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14 Ways to volunteer safely

Volunteer opportunities

With more and more events being cancelled or turning virtual in 2020, runners aren’t the only ones who are left feeling like they have fewer options. Volunteers looking to give back don’t have to wait until the world returns to normal. In fact, many organizations are offering both remote or small in-person volunteer opportunities. See below for a few in the Chicagoland area and how to get involved!


  1. American Red Cross – From a volunteer screener, dispatcher, Hero Care family follow up, or Disaster workforce engagement team member, the American Red Cross has several virtual volunteer opportunities that can work with your schedule and availability.
  2. My Block, My Hood, My City — With the global spread of Coronavirus, people around the city are more isolated than ever before. The two populations most affected by these changes have been Older Adults and Youth. Join the Youth-Senior Connect caller list to make wellness calls and help meet the needs of Senior Citizens in Chicago and beyond.
  3. StayRunning – To stay involved in the endurance industry, StayRunning Is looking for three volunteer positions to help educate the running community.
  4. Blessons for Women – Advance the Blessons for Women’s mission as a Grant Writer by helping to identify institutional barriers to equity of educational and employment opportunities for disadvantaged women 25 years and older, and developing programmatic responses to them. You will coordinate the communications and marketing of Blessons. To apply, email
  5. The Resurrection Project – Help low- to moderate-income residents improve their financial health as a credit mentor. You will work one-on-one to help them understand their credit report and build their credit. Please contact Lorena Pulido at for more information.
  6. Virtual Census Outreach: Text Messages – In partnership with the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office, Chicago Cares is hosting a multi-week digital Census outreach campaign. Through this project, volunteers will use phone and text banking software to reach communities that are underrepresented in Census self-reporting to date.
  7. Imerman Angels – Provide support to someone touched by cancer by becoming a Mentor Angel. Mentor Angels are recruited from all over the world to provide support, empathy and understanding to a cancer fighter, survivor or caregiver. Each Mentor Angel completes a profile detailing their personal experience with cancer.


  1. Pitch in for the Parks – This summer, the Chicago Parks Foundation is leading a citywide, season-long volunteer initiative to help keep parks clean. Join as an individual volunteer or organize a group effort. All events will implement social distancing and safe health guidelines.
  2. Chicago Cares Educational Book Kit-Packing – Volunteers will be supporting Chicago Cares staff in packing education kits for youth on the South and West sides of Chicago. Volunteers will be organized 6ft. apart, going from station to station collecting items to put inside a bag.
  3. Drive Through Food Bank at Instituto – Volunteers will be supporting outdoor food distribution organized by Instituto de Progreso Latino. Volunteers will be sorting donations, loading food boxes into cars, and tallying the number of clients.
  4. American Youth Literacy Foundation – Help children displaced from school by COVID-19, along with adults, learn to read.
  5. The Salvation Army – As a restaurant driver, volunteers will pick up meals that are donated from local restaurants and organize them.


  1. ALIVE Rescue – The volunteer-run animal rescue currently has 20 volunteer opportunities – a mix of both virtual and in-person – to provide medical, behavioral and physical support for animals despite their age, health and/or breed.
  2. Healthy Hood Chicago – Assist in providing affordable programming and resources that elevate the mind, body and conscience in local Chicago communities by volunteering with Healthy Hood Chicago in Pilsen. Check out their various opportunities and sign up here.

Now is the time to lend a hand; Chicago Event Management dedicates over 272 hours for staff volunteer projects, providing each employee with volunteer time off. Looking for more options? Check out Chicago Cares and VolunteerMatch for opportunities in your area.