40+ ways to give back in Greenville

Volunteer with Mill Village Farms | Photo via @millvillagefarms
Volunteer with Mill Village Farms | Photo via @millvillagefarms

It’s officially thankful season, and while many folks are passionate about giving back to the city that has given them so much, it’s often hard to decide what exactly they want to participate in – given the hundreds of opportunities in Greenville. Well, why not start by using what you love to help others?

We’ve made it easy to turn your passions into a gift to others by putting together this volunteer guide catered to specific interests. From foodies to those passionate about the outdoors, we’ve rounded up opportunities for everyone.

🦃  If the holidays are your favorite time of the year

Harvest Hope Food Bank is looking for both volunteers + donations this holiday season. You can also sign up to host a food drive virtually or traditionally. 

The Salvation Army of Greenville is looking for bell ringers for its 2020 Red Kettle Campaign starting today, Nov. 13

Meals on Wheels Greenville has launched “Giving Tuesday” – a holiday donation drive to help provide nutritious meals + special holiday gifts to Greenville’s homebound population. Donate here. You can also purchase MOW holiday cards from local artist Lacey Hennessey here

Donate toiletries + toilet paper to the North Greenville Food Crisis Ministry in the “Spirit of Thanksgiving.” Donations may be dropped off at Cooper Chapman Insurance or the NGFC Ministry.

Order beautiful holiday cards designed by local artist Douglas Piper to benefit United Ministries’ vision of ensuring “that everyone has the opportunity to thrive in Greenville.”

○ Support Greenville County students and their families with the United Way of Greenville County’s Project Joy this year.

○ Sponsor a family for the Holiday Season with The Family Effect.

🥪  Is food your love language?

Participate in the Merle State Hunger Walk 2020 on Sun., Nov. 22 to benefit the Greer Soup Kitchen or learn how to volunteer your time here

Donate funds, food, or your time to Loaves & Fishes to help feed the hungry. You can also bid on one of eight pup sculptures designed by local architecture + design firms in their Puppy Pow Wow: Auction for a Good Paws

Get involved with Project Host + donate food or volunteer at their soup kitchen.

Triune Mercy Center is looking for donations for their food pantry. Drop off items at their location on Rutherford Street or make a financial contribution here.

🌟 If you love a wish list

Miracle Hill Ministries has fewer in-person volunteer options right now, but they are looking for volunteers to provide each “guest” who stays in their Upstate shelters with a wish list bag at Christmas time. Give here.

GirlUp GVL recently moved into a new (to them) home and are still on the hunt for the finishing touches. Click here to see what items you can contribute. 

🥁 If toys light up your life

Country Santa is looking for volunteers to help bag, move, and deliver toys across the Upstate.

Helping hands are needed to donate and organize gifts for the Greer Relief Christmas Morning Shoppe

○ The Greer Police Department is accepting donations for Cops for Tots to help struggling families in the Greer area during the holidays.

United Community Bank will be continuing their annual Angel Tree Program + providing Christmas gifts to local children. Note: Because of COVID-19, the program is accepting only gift cards and monetary donations this year.

💚 Advocates of mental illness + health awareness

Good listeners are needed at Mental Health Association of Greenville County to volunteer with their CRISISline and TEENline. MHA also has their annual Operation Santa Drive coming up which provides health and hygiene gift bags to mental health centers. See the list of items needed here

Volunteer with or donate to NAMI to fight the stigma against mental illness. Plus: Be on the lookout for whenever their next NAMIWalk is announced. 

💙 If you want to be there for abuse victims

The Julie Valentine Center is always looking for volunteers + donors, plus help completing their wishlist. You can also purchase a piece of jewelry created by llyn strong fine art jewelry to support the center.

You can volunteer your time or resources at Pendleton Place to help create safe, stable homes for local children and families. 

🏠 If you want to stay in your home

The American Red Cross is looking for disaster relief donations for safe shelter, hot meals, care, and comfort for people who have lost everything to a disaster. You can also take online health + safety training courses (like CPR) here.

○ Tomorrow (Sat., Nov. 14) SOAP GVL will be picking up your donations porchside for Miracle Hill Ministries. Follow their Instagram for more upcoming opportunities. 

😷 If you’re interested in healthcare

With increased hospitalizations and medical procedures, there is currently a blood shortage. Make an appointment with The Blood Connection or the American Red Cross to donate blood and help save a life.

Lights of Love has begun at Ronald McDonald House Carolinas. Plus, you can always collect pop tabs year round to give back. 

🐶 Animal lovers

Do you have a passion for animals? Become a volunteer with Greenville County Animal Care + help build a positive experience for animals seeking homes. 

If you prefer your critters a little on the wild side, consider getting involved with Wildlife Rehab of Greenville. Volunteers must be 18 or older. 

○ Apply to be a foster cat or dog parent with the Greenville Humane Society here

🌳 The outdoorsy types

○ Click here to sign up to be a Park Hero with the Greater Greenville Parks Foundation, and give our local public spaces some love. 

Trees Upstate has a mission to plant, promote, and protect trees in + around Greenville County. Run a virtual 5k this Thanksgiving to help keep the “green” in Greenville.

While you can participate in Mill Village Farms’ Culinary Concert on Dec. 10 from the comfort of your own home, you can also volunteer for farm work, FoodShare distribution, or to help out with their youth programs

Upstate Forever has been protecting the critical lands, abundant waters, and unique character of the Upstate since 1998, and they have plenty of ways to get involved. See them all here

○ Follow Friends of the Reedy River for more information about upcoming river cleanup days

🇺🇸 Supporting veterans today + everyday

Fellow Countrymen helps fight against veteran homelessness + suicide across the Upstate of South Carolina. Make a monetary donation here

The Palmetto State Chapter of Folds of Honor works to provide educational support to spouses + children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. Learn more about their mission and donate here

🍎 Natural-born teachers + mentors

○ Become a mentor with Mentor Upstate and help local children by cultivating positive, real one-on-one relationships.

○ Sign up to coach a team or volunteer with Girls on the Run Upstate SC.

Empower students to reach their full potential through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upstate.

○ Make a donation to The Frazee Center – a free preschool + after-school program serving children between the West End of downtown and White Horse Road.

○ Become a tutor with the Greenville Literacy Association and help teach one of their low cost literacy, GED preparation, or English as a Second Language classes.

🔨 The handymen + women

For about $5,000, Rebuild Upstate can preserve one affordable home. Donate your time or resources here.

Don’t see anything that fits your interests? Check out VolunteerMatch – a resource that helps you find local volunteer opportunities suited to your preferences.