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10 Great Organizations to Volunteer at in Decatur, Illinois

10 Great Organizations to Volunteer at in Decatur, Illinois

If it weren’t for volunteers over the age of 55, many nonprofits and charitable organizations wouldn’t survive. According to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, volunteering by senior citizens hit a 10-year high in 2011, and one in three U.S. volunteers is 55 or older.

If you’re over the age of 55, you’re poised to be a huge asset to our local community. We know that older adults are more active and healthier than ever. Plus, if you’re retired, you have even more time to donate to the organizations that need it the most.

1. Food Pantries

There are a bunch of food pantries in the Decatur, and the Northeast Community Fund put together a guide showcasing all 15 of them.

Food pantries in Decatur, IL include:

  1. Catholic Charities, 239 W. Prairie St.
  2. Salvation Army Pantry, 1375 S. Church St.
  3. Northeast Community Fund, 825 N. Water St.
  4. Heartland Community Church, 3253 Brush College Rd.
  5. New Vision Church, 1414 W. Grove Rd.
  6. AMELCA, 250 W. Decatur
  7. Temple #1, Corner of Garfield and MLK Dr.
  8. Love Fellowship Christian Church, 1567 N. Clinton St.
  9. Moundford Pantry, 1803 E. Mound Rd.
  10. Ambassadors for Christ Pantry, 1705 N. Maple Ave.
  11. Northwest Christian Church, 1306 Stanley Dr.
  12. First Church of the Nazarene, 1177 W. Hickory Pt. Rd.
  13. Reasonable Services, 321 E. Leafland
  14. Solid Rock Gospel Church, 1160 E. Locust St.
  15. Hopeful Hearts Mobile Pantry, 1224 W. Grand Ave.

The Northeast Community Fund lists on their website that they have about 80 different people who come to volunteer, but they are always in need of additional help! 

Call the facility at (217) 429-5846 or (217) 422-2412 if you’d like to schedule a tour!

2. Local Hospitals

Local hospitals such as Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH) need volunteers in a variety of different areas, such as the Cancer Care Institute, Gift Shop, Lobby Hosts, Patient Advocates, Sewing Projects, and the Thrift Shop. (See a full list of volunteer areas here.)

In their “Volunteers Make a Difference” video, one volunteer says, “You get to meet the nicest people, and it’s very rewarding when you can provide a service and someone tells you how grateful they are.”

Volunteers help patients with a variety of services, such as escorting to physical therapy or the lab or simply being there to talk, share your stories, and even provide prayer.

If you’d like to volunteer for DMH, you can complete an online application here.

St. Mary’s also needs volunteers to brighten the days of patients, families, visitors, and staff. Services that volunteers provide include flower deliveries, Gift Shop sales, patient transport, and various other services across the hospital.

Donations have helped provide television sets for patient rooms, an organ for the Chapel, a communications system, treadmills for Rehabilitation Services, and so much more. While monetary donations are always helpful, if you have time to offer, it would be greatly appreciated!

To inquire about volunteering at St. Mary’s Hospital, call Paula Owens at (217) 464-5540. To apply, you can fill out the online form here.

3. Meals on Wheels

If you have a passion for promoting heart healthy, nutritious meals, Meals on Wheels is a great way to give back to the community!

This community service provides the delivery of hot, healthy lunchtime meals to individuals at their homes. Eligible individuals are 60+ years old and are homebound. Additionally, disabled individuals under 60 may be eligible. Meals are planned and prepared under the supervision of a Registered Dietician at DMH.

Photo credit: Jim Bowling Photos, Herald & Review

Meals are delivered by volunteers Monday through Friday between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Volunteers are also encouraged to provide a friendly check to make sure all is well. Meals on Wheels says that often times, the only person the senior sees that day is the volunteer, so your encouragement – and just your presence – can mean the world.

To apply for volunteering, call the office at (217) 422-6611. Volunteers can help weekly, once or twice a month, as an occasional backup, or on holiday breaks.

