During the holiday seasons, offering your time to help others can be very rewarding and fulfilling.

In San Jose, there are plenty of organizations you can choose to volunteer at based on your availability and preference.

Volunteering can take on a number different of opportunities, such as donating blood with the Red Cross, creating audio books for the blind or even helping harvest fruit trees for the hungry.

Whether you are looking to volunteer occasionally or make it a regular practice, our guide below offers a selection of the many volunteer opportunities around the South Bay.

Environmental Volunteers
For those who are environmentally conscious and wish to teach the future generation how to care for the planet, Environmental Volunteers “promote understanding of and responsibility for the environment through hands-on science education.” Volunteers train to teach natural science to children in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties through classroom lessons, day camps, nature walks and field trips. Teaching experience is not a requirement, however volunteers must complete at least one offered training program.

Commitment: Minimum of 3 hours a month for at least 1 year. Volunteer opportunities are generally during the school day (Monday-Friday, 8am-2:30pm).

Contact: 650.961.0545 or 408.244.2449 weekdays between 9am and 5pm.

South Bay
4020 Moorpark Ave. Suite 105
San Jose, CA 95117

3921 East Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303-4326

Books Aloud
Helping the blind, visually impaired and disabled find more enjoyment in reading, the 30-year-old non-profit Books Aloud records books into audio format. The program has more than 5,000 unabridged titles with selections available for all ages and interests. Volunteer opportunities range from participating in book selection, reading audio books for recording, sound editing, assembling books for distribution and circulation and check in.

Commitment: Those interested in being a book reader must audition and commit one hour per week.

Contact: 408.808.2613.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library (Lower Level)
150 E. San Fernando Street
San Jose, CA 95112

Village Harvest
Harvesting fruit from backyards and small orchards year round, Village Harvest delivers fresh produce to local food agencies to feed the hungry. The organization also provides education of fruit tree care, harvesting and food preservation. Duties for volunteers include participating in harvests throughout the year, where children as young as seven can help, making this a great opportunity for families to volunteer together. Additionally those with fruit-bearing trees are welcome to donate their harvest or allow volunteers to their home.

Commitment: No minimum commitment.

Contact: 888.378.4841.

Village Harvest
P. O. Box 9231
San Jose, CA 95157

Sacred Heart Community Services
Sacred Heart fulfills their mission to change lives and impact poverty in San Jose by providing essential services and offering tools for self-sufficiency. Volunteer positions include working in the food pantry accepting and sorting donations, the clothes closet greeting customers and sorting donated clothing and other positions such as housing assistance and adult education.

Commitment: No minimum commitment for volunteering in food pantry or clothes closet; other volunteer positions have a 3-month commitment.

Contact: 408.278.2160.

Sacred Heart Community Services
1381 South First Street
San Jose, CA 95110

American Red Cross Silicon Valley
Providing disaster relief nationally and locally, the American Red Cross is one of the most recognized volunteer opportunities. Volunteers young and old have the opportunity to offer aid and assistance to those displaced by disasters, donate blood or participate in First Aid and CPR safety courses.

Commitment: Time requirements vary with positions; check www.siliconvalley-redcross.org for more information on each volunteer opportunity.

Contact: 408.577.1000 between 8:30am and 5pm.

San Jose Office
2731 North First Street
San Jose, CA 95134