This volunteer page has three parts.
PART ONE: Volunteer opportunities that can be done during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
PART TWO: A yearly breakout of all United Way volunteer opportunities.
PART THREE: A list of volunteer opportunities from our Community Partner programs. 


COVID-19 and Social Distancing Volunteer Opportunities

To access the printable PDF document of volunteer ideas, click here.
To access printable THANK YOU postcards, click here.
To access printable CLASS OF 2020 postcards, click here.
We recommend printing the postcards on cardstock.
Please contact Shelby at shelby.otto@unitedwayswmn.org if:
   • You have photos and/or videos of your volunteer experience – we’d love to see them!
   • You have a volunteer idea you’d like to share
   • You are, or your organization is, in need of volunteers and would like the opportunity posted to the public
   • You are, or your group is, interested in volunteering but would like to further discuss opportunities
Community Partner Needs Related to COVID-19:
   • Neighbors United Food Shelf, Granite Falls
      o Need: Volunteers under the age of 65, toilet paper, cash donations
      o Contact: nufoodshelf@gmail.com
  • Minnesota Responds (not a community partner, but requested volunteers)
      o Need: Looking for volunteers, specifically with a medical background, to assist Public Health and healthcare systems during a disaster/emergency. Click here for more information.
      o Contact: Jen Nelson, 507-829-0227
United Way Volunteer Ideas Related to COVID-19:
   • Make cards for nursing home residents, medical staff, emergency personnel, essential workers
   • Make cards for graduating seniors whose graduations have been canceled
   • Bake and deliver cookies
   • Mail letters/pictures to classmates and teachers
   • Decorate the sidewalks with chalk – spread positivity!
   • Do one (or all) of your siblings' chores
   • Grocery shop for at-risk individuals
   • Yard clean-up for an elderly neighbor
   • Sew masks for medical staff and community members
   • Meal delivery 
   • Donate pet supplies to local animal rescues
   • Foster or adopt a pet from a local animal rescue
   • Make care packages to donate to local child care providers
   • Plant a tree
   • Create a kit for a local food shelf and donate after COVID-19. Examples include:
      o Birthday Party Kit (cake mix, frosting, candles, simple birthday gift)
      o Outdoor Kit (sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump rope)
      o Movie Night Kit (family friendly movie, popcorn, snacks)
   • Make cards for nursing home residents, medical staff, emergency personnel, essential workers
   • Make cards for graduating seniors whose graduations have been canceled
   • Foster or adopt a pet from a local animal rescue
   • Grow a garden and donate produce to a local food shelf
Skills-Based Volunteer Ideas:
   • Artists – draw a coloring page for one of the Imagination Library books (send to UWSWMN so we can share!), do a Facebook Live (or recorded) drawing tutorial
   • Baking and Cooking Enthusiasts – share your favorite recipes, do a Facebook Live (or recorded) cooking class
   • Beauticians – Create video tutorials showcasing how to braid/style hair, create nail polish designs, etc.
   • DIYers – Repurpose old furniture to donate after COVID-19
   • Photographers – Offer "Social Distancing" or "Front Yard" sessions at your choice of price, provide tips and tutorials for photography at home
   • Technology Savvy Individuals – volunteer to assist others wanting to learn software platforms (i.e. FaceTime, Zoom, etc.), create a video tutorial

Seasonal Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community!
This section provides you with information regarding seasonal volunteering with United Way.


  • Read for the Record Book Labeling - group opportunity
  • Volunteer Readers for Read for the Record - individual opportunity, multiple locations available
  • Hygiene Drive Collection - individual or group opportunity
  • Hygiene Drive Sorting and Distributing - individual or group opportunity
  • Business Drive Solcitation - individual opportunity


  • Wild About Kindergarten book labeling - group opportunity
  • Wild About Kindergarten kit packing - group opportunity
  • I Love to Read Month (February)



  • Wild About Reading Assistants - individual opportunity
  • Born Learning Trail Painting - individual or group opportunity
  • Stuff the Bus Collection Site - group opportunity
  • Stuff the Bus Sorting and Distributing - individual or group opportunity, multiple shifts available


  • Little Red Bookshelf Shelf Stocker - individual or family opportunity, multiple locations available
  • Little Red Bookshelf Book Donation - We'd love your gently used children's books!
  • Various fundraising committees
Looking for a volunteer opportunity or have questions about volunteering with United Way? Email Shelby.Otto@UnitedWaySWMN.org.

Community Partner Volunteer Opportunities

Our Community Partner porgrams also offer volunteer opportunities. See below.
Note: These volunter opportunities may be impacted by COVID-19. Please contact the specific program you wish to volunteer for.


Esther's Kitchen

Looking for volunteers to help with cooking and/or serving and cleaning up. There are multiple shifts available; click the link to be directed to the volunteer calendar.

Kitchen Table Food Shelves

Looking for food shelf volunteers. Volunteers do a wide variety of duties at the food shelf, including sorting/organizing food, picking up food from local stores, or assisting food shelf attendees with their shopping.

      Junior Achievement of Lyon County

      Looking for Junior Achievement volunteers. Share your personal and professional experiences and skills with students in the community and help them make the connection between what they are learning in school and what they will need to succeed and work in life. Junior Achievement provides the training, curriculum, and a classroom ready to meet you!

      Neighbor's United Resource Center

      Looking for food shelf volunteers. Volunteers do a wide variety of duties at the food shelf. Send an email for more information.

      New Horizons Crisis Center

      Looking for crisis line volunteers. Volunteers provide crucial intervention services for people in crisis at the time of their greatest need.

        ServeMinnesota Reading Corps

        Looking for reading tutors to help kids become successful readers and learners. Tutors work one-on-one or in small groups with students during school hours.