101 Creative Community Service Ideas for Kids, Teens, and Adults

Photo credit: Aleksandr Zubkov - Getty Images
Photo credit: Aleksandr Zubkov – Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Participating in community service is one of the most rewarding things you can do. No matter your age, giving back can help you build friendships, develop new skills, and increase life satisfaction — all while making the world a better place. It’s no wonder that in a Good Housekeeping poll of over 4,000 people, 19% of respondents said they typically volunteer once a month and another 19% said they volunteer even more than that.

Ahead, we’ve found the most impactful community service ideas for volunteers of all ages. Remember: these ideas are meant to be general. If one speaks to you, think of ways you can personalize it toward your interests and expertise. Don’t be afraid to think big either. While you could totally pick up litter at the beach by yourself, you’d cover a lot more land if you organized a group to help you out. You might even ask everyone in that group to bring a can of food for a food pantry, too. It’s all about getting creative and brainstorming ways to make giving back fun. And if you’re hesitant to get out into your community, don’t miss these exciting virtual volunteer opportunities.

Community service ideas for kids

  • Make cards for seniors.

  • Grow vegetables and donate the produce to neighbors or a food bank.

  • Use chalk to write inspiring quotes on the sidewalk.

  • Choose which gently used clothes to donate to charity.

  • Pick up litter at a local park.

  • Write cards to service members.

  • Make a “New to the Neighborhood” guidebook for new kids at school.

  • Put on a talent show at a nursing home.

  • Offer water bottles or snacks to sanitation workers.

  • Collect donations in lieu of birthday gifts.

  • Choose foods at the grocery store to donate to a food bank.

  • Make “You Made My Day” cards and give them to cashiers, baristas, delivery people, or anyone else you meet.

  • Write a thank-you note to your mail carrier.

  • Cheer on the athletes at a Special Olympics event.

  • Host a lemonade stand for a special cause.

  • Invite someone new to play at the playground.

  • Participate in a local charity walk.

  • Decorate placemats for Meals on Wheels.

  • Plant a tree.

  • Put a tip in a tip jar.

  • Recycle bottles and donate the proceeds to a special cause.

  • Donate hair to an organization that makes wigs for kids who have cancer.

  • Choose toys at the mall to donate to a toy drive.

  • Greet new neighbors with a gift package filled with local goods.

  • Collect coins for a special cause.

Community service ideas for teens

  • Rake leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor.

  • Tend to a neighborhood garden.

  • Tutor elementary school children.

  • Be a “grand-friend” to a senior in your area.

  • Host a bake sale or hot chocolate stand for a special cause.

  • Start a Little Free Library.

  • Create craft kits or activity sets for kids in hospitals or homeless shelters.

  • Volunteer for the National Park Service.

  • Serve or prepare food at a soup kitchen.

  • Do a fundraiser for a cause you’re passionate about.

  • Run a local non-profit or community organization’s social media accounts.

  • Organize a walk or run for charity.

  • Become a conversation volunteer for people learning English.

  • Host a group clean-up day at a park or beach.

  • Give out baked goods in the lobby of a hospital.

  • Maintain a local hiking trail.

  • Unpack and shelve food at a food pantry.

  • Perform live music at a senior center (or anywhere else that would appreciate it).

  • Host a school campus clean-up day.

  • Start a Little Free Pantry.

  • Teach computer skills to seniors.

  • Build sets or work as an usher for a local community theater group.

  • Paint a mural or beautify a public space.

  • Create a recycling program at school.

  • Couch a youth sports team.

Community service ideas for adults

  • Deliver meals for Meals on Wheels.

  • Sort donations at a homeless shelter.

  • Become a mentor to a student interested in your career path.

  • Deliver groceries to those in need.

  • Become CPR certified.

  • Volunteer as a poll worker on election day.

  • Establish a day of service at your workplace.

  • Choose a non-profit or charity you care about and ask how you can volunteer on a long-term basis.

  • Offer job interview training at a community center.

  • Start a neighborhood welcome committee.

  • Bring surplus food donations from local restaurants and grocers to a nearby food bank.

  • Clean graffiti in your neighborhood.

  • Teach an ESL class at a local school or library.

  • Become a member at a museum, theater, or cultural institution and volunteer at events.

  • Clean up after a natural disaster or storm.

  • Drive seniors to doctors appointments.

  • Host a coat drive at your workplace or a local business.

  • Become a Big Brother or Big Sister.

  • Babysit for a neighbor in need.

  • Organize a musical hour or reading program for kids at a local park or library.

  • Assemble bags of socks, snacks, and other essentials to give to people in need.

  • Teach a class at a community center.

  • Quilt or knit blankets for local hospitals, NICUs, or hospice centers.

  • Foster a cat or dog.

  • Help train a service dog.

  • Register people to vote.

Virtual community service ideas

  • Read books with a buddy on StoriiTime.

  • Start a Pay It Forward or Buy Nothing group for your neighborhood on Facebook.

  • Volunteer as a crisis counselor for a crisis hotline.

  • Help people who are blind or have low vision via video chat using Be My Eyes.

  • Become a translator for important causes through Translators Without Borders.

  • Start a positive-news-only Instagram account for people in your community.

  • Conduct mock interviews on video chat.

  • Convert public domain books into ebooks with Distributed Proofreaders.

  • Use your professional skills to help a non-profit through Catch a Fire.

  • Become an online volunteer listener through 7Cups.

  • Tutor students on video chat.

  • Help others navigate challenges at work by becoming a peer counselor with Empower Work.

  • Archive historical documents for the Smithsonian Institute.

  • Host a donations drive on Facebook for your birthday.

  • Play games with seniors on video chat.

  • Share petitions you’re passionate about to bring attention to important causes.

  • Find a pen pal.

  • Support to victims of sexual assault by becoming a crisis counselor with RAINN.

  • Teach a skill to a local Girl or Boy Scouts group on video chat.

  • Write positive reviews to help local businesses.

  • Mentor a small business owner on MicroMentor.

  • Write supportive messages to healthcare workers.

  • Become an adoption photographer for Together We Rise

  • Answer questions about your career path on Career Village.

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