Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community!

United Way of Southwest Minnesota Volunteer Opportunities

Contact us for volunteer opportunities with United Way of Southwest Minnesota and our Community Partners at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org or 507-929-2273.
Please scroll down for current volunteer opportunities with some of our community partner programs.

Community Partner opportunity

UWSWMN Opportunities 

  • Community Impact Grant Review Panelist - Click Here
  • Born Learning Trail painting - individual or group opportunity
  • Stuff the Bus school supply collection site - group opportunity &  individual or group opportunity, multiple shifts available.

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity or have questions about volunteering with United Way of Southwest Minnesota? Email UnitedWay@UnitedWaySWMN.org.

Please get in touch with us at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org if:

   • You have photos and videos of your volunteer experience – we’d love to see them!

   • You have a volunteer idea you’d like to share

   • You, or your organization, needs volunteers and would like the opportunity posted to the public

   • You, or your group, is interested in volunteering but would like to discuss opportunities further

1.  Classroom Volunteer

The volunteer is assigned a teacher where they go into the classroom and teach 5 (approximately 45 minute) lessons.  The volunteer is provide with a kit that has the curriculum and supplies for the lessons.  The lessons are based around financial literacy, work and career readiness, and entrepreneurship.  

Date/time: The dates and times are agreed upon by the teacher and volunteer.  It can be once a day for a week; or three times one week and two times the next week.  The volunteers usually go into the classroom January – May, but occasionally in the fall.  

Contact: Christine Fischer at christine.fischer@smsu.edu or 507-537-7386.   
Volunteers are usually gathered in the fall of the year

2.  Board Members

Junior Achievement of Lyon County is occasionally seeking new board members. 

Date/time: Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at noon.  

Contact: Christine Fischer at christine.fischer@smsu.edu or 507-537-7386.    

Meal Delivery

We're looking for volunteers who want to make a positive difference in the lives of older adults!  We welcome individuals, businesses, organizations and churches to volunteer.  Meal deliveries are Monday through Friday and they take about 1/2 hour.

Interested volunteers can call 1-800-488-4146; 507-537-1624; or email meals@lssmn.org.

Packing food bags 

Volunteers help pack food bags that are sent home with students on weekends.  Please sign up for our mailing list on their website to be notified of volunteer opportunities (https://volunteer.marshallfood4kids.org/) or contact us directly via the information below.

Contact: Call or text 507-401-5554; email, Coordinator@MarshallFood4Kids.org; or go to www.facebook.com/MarshallFood4Kids

1.  Crisis Line Volunteer

The volunteer would answer calls after hours, weekends and holidays on our 24 hour crisis line. An agency phone and extensive training are provided, including a 40 hour advocacy training program. The volunteer provides advocacy and support to callers, referring to the staff advocate as necessary for in person advocacy needs. New Horizons Crisis Center serves victims of crime in Lyon, Lincoln, Murray and Redwood counties, but volunteers may be located anywhere a secure phone line would be available. 

Date/time: The hours and opportunities for volunteering are flexible, based on your schedule and availability. Our crisis line is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Contact: Justine Weckwerth-Pineda at nhcc-smsu@iw.net or 507-828-7395; or Roberta Wyatt at cvspd@iw.net or 507-828-8425.

2.  Parenting Time Visit Room Sanitizer

Volunteer would help sanitize and organize toys, games, hard surfaces, etc., in the visit room.

Date/time: Flexible during office hours (8:30am-4:30pm) based on volunteer availability.

Contact: Kristi Stevenson at visitations@iw.net or 507-706-0162.

Home Delivered Meal Delivery Person

The older adults in Canby have been receiving frozen meals since the beginning of the pandemic.  We want to resume hot daily home delivered meals in Canby.  We are looking for people to donate 30 minutes in the middle of their day to deliver meals.

Date/time: Monday through Friday.  We can work with people and their schedules.  

Contact:  Erick Hedman at erick.hedman@prairiefive.org or 320-269-6578.

Reading Corps Tutor (Positions still available in Minneota, Tracy and Ivanhoe)

Thousands of Minnesota kids need help in reading and you can make all the difference. Offer your time and talent as a tutor and be more for these students. As a Reading Corps Tutor, you’ll help students in kindergarten through third grade to become better readers. With great training and onsite coaching, we’ll prepare you to work one-on-one or in small groups to help kids develop their reading skills and confidence! Students make the most progress when you are there, so our tutors serve during school hours and are needed for the whole school year. Tutors have the option of beginning in August, October or January. This is an AmeriCorps member position with Reading Corps. Although the earnings are modest, the rewards are great! You’ll join an amazing group of 1,500 tutors, determined to help students be more.

