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Ottawa Volunteering Opportunities To Make A Difference

Ottawa Volunteering Opportunities To Make A Difference

We’ve all probably handed some loose change to the homeless, but a feeling of Could I do more? still lingers long after I’ve walked away. Until I couldn’t take it anymore and I decided to do something about it and search for more ways to help. 

Ottawa, with its diverse tapestry of cultures and communities, is just teeming with volunteering opportunities. From lending a helping hand to the homeless to fostering brighter tomorrows for our furry friends, the avenues for altruism are in abundance. 

Join us in this exploration of Ottawa’s volunteering landscape, where every act, no matter how small, reverberates through the community. Ready to be inspired? Let’s dive into the list of places where you can volunteer in the city. 

Empower Young Minds at Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa

Address: 430 McArthur Ave., Ottawa, ON K1K 1G5, Canada 

Phone Number: +1 613 746 8517


Office Hours: 

  • Open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 8 pm 
  • Open on Saturday from 6 am to 10 pm 

Dedicated to nurturing the youth, the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa (BGCO) have been providing programs for children beyond school. For more than a century, they’ve been one of the biggest children focused organizations in Ottawa serving 19 neighborhoods. 

Their programs usually happen over summer and winter breaks, the weekend, and after school hours. They have 4 clubhouses in Ottawa and a satellite location in Kanata, Eganville, and Camp Smitty that provide everything from scholarships to daily needs. 

To volunteer, you can volunteer as a helping hand in any of their locations or as a mentor for the kids where you can share your own life stories and express support. 

Pro Tip: 
If you have an unstable schedule and you are not sure if you can commit to a regular volunteering schedule (which they recommend, especially for the mentor program), you can decide to volunteer for 1 time programs like fundraising events instead. 

Lend a Hand with Canadian Red Cross Relief Efforts

Address: 400 Cooper St Suite 8000, Ottawa, ON K2P 2N1, Canada

Phone Number: +1 613 740 1900


Office Hours: Open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm 

One of the ways you can really make an impact is by volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross. This humanitarian organization makes primary healthcare programs available to those who need it in the form of relief goods, water, sanitation, and shelter. 

They mainly focus on areas that don’t have great access to good healthcare or areas that are dealing with disease or war. They also provide emergency and first aid care to areas that have been impacted by natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes.

Although volunteers with healthcare experience like doctors, nurses, caregivers, or anyone in the medical field are preferred, you can still volunteer as helping hands. 

Pro Tip: 
If you don’t have a medical background but you still want to help, try to call and ask about the back end jobs like customer service or office support, which still goes a long way to make the entire organization function well to help more people more efficiently. 

Supporting Women at Cornerstone Housing for Women

Address: 172 O’Connor St, Ottawa, ON K2P 0B4, Canada 

Phone Number:+1 613 237 4669


Office Hours: Open everyday 24/7

Become a force for positive change by volunteering with Cornerstone Housing for Women, an organization dedicated to providing shelter for women who need them. The service they provide comes in 2 forms, permanent housing and emergency shelter. 

As of now, they currently have 5 and soon to be 6 housing communities set up for upwards of 200 women daily. But they provide more than just shelter, the Cornerstone Housing for Women also tries to heal the mental and emotional wounds of its residents. 

To help out, you can volunteer in a variety of activities like organizing community building activities or arts and creative events to allow the women to express themselves. 

Pro Tip: 
Although helping out is highly appreciated, they are in most need of donations to continue funding the homes under their belt. Other big needs are volunteers who can help with processing donations, preparing meals, and providing transportation. 

Build Hope with Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa

Address: 768 Belfast Rd, Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z5, Canada

Phone Number: +1 613 744 7769


Office Hours: Open everyday from 9 am to 5 pm  

Beyond getting your water and food intake needs met, the next most important human need is quality shelter. Although there are plenty of homeless shelters, they don’t guarantee permanence. They don’t give the peace of mind of having your own home. 

Habitat for Humanity Ottawa’s big goal is to provide that for everyone, especially those who can’t afford it yet. With the help of countless volunteers and generous donors, they provide affordable housing solutions by constructing homes for low-income families. 

You can volunteer to help in building homes which started as one single family house here and there, but has now expanded into building full on communities. 