4. Decatur Public Schools

Decatur Public Schools are always in need of volunteers to help with everyday needs like the lunchroom or assisting with field trips. Maria Robertson, Community Engagement Director, recommends contacting the specific school to speak to the principal about volunteering needs.

The Decatur Public School’s Volunteering Guidelines document states that assisting as a chaperone is one of the most popular ways the community gets involved.

If you aren’t sure where to start, but you want to get involved, she recommends contacting her at (217) 362-3017 or at mrobertson@dps61.org.

5. Children’s Museum of Illinois

The Children’s Museum of Illinois, located on South Country Club Road, is always seeking adult volunteers to help with tons of different activities and services, including:

  • Hosting the admission desk
  • Assisting the Museum clean-up crew
  • Being a play guide on the exhibit floor
  • Being an education volunteer, assisting with field trips, outreach, Girl Scout programs, and summer camps
  • Assisting with special events
  • Giving your talents, such as painting, sewing, fixing exhibits, cleaning, etc.

You can volunteer daily, weekly, twice per month, once per month, on the weekends, or for special events only. The museum is happy to accept any and all help you can manage.

If you’re interested in volunteering, fill out the online form here!

6. Baby Talk Early Head Start

Do you have a passion for babies and children? Baby Talk Early Head Start utilizes local volunteers to assist the teachers with the children. There are currently 7 regular volunteers who are used in the classrooms.

A representative there explained that some volunteers come to hold and rock the babies, some come to sit down on the floor and play with the kids, and some come to help with breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

In addition, there are often special events, such as “Water Day,” and volunteers help with that as well.

If you’re interested in helping, just give the facility a call at (217) 422-9930. Once you’ve had a few days of volunteering and are sure this is a long-term commitment you’re interested in, you will have to do a background check as required by DCFS. DCFS also requires a physical exam and TB test. 

7. Faith in Action

Faith in Action by Catholic Charities Diocese of Springfield in Illinois serves seniors age 55+ that are homebound. 

Services that volunteers help provide include friendly visits, transportation and escorting, shopping and running errands, minor home and yard maintenance, letter writing and reading, and occasional meal preparation.

Volunteers are ultimately helping preserve independence, dignity, and quality of life for these Macon County residents.

For more information on Faith in Action of Macon County call (217) 428-0013.

8. The Salvation Army

When you volunteer for the Salvation Army, you make a huge impact on our community. Services include assisting with the food pantry, kitchen, social service desk, meal preparation, fundraising events, and seasonal help.

The mission statement of the Salvation Army is that they are an international movement and an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

You can visit the Decatur Salvation Army website to see volunteer positions that need to be filled right now.

If you’d like to lend an extra hand during the holiday season, you can volunteer for Christmas Red Kettle Bell Ringing, which happens in November and December. Contact Kyle Karsten at kyle_karsten@usc.salvationarmy.org to reserve a bell ringing location and time!

9. Special Olympics Illinois

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and over 17,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. 

Volunteers are at the heart of the Special Olympics program. The program encompasses over 17 official sports, fundraising events, event committees, coaching opportunities, Young Athletes sports play programs and community initiatives.

To become a volunteer, you can sign up here and select your region and events.

10. Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center

Growing Strong is a rape crisis center in Decatur, IL that provides healing services to victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse.

This organization can use volunteers in one of two roles:

  1. Helping with fundraising
  2. Assistance with the hotline

If you’re interested in helping with fundraising, you’d be tasked with organizing, promoting, and participating in events such as raffles, golf outings, or gift galleries.

If you’d be interested in covering the hotline, you’re asked to complete adequate training on crisis intervention skills. The hotline can be covered from your own home on evenings, weekends, and holidays. You’re also free to choose the rotation that fits in with your schedule.

If you’re interested in volunteering, call the center at (217) 428-0770.

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