There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than taking some time to lend a hand to those in need.
And there is plenty of need, even here in our fine community. Find what speaks to your heart in our guide (see below) to volunteer opportunities throughout the region. We’ve compiled a list of charities and nonprofits that make it their mission to help the less fortunate not just during the holidays, but all year long. You’ll find organizations that support the environment, the military, children, the elderly, the ill, the homeless and animals. Think of this list of nonprofits as a place to start. There are many more places that need volunteers. And don’t forget to check out local hospitals, senior communities and care centers, clinics and Boys & Girls Clubs. Local museums and culture centers are always looking for volunteer docents. Also check out volunteer.org for even more opportunities.
Collect and donate leftover Halloween candy for deployed soldiers or help write letters of appreciation to be included in care packages for troops.
21100 Lassen St., Chatsworth
For The Troops
Help this nonprofit operation send care packages to troops abroad by donating items, becoming a sponsor or helping pack boxes.
2960 Cochran St., Simi Valley
Nationwide operation provides food, financial help, repairs and aid to the families of service members and wounded warriors.
Pets for Vets
By pairing up shelter animals and veterans, this nonprofit fosters companionship.
Ventura County Stand Down
Donate clothing, food and medical supplies to homeless veterans or join the Adopt-a-Veteran Program through the Thousand Oaks’ Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post No. 11395.
Ventura County Military Collaborative
Operation Snowflake brings Santa Claus out for an afternoon with veterans, military personnel and loved ones who are struggling during the holidays. Help out by donating toys and gifts or by volunteering at the event.
4001 Mission Oaks Blvd., Suite O Camarillo
Gold Coast Veterans Foