institute for the Development of African American Youth supports local teens and children by providing them with educational, cultural, intervention, and intervention programs to help reduce violence in communities.πŸ“P.O. Box 2061, πŸ“ž 215-235-9110, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 idaay.org
Philadelphia Black Giving Circle provides resources to β€œBlack-led and Black-serving organizations providing joy, healing, and liberating the Black community.” 🌐 phillyblackgiving.org
Uhuru supports the African People’s Education & Defense Fund (APEDF), a national nonprofit, through sales at its N. Broad St. shop, flea markets, volunteer events, and more. It’s locations and flea markets β€œbuild African economic and cultural marketplaces [that] contribute to community commerce and African economic self-reliance.β€œπŸ“832 N. Broad St., πŸ“ž 215-546-9616, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 uhurufurniturephilly.blogspot.com
Mazzoni Center provides health and wellness and gender-affirming care to its community of patients.πŸ“1348 Bainbridge St., πŸ“ž 215-563-0652, 🌐 mazzonicenter.org
The William Way LGBT Community Center supports the LGBTQ community in Philadelphia through arts and culture, empowerment, and community connections. πŸ“1315 Spruce St., πŸ“ž 215-732-2220, 🌐 waygay.org
The COLOURS Organization offers motivational support groups, mental health services, and youth services focused on LGBTQ people of color. πŸ“1211 Chestnut St., πŸ“ž 215-832-0100, 🌐 coloursorganization.org
The Attic Youth Center is a LGBTQ youth center that provides young people with a safe space and supportive community. πŸ“255 S. 16th St., πŸ“ž 215-545-4331, 🌐 [email protected]
Galaei β€œis a Queer and Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC) radical social justice organization” who’s mission is to fight systemic oppression and racism while creating opportunities, access, sexual empowerment, and economic development for its community. πŸ“118 Fontain St., πŸ“ž 215-398-5003, 🌐 galaeiqtbipoc.org
Philly AIDS Thrift raises funds and supports the AIDS Fund, along with local HIV/AIDS service providers. πŸ“710 S. Fifth St., πŸ“ž 215-922-3186, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 phillyaidsthrift.com
The following organizations welcome monetary donations that go toward programs and items that help benefit refugees and newcomers arriving to Philadelphia.
The Nationalities Service Center helps newcomers to Philadelphia by β€œempowering immigrants to thrive in our communities and pursue a just future.β€πŸ“1216 Arch St., πŸ“ž 215-893-8400, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 nscphila.org
HIAS Pennsylvania helps resettle β€œAfghan and Haitian individuals seeking safety and assist those applying for legal status.β€πŸ“600 Chestnut St., Suite 500B, πŸ“ž 215-832-0900, 🌐 hiaspa.org
Donate your time to organizations that serve food to the hungry, prepare meals for those fighting life-threatening diseases, and more.
The Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission has been serving people experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia for more than 130 years. πŸ“ 302 N. 13th St., πŸ“ž 215-922-6400, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 sundaybreakfast.org
MANNA brings food and aid to people at acute nutritional risk from life-threatening diseases.πŸ“ 420 N. 20th St., πŸ“ž 215-496-2662, 🌐 mannapa.org
Share Food Program delivers food to more than 1 million people in the region each month.πŸ“ 2901 W. Hunting Park Ave., πŸ“ž 215-223-2220, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 sharefoodprogram.org
Philabundance’s South Philly Hunger Relief Center frequently posts new opportunities, and is looking for volunteers throughout the year. πŸ“ 3616 S. Galloway St., πŸ“ž 215-339-0900 (ext. 1550), βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 philabundance.org
Food insecurity throughout the country significantly increased during the pandemic. To help feed food insecure neighbors, mutual aid organizations throughout Philadelphia (and the country) have established community fridges β€” refrigerators that are free to fill and free to take from with no registration required. We have a guide with more than 30 community fridges throughout the city where you can donate common pantry and fridge items, but keep in mind that each fridge has its own set of rules regarding what it accepts. Be sure to check the fridge’s accepted items list before donating.
Β» READ MORE: Where to find 30+ community fridges around Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging is the Philadelphia area’s official agency on aging and is working to assist elderly Philadelphians during the coronavirus pandemic through efforts such as the Rodney D. Williams Philadelphia Fund for Seniors and the Emergency Fund for Older Philadelphians. πŸ“642 N. Broad St., πŸ“ž 215-765-9000, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 pcacares.org
Project SAFE was founded in Philly in 2004, Project SAFE works to provide β€œwomen and femme-centered services with a focus on women working and living in the street economies in Kensington,” the group says online. 🌐 projectsafephilly.org
The Salvation Army works to support at-risk groups such as children, vulnerable adults, and others.πŸ“Multiple locations, πŸ“ž 215-825-4601, 🌐 easternusa.salvationarmy.org
Prevention Point is a public health organization providing harm-reduction services for local communities affected by drug use and poverty. πŸ“ 2913-2915 Kensington Ave., πŸ“ž 215-634-5272, 🌐 ppponline.org
Why Not Prosper helps women released from the prison system get housing, find employment, reconnect with their children, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and stay out of the prison system. πŸ“717 E. Chelten Ave., πŸ“ž 610-716-1113, βœ‰οΈ [email protected], 🌐 why-not-prosper.org
Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia provides victims of violence with counseling, support, and services to help reduce the cycle of violence in the community.πŸ“ Multiple locations, 🌐 avpphila.org
Community Legal Services Philadelphia provides free civil legal assistance to Philadelphians and β€œassists clients when they face the threat of losing their homes, incomes, health care, and even their families.β€πŸ“ Multiple locations, πŸ“ž 215-981-3700, 🌐 clsphila.org

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