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Worthy causes to work for

Make a difference in the community during your getaway to the city by the Bay!

San Francisco is home to thousands of dedicated nonprofits doing important work for the community. The following organizations welcome help from short-term volunteers, and are recommended for alternative spring, summer, or winter break activities.

Homelessness & Hunger

Glide Memorial Church, 330 Ellis St. Daily meal service for the disadvantaged. They especially need bag lunch assistants on Saturdays and Sundays, 9-11 a.m. Contact Kris Johnson, , .

The San Francisco Food Bank, 900 Pennsylvania Ave. Needs volunteers to sort, package, and distribute food for hungry people. Contact Sam Marcum, ext. 244, or Lisa Start 282-1907 ext. 246, .

The Welcome Ministry, 1751 Sacramento St. Provides individual care and counseling to the homeless and hungry. Contact Megan Rohrer, ext. 310, .

Hamilton Family Center, 1525 Waller St. Provides food and shelter, as well as services that allow clients to return to self-sufficiency. Contact Alise Wellman, ext. 308, .

Haight Ashbury Food Program, 1525 Waller St. Needs volunteers every weekday to assist with preparing and serving lunchtime meals. Contact Judy, , Email.

St. Gregory's Episcopal Church, 500 De Haro St. On Friday afternoons they serve nearly three tons of food to about 300 local families and individuals. There is also a Food Pantry one Sunday each month. Contact Paul Fromberg, , .

Martin de Porres Hospitality House, 225 Potrero Ave. Volunteers needed to serve breakfast (4 people needed Mon., Tue., Thu., and Fri., 6-8:15 a.m.) and lunch (8-10 people needed Tue.-Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m.) Contact Charlie or Jim, , .

San Francisco Rescue Mission. Each morning, dozens of homeless line up to receive a free breakfast. Contact Michelle, , .

The Faithful Fools, 234 Hyde St. Aim to be present with and address the existence of poverty in the midst of material wealth. They seek to meet people where they are through arts, education, advocacy, and accompaniment. Contact Sister Susan, , .

Temenos, 1550 California St. A not-for-profit ministry that provides support to homeless youth in the Polk Street Neighborhood. Contact Father River Sims, , .

St. Anthony Foundation, 121 Golden Gate Ave. Aims to feed, heal, shelter, clothe, lift the spirits of those in need, and create a society in which all persons flourish. Contact Jeff, , .

Project Homeless Connect, 1380 Howard St., 2nd floor Connects homeless individuals with services ranging from food and medical care to housing and skills development. Contact Judith, , , .

Project Open Hand, 730 Polk St. Provides Meals with Love to people who are homebound and critically ill. Contact director of programs Artrice, , .

Larkin Street Youth Services, 1138 Sutter St. Help youth move beyond street life. Contact volunteer/training coordinator Dana Blecher, ext.228, .

Raphael House, 1065 Sutter St. Offers services to help homeless and at-risk families achieve stable housing and financial independence. Contact Carol Field, , .

Home Away From Homelessness, Fort Mason, Building 9 Four "homes" provide a physical, emotional, and spiritual refuge from the demands of the street. Contact the volunteer coordinator at , .

Children of Shelters, 2269 Chestnut St. Provides children living in homeless shelters with educational and cultural experiences to help them realize their potential and broaden their frame of reference. , .

AIDS Services

Stop AIDS project, 2128 15th St. Aims to change behavior, create personal commitment to safer sex, build community support for each individual, and live the belief that HIV transmission can be prevented. Contact Dan Ledoux, ext. 299, .

San Francisco Aids Foundation, 995 Market St. From staffing the California AIDS Hotline to supporting fundraising efforts, volunteers are a critical component of day-to-day work. Contact Sergio Canno, .

Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center, 183-191 Golden Gate Ave. Working to empower the community to lessen the incidence of HIV infection, disease progression, and homelessness among the residents of the Tenderloin. Contact volunteer/intern services manager David Brently, , .

Project Inform, 205 13th St. #2001 Make a difference in the fight against AIDS. , Email.

Animal Services

Pets are Wonderful Support (PAWS), 645 Harrison St., Suite 100. The time and effort volunteers invest helps hundreds of clients stay with their beloved animal companions. Contact Daniel Marlay, , .

San Francisco Rescued Mammal Program, 879 47th Ave. Programs include public education, rehabilitating injured/orphaned mammals for release back to the wild, habitat restoration, and biodiversity preservation. Contact Jamie, , .

The Evnironment

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Fort Mason, Building 201 Conducts restoration projects within the National Parks in San Francisco. Contact Denise Shea, , .

San Francisco Recreation & Parks National Areas Programs Renews parks and recreation centers through community service by planting and habitat restoration. Contact Kristin Bowman, , .

Friends of the Urban Forest, The Presidio, Building 1007 Learn hands-on skills such as tree identification and proper planting and pruning techniques, while forming connections with community members and their trees. Contact Reed Milnes, , .


Zen Hospice Project, 273 Page St. Operates on a model that transcends "charity work," by encouraging a mutually beneficial relationship between volunteers and people who are dying. Contact Mark Matheson, , .

Hospice by the Bay, 1540 Market St. #350 Offers hospice care to patients facing life-threatening illnesses with a prognosis of six months or less. Contact Ann Bednarczyk, , .

Shanti, 730 Polk St. Provides support to people with life-threatening illnesses. Contact volunteer coordinator Claudia Santos, .

The Elderly

Meals on Wheels - San Francisco, 1375 Fairfax Ave. Works to prevent the inappropriate or premature institutionalization of the city's homebound elderly. Contact Patti Oliver, ext. 231, .

Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, 909 Hyde St., Suite 628 Provides outreach, advocacy, and companionship to isolated elders by visiting, socializing, and helping with household tasks. Contact Emer Keane, , .

Community Development

Arab Cultural and Community Center, 2 Plaza St. Aims to promote mutual understanding between the Arab community and the community at large, working against prejudice and anti-Arab sentiments. Contact Amna or Inas, , .

Done in a Day Projects Meets the first Saturday of every month for reflection and prayer, followed by breakfast and carpool to the project site, equipped with whatever is needed (rakes, shovels, brooms, or rubber gloves) for a job that can be "done in a day." Contact Claire Griffin, , .