5 Community Service Ideas for Chicago Kids

Alicia in Chicago, IL
Nov. 30, 2017

Do some good with these family-friendly volunteer opportunities.

Image via Facebook/The Honeycomb Project

There’s no shortage of things to do and see -- and fun to have -- in Chicago. And with all that the Windy City has to offer, Chicagoans have plenty of chances to give back to the community that we love. Volunteer work may seem like grownup fare, but there are plenty of ways for kids to get involved in making the city a better place.

We found opportunities for families to pitch in with beach cleanup projects, food pantry chores, animal shelter needs, and other worthwhile work. No matter the cause, kids can get that feel-good feeling while helping out alongside adults, whether it’s their parents, a babysitter, or their nanny. Read on for our list of ways to do some good around you.


The Honeycomb Project

Phone: 773-750-7120
Volunteer opportunities: Click here.

Image via Facebook/The Honeycomb Project

This organization is all about getting families involved. The Honeycomb Project partners with nonprofits and sets up family-friendly volunteering events year-round. Projects benefit at-risk, homeless, and low-income Chicagoans. All ages are welcome at the projects, and most work is best suited for ages 5 and up. Each project’s sign-up page offers specific details about age recommendations. All kids should be accompanied by an adult.

Opportunities include making dog and cat toys at the Anti-Cruelty Society, packing and distributing groceries at Ravenswood Community Pantry, and collecting garbage at 63rd Street Beach. Registration opens on the 15th of the month before each event, and spots can go fast. Event listings include suggested donations to cover supplies, and healthy snacks are provided during the project.


Chicago Cares

Phone: 312-780-0800
Volunteer opportunities: Click here.

Image via Facebook/Chicago Cares

Volunteers get the chance to make a difference in a lot of ways when working with Chicago Cares. The organization mobilizes volunteers on all kinds of local causes with the goal to get everyone involved in solving the city’s problems. Some kid-friendly projects include serving breakfast and playing games with low-income seniors and packing and distributing food at the Hyde Park/Kenwood Food Pantry.

Chicago Cares welcomes volunteers ages 8 and up, and the minimum age is listed on each project’s sign-up page. Kids over 16 can register and attend events without a parent. All kids should bring a signed youth waiver when they show up to help out.


Cradles to Crayons

Address: 4141 W. George St., Chicago, IL 60641
Phone: 312-767-1008
Volunteer opportunities: Click here.

Image via Facebook/Cradles to Crayons Chicago

Cradles to Crayons helps children in poverty by providing them with the essentials they need -- hence the name! Families can volunteer in the organization’s Giving Factory warehouse to sort and process donated items so they can get into children’s hands.

Good news for tiny volunteers: There’s no minimum age requirement at Cradles to Crayons. All kids need to volunteer with an adult, and children under 5 years old need to have their own parent present. The organization asks that you bring along a new or like-new children’s item to your shift. They accept items from clothing to books to hygiene supplies.


Feed My Starving Children


  • 555 Exchange Court, Aurora, IL 60504 | P: 630-851-0404

  • 742 E. Park Ave. (Route 176), Libertyville, IL 60048 | P: 847-984-3846

  • 1072 National Parkway, Schaumburg, IL 60173 | P: 847-519-9614

Volunteer opportunities: Click here.

Image via Facebook/Feed My Starving Children

Feed My Starving Children’s mission is to provide meals to malnourished children around the world. Children 5 and up can help out by volunteering at one of three suburban Chicago packing centers. Sign yourself and your child up for a two-hour shift, and pack food like rice, soy, and dried vegetables to be shipped to partner organizations from Central America to Africa to Asia.

Keep in mind that you should wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes, and if you’re coming with a group, follow guidelines for how many adults should be present per child.


PAWS Chicago

Address: 1997 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, IL 60614 | Find more locations here.
Phone: 773-935-7297
Volunteer opportunities: Click here.

Image via Facebook/PAWS Chicago

Kids 12 and up can help homeless pets through PAWS Chicago’s Family Service Program. The animal shelter uses pet-loving volunteers to work with dogs and cats, run events, and facilitate adoptions.

Jobs for kids (and their parents) include cleaning animal areas, socializing animals, and acting as greeters at the adoption center. Families are trained at an orientation to learn about PAWS Chicago and its mission before they start volunteering.


What’s your family’s favorite way to get involved? Let us know in the comments below!


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