Pro Tip: 
Everyone is welcome to volunteer, but Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa is currently in high need of people who have experience in construction, carpentry, and handling power tools. The preferred volunteer schedule is once a week on a regular basis. 

Champion Inclusion for Mental Disabilities at Live Work Play

Address: 7 Bayview Station Rd, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2C5, Canada

Phone Number: +1 613 235 9550


Office Hours: Open by appointment

A cause that can sometimes go unnoticed is the one that’s dedicated to supporting people with mental disabilities or people on the autism spectrum. LiveWorkPlay hits this cause head on by making these amazing people feel that they belong and are able. 

Live Work Play focuses on being able to address difficulties they might face in all 3 aspects. They make sure they’re integrated into the community for a happier life. They provide real life skills and job opportunities and a chance for them to have fun. 

Beyond traditional volunteer roles like labor work, you can be assigned as volunteers for workshops, outreach programs, or even have one on one heart to heart sessions. 

Pro Tip: 
Live Work Play’s side objective is to educate the rest of the public on awareness about mental disabilities and who they can be more helpful and inclusive. This means there are also opportunities to volunteer to testify and share your stories with others. 

Support Vulnerable Youth at Operation Come Home

Address: 150 Gloucester St, Ottawa, ON K2P 0A6, Canada

Phone Number: +1 613 230 4663


Office Hours: Open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm

The notion that troubled kids just need a bit of guidance and tough love is the motto that Operation Come Home lives by. This organization lives up to its name by implementing programs for homeless and at-risk youth aged 16 and up that bring them home. 

Operation Come Home is a center that aims to provide support to youth in the form of education and employment opportunities to give them the tools to regain control. 

There are many volunteer opportunities here like being a counselor that covers a range of topics from personal problems, employment concerns, and educational direction. There’s also a need for personal and home health experts, or just simply workers. 

Pro Tip: 
Something that Operation Come Home does differently is that they require volunteers to do the exact same thing as the kids they help. Instead of having volunteers watch over the programs, volunteers do the activities with the kids to emphasize unity. 

Fight Hunger with Ottawa Food Bank

Address:  370 Catherine St, Ottawa, ON K1R 5T5, Canada

Phone Number: +1 613 232 3059


Office Hours: Open on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 12 pm to 3 pm

You can join the battle against hunger by volunteering with Ottawa Food Bank, a crucial organization working to eradicate hunger in the city. They make sure they deliver the freshest food they can by partnering with local farmers and growers. 

They then sort the goods out, including donations at their warehouse where you can volunteer. You can also go for the distribution channel openings, with the organization reaching almost 40,000 individuals on a monthly basis. 

Community harvesting events make the picking of the locally grown produce faster and more efficient. You also get to learn about growing them so it’s a win-win! 

Pro Tip: 
Apart from providing healthy food choices to those in need, the Ottawa Food Bank also emphasizes the importance of food and nutrition education. So, if you have a background in that as a professional or even as a student, you should volunteer!

Care for Animals at Ottawa Humane Society

Address:  245 W Hunt Club Rd, Ottawa, ON K2E 1A6, Canada

Phone Number: +1 613 725 3166


Office Hours: 

  • Open from Tuesday to Friday from 12 pm to 7 pm 
  • Open from Saturday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm

If you’re an animal lover, then you can use your care for them as fuel to volunteer for the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS). They are dedicated to caring for sick, injured, and homeless animals, and have lots of opportunities for you to play your part. 

The bulk of the volunteering work is to transport the sick and weak animals to and from vet hospitals and treatment centers. The care the animals need are also great chances to volunteer from being an animal handler or groomer to clinic assistants and doctors. 

You can also volunteer for the foster program where you can adopt animals who are in need of more urgent and close care until they are more independent. 

Pro Tip: 
Although the Ottawa Humane Society mainly focuses on helping out animals, they also try to contribute to society by bringing some of their rescues to hospitals, retirement homes, and homeless shelters to bring joy to people too. 

Turn Food Waste into Warm Meals at Parkdale Food Centre

Address: 30 Rosemount Ave #2, Ottawa, ON K1Y 1P4, Canada 

Phone Number: +1 613 722 8019


Office Hours: 

  • Open from Tuesday to Wednesday from 9 am to 2 pm 
  • Open on Thursday from 9 am to 3 pm 

You can contribute to building a healthier and connected community by volunteering with Parkdale Food Centre (PFC). The organization has a 2 fold goal of preventing food waste and then redistributing those excess supplies to those who need or can’t afford it. 

