Love Your Neighbor: Donating in the Twin Cities

If you love giving the gift of social good, Minnesota is the state for you. Throughout the state, opportunities are endless, especially in the Metro area. There is a way anyone can give back, from volunteering at a local food bank to mentoring children to delivering meals to the needy. Don’t feel like donating time? You could also opt to give a gift certificate or monetary donation.

Here are some of our favorite charities in the Twin Cities area.

Support local, kid-powered agriculture

Urban Roots operates food and environmental programs and provides paid internships and programming to youth on the East Side of St. Paul; their mission is to empower youth through healthy food and community. Talk about a great cause. To volunteer with Urban Roots, you can sign up to help prep their Market Garden or restore local parks by installing native plants.

Volunteer at a food bank

If you’re passionate about anti-hunger efforts, volunteering at, or donating to, a local food bank is a great way to get involved. The Food Group is a food bank that provides good, nutritious foods to over 200 partners in the greater metro area. Volunteers are always needed—you can help pack food in their warehouses, work at The Food Group Farm, or volunteer at a local fundraiser.

Give the gift of reading

Calling all bookworms and literacy lovers out there! At Reading Partners Twin Cities, volunteers can help make a measurable impact in reading proficiency by providing one-on-one tutoring to students in grades K-5, twice a week for 45 minutes. On average, participating students more than double their rate of reading progress. Volunteers don’t need to have prior teaching experience. Alternately, you could opt to volunteer at Books for Africa, a local organization that sorts, ships, and distributes books to students of all ages in Africa. Volunteers help sort and pack books, and there’s no heavy lifting required.

Deliver meals to those in need

Open Arms Minnesota is a nonprofit that cooks and delivers free, nutritious meals to people living with illnesses. Volunteers can help deliver meals to clients or prepare and package meals, depending on what you’d prefer to do.

Give what you can

Not everyone is able to donate their time or money, but many of us have clothing or furniture around the house that we no longer need. Give back as simple as a drop-off at Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill. Or contract a hauling company like 1-800-GOT-JUNK? that will handle the heavy lifting and also donate whatever is in shape to be donated to a local charity.

Become a mentor

If you’re interested in mentoring high school students, Minds Matter is an incredible organization that truly helps make a positive difference in kids’ lives. Choose between three major volunteer opportunities—you can opt to help a student with their college essay or applications, be a test prep instructor, or lead small-group lessons covering basic writing and grammar skills.

The warmth and love you felt throughout the previous holiday season should continually be shared with the whole community. With caring people like yourself, Twin Cities will continue to be the great place to live that it is!

Article written by Haley Kieser