Lending a Helping Hand—A Priceless Reward

July 2022 View more

iStock_000014482627LargeLooking for a way to give back to the community? From food pantries to local animal shelters, there are plenty of opportunities to lend a helping hand in the Naperville area. Start with Giving DuPage. Its mission is to promote giving and volunteerism throughout DuPage County. Giving DuPage maintains an interactive search tool for volunteers on its website at www.givingdupage.org that connects volunteers to a specific need in the community. iStock_000021560023Medium“The need for volunteers is growing with the needs of our community,” said Shefali Trivedi, executive director of Giving DuPage. “Volunteers are the work force that help the community. The time given by volunteers is often more important than money donations,” said Trivedi. “By volunteering, people feel more connected to the community and connected to the people receiving their services,” said Trivedi. The need for volunteers is year-round and Trivedi says many people don’t realize that it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a big difference. One or two months of volunteer work per year can have a major impact. Another nonprofit, Naperville CARES, provides financial support and resources to people in need of immediate assistance to avoid homelessness. The organization also offers car repair and car donation programs. Many people served by Naperville CARES are residents who are either unemployed or underemployed and struggling to pay the bills. iStock_000020679391Medium“Helping others leaves you with a good feeling,” said Mary Jane Doody, a volunteer coordinator at Naperville CARES, who is also a volunteer herself. “For our volunteers it provides them with connectivity to the community and a sense of camaraderie with other volunteers,” said Doody. “It’s hard work, but we have a very reliable group of volunteers who want to give back (to the community) and help others, and this is the perfect way to fill that void,” said Doody. To volunteer, call 630.369.0200 or visit www.napervillecares.org.

Volunteer Opportunities

Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry

Loaves & Fishes distributes more than 60,000 pounds of groceries and serves approximately 600 families every week. Volunteers work in a variety of areas including distribution, sorting, shelving and office assistance. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old. The pantry also accepts canned food donations as well as store gift certificates.  Contact: 630.355.3663, www.loaves-fishes.org

DuPage Children’s Museum

Roles are available for museum volunteers who can greet visitors, play with children, assist in the art studio or offices, help with special events, build or repair exhibits, help with building or landscape maintenance. The minimum age to volunteer is 15 years old.  Contact: Museum volunteer coordinator 630.637.8000 ext. 4680.

Naperville Area Humane Society

Naperville Area Humane Society’s (NAHS) volunteer program is open to anyone 10 years or older with a willingness to work on behalf of cats and dogs. Kids 10 to 15 years old are welcome to volunteer as long as they have an adult sponsor to volunteer with them.  Contact: 630.420.8989, www.napervilleareahumanesociety.org


A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter is a private, no-kill, nonprofit organization that provides temporary shelter and care to dogs and cats in search of their permanent home. Finding homes for animals is a priority. Children volunteers ages 8 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent.  Contact: 630.355.2299, www.adoptpetshelter.org

Little Friends

Many of the volunteers at Little Friends, which serves children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, help with several special fundraising events throughout the year. Those include the Step Up for Autism Walk, Friends of Little Friends Parade, Golf Classic, Phon-a-thon and the annual Bids for Kids Benefit Auction.  Contact: 630.305.4196, visit www.littlefriendsinc.org


At KidsMatter the goal is to help young people grow up to live happy, healthy lives. KidsMatter equips youth and families with tools to manage the stress of everyday life through dynamic school and community programs, practical education, and youth recognition.  Contact: 630.567.6981, www.kidsmatter2us.org

Feed My Starving Children

Feed My Starving Children is a nonprofit Christian organization committed to feeding hungry children in body and spirit. Children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. The meals are shipped to nearly 70 countries around the world. It is recommended children be in third grade or older.  Contact: 630.851.0404, www.fmsc.org

Bridge Communities

Bridge Communities is a grassroots, nonprofit organization committed to transforming the lives of homeless families in DuPage County through partnering with individuals and groups in our community. Their program of housing, mentoring and empowering families focuses on moving them toward self-sufficiency.  Contact: 630.545.0610, www.bridgecommunities.org

Literacy DuPage

Help adults read, write, speak and understand English better. Tutors may be retirees, homemakers, or employed full‑time. Tutors need not be experienced in teaching or be bilingual. Volunteer tutors receive a comprehensive training in a series of six workshops.  Contact: 630.416.6699, www.literacydupage.org


DuPage PADS has taken on the important and difficult task of ending homelessness in DuPage County, including an increasing number of children. DuPage PADS provides temporary housing and resources for those in need.  Contact: 630.682.3846, www.dupagepads.org

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation’s mission is to provide exceptional quality, compassionate care, guidance and education for children and adults impacted with autism and their families. The Foundation provides a stable and nurturing environment that promotes growth and independence in all major life areas.  Contact: 630.570.7948, www.turningpointeautismfoundation.org

Our Children’s Homestead

This organization is dedicated to assuring safe and secure homes and neighborhoods for abused, neglected and troubled foster children. Its vision is to take one child and work as a team to overcome any barrier that stands in the way of that child being successful, proficient, and belonging to a family. Contact: 630.369.0004, www.ourchildresnhomestead.org

Easter Seals of DuPage County and The Fox Valley Region

ESDFVR serves more than 3,000 infants, children and young adults with developmental disabilities each year. For more than 50 years, families have relied on Easter Seals to provide specialized services.  Contact: 630.357.9699, www.eastersealsdfvr.org Project H.E.L.P.

Project H.E.L.P.

The Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse Project H.E.L.P. is dedicated to fostering strong family units by assisting parents and guardians to deal with stress and learn new coping skills in order to protect children from abuse and neglect.  Contact: 630.357.5683, www.projecthelpdupage.org

Boys & Girls Club of Naperville

If you are interested in inspiring, motivating, and impacting young lives, then Boys & Girls Club of Naperville is the place for you. There are volunteer opportunities for tutoring, mentoring, coaching, programming assistance, and administrative support.  Contact: 630.335.7037, www.bgcna.org

360 Youth Services

360 Youth Services plays a leadership role in the development of programs that encourage positive social change. By establishing contact with youth, they identify problems and solutions and provide services to improve their needs, including prevention programs, early intervention, counseling opportunities and emergency services.  Contact: 630.961.2992, www.360youthservices.org

Naper Settlement – Naperville Heritage Society

The outdoor history museum was founded by and is brought to life everyday through the efforts of volunteers committed to preserving and presenting Naperville’s rich heritage. The Naperville Heritage Society supports Naper Settlement through funding and fun raising efforts.  Contact: 630.420.6010, www.napersettlement.museum