Volunteering opportunities come in the form of researching possible sources of food like restaurants, supermarkets, farmers, and even local households who have food that will likely just be thrown away. After that, you can help with organizing and distribution. 

PFC also distributes ready to eat meals so they also need a lot of help in the kitchen unloading deliveries, food prep, cooking, packing, and delivering the meals. 

Pro Tip: 
If you’re planning to volunteer with a group of people like friends, family, or coworkers. We recommend signing up for the Recipes for Change program which is a workshop on how to making meals at home to take active roles even outside of the PFC. 

Make Someone’s Last Days Count at the Roger Neilson House

Address: 399 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L2, Canada 

Phone Number: +1 613 523 6300


Office Hours: Open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm 

An illness that limits a person’s ability to live life as they wish and a disease that has no cure impacts the patients who have, but also the family and friends that love them. 

Volunteering with Roger Neilson House allows you to help in the care of the patients, as well as in the support of their loved ones. They offer symptom assessments, transitional care, a home hospice service, and end of life care for their patients. 

In addition to those, they have programs centered on supporting the caretakers of the patients like recreation therapy programs, bereavement services, legacy building services, respite care, and support services like therapy and counseling. 

Pro Tip: 
Since you will be dealing with people who are terminally ill or seriously sick, including children and older people, you will need a lot of strength and composure. 

We recommend those who have traumatic experiences with death to go for back end volunteering opportunities instead. 

Lift Up People without Homes with Shepherds of Good Hope

Address: 233 rue Murray Street Ottawa, ON K1N 5M9

Phone Number: +1 613 789 8210 


Office Hours: Open everyday 24/7

You can become a crucial part of supporting the homeless in Ottawa by volunteering with Shepherds of Good Hope, one of the 4 shelters for the homeless in the city. 

Their services are mainly directed towards practical supportive living, shelter services, and mental and emotional support services.  They also run a soup kitchen that operates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Because of the many services, they need lots of help. 

To volunteer, they ask you to commit to at least 1 4-hour shift every week for a 6 month period. Work here will include working in the soup kitchen, maintaining the homes and facilities, and manning the drop-in center where the homeless can ask for help. 

Pro Tip: 
Holidays and special days see the highest need for helping hands at the Shepherds of Hope. If you don’t have any solid plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year Season, we suggest you volunteer during that period to maximize your efforts.  

Empower Athletes at Special Olympics Ottawa

Phone Number: +1 613 518 1330


For sports lovers who can give back to the community, the Special Olympics Ottawa might be the perfect place for you to volunteer your time and energy. The team behind it operates with the thought that sport has the capacity to change lives for the better. 

They empower all sorts of people like athletes who do not have enough funding or support to further enhance their skills and make it big in the world. They have programs for young athletes and more skilled ones who want to share their skills as teachers. 

The Special Olympics Ottawa team also opens their doors to special needs people who can’t access or enjoy sports as easily as we can. They have classes and programs to allow those who have mental and physical disabilities to still enjoy sports. 

Pro Tip: 
To volunteer for the Special Olympics Ottawa, you don’t have to be a specialized athlete or coach. They have a Unified Sport Program that combines people with and without disabilities for an inclusive and gentle approach to enjoying sports. 

Aid in Helping and Healing Abuse Survivors with Shelter Movers

Address: 110 Didsbury Rd Ottawa, ON, K2T 0C2, Ontario, Canada

Phone Number: +1 613 2666427


Office Hours: Open everyday 24/7

If you are a victim of abuse yourself and wish to end the cycle, or you just want to take a firm stand against abuse, you can do so by volunteering with Shelter Movers. They are an organization who want to allow women in abusive relationships to leave safely. 

They provide moving and storage services for individuals and children who are currently experiencing abuse. Afterwards, they help them heal self confidence and self love, as well as assist them in rebuilding a whole new life by getting new skills and talents. 

For an active role as a volunteer, you can sign up as a truck driver or mover to help people leave abusive homes. But, you can also work as an operations manager to coordinate the resources of the organization with the people who need help. 

Pro Tip: 
Shelter Movers believe that abused people need a lot of encouragement and information to convince them to leave abusive situations, they need a lot of marketers and writers to create pieces that can reach these people through social media.