Perks Package:  Give your time as a tutor and you’ll receive a scalable perks package based on your time commitment of 35, 25, or 18 hours per week. Find out more details and search open positions here: https://join.readingandmath.org/careers-home/

Date/time: August to June; October  to June; January to June

Contact:  By phone at 866.859.2825 or via email at join@servetogrow.org

A.  Recycling Cans Hauler, Marshall, MN

Big Buddies of UCAP has a recycling can trailer parked in the Marshall Hy-Vee parking lot to help raise funds to support the program.  People can leave plastic bags of beverage cans in the trailer, some cans may be outside of bags.  On average once every two weeks, The Big Buddies Recycling Can Hauler pulls the trailer from Hy-Vee to Alter Metal Recycling (703 W Fairview St, Marshall, Mn / 507-537-0571 / Closes at 4pm on Weekdays).  Once there the Volunteer Hauler checks in with Alter staff, dumps the cans in a larger bin, and throws the plastic bags and any garbage/non-aluminum in their garbage can. Volunteer is responsible for bringing their own gloves or any PPE you wish to wear. Return the trailer to Hy-Vee. 

Date & Time: 1 to 2 hours every two weeks (less with the help of 1 or 2 more volunteers) 

Contact: Shelly Castaneda at shellyc@unitedcapmn.org or 507-537-1416 #2101. 

B.  One-on-One Mentor, Lincoln and Lyon County

Big Buddies One-on-one Mentors are positive and caring adult who are matched with one youth participant in the Big Buddies Program of UCAP.  Big Buddies Mentors are asked to spend 1 to 3 hours with their matched Little Buddy per month on average.  Volunteer mentors are encouraged to schedule fun and enriching activities including things like community events, individual activities of interest, and Big Buddies sponsored outings.  Big Buddies Mentors also need to interact with their Little Buddy’s parent/guardians to schedule the match sessions with their assigned youth participant.  Big Buddies Mentors are supported by, and interact with, UCAP’s Youth Development Coordinator in Marshall who manages the Big Buddies Program.  

Date & Time: Minimum of 1 to 3 hours per month

Contact: Shelly Castaneda at shellyc@unitedcapmn.org or 507-537-1416 #2101.

Assist clients by shopping for their food needs/choices from the food shelf grocery list. Outside pickup by client. 

Date/time: Mondays once a month 4:30-6:30pm

Contact: Margaret Palan at margaret.palan@unitedcapmn.org or Lori Lerohl at loril@unitedcapmn.org or 507-537-1416, #2116 or #2139.  

A.  Volunteer Tax Preparer – VITA Tax Preparer volunteers receive free training to gain skills that help them aid other community members in filing their state and federal income tax returns using tax preparation software.  Tax Preparers may become certified at the Basic or Advanced level and only prepare returns with a difficulty level at or below that certification level. Each return also goes through a quality review process and is checked for errors prior to filing.

B.  Tax Site Assistants - VITA Tax Site Assistants greet people at the tax clinic location and help them fill out their initial paperwork, make copies of documents, and help explain the tax clinic process.  This position does not prepare tax returns. Free training is provided for this role as well.

Date & Time: Training is usually held in December to January of each year. Tax Clinic is typically open from late January to mid-April of each year.  (Once per week commitment through the tax season)

Contact: Shelly Rykhus at shellyr@unitedcapmn.org or 507-537-1416 Ext #2141.

A.  Volunteer Mover – As an emergency shelter program, the Refuge helps people who are homeless move from homelessness and into permanent housing.  Occasionally, we need volunteers to help clients move their personal belongings into their new unit. Having access to a pickup truck or larger SUV is helpful, but not required.

Date & Time: As needed.  Volunteers are placed on a list and are called when needed to see if they are available to help.  

Contact:  Shelly Rykhus at shellyr@unitedcapmn.org or 507-537-1416 Ext #2141.

B.  Drive Coordinator - Homeless individuals and families have needs that there are oftentimes no resources for.  Volunteers can choose an item or group of items and organize a “drive” to collect items that will be provided to shelter clients as needed.  Examples include: Baby items (diapers, wipes, etc.), Welcome Home Baskets:  Shower curtains, waste baskets, cleaning supplies, brooms, etc.).  These welcome home baskets are provided to clients as they move from shelter into new housing.  Another option is single item collection for as they move into new housing such as inflatable air mattresses, pots/pans sets, etc.

Date & Time: As available.  People are welcome to do this one time or on an ongoing basis.

Contact:  Shelly Rykhus at shellyr@unitedcapmn.org or 507-537-1416 Ext #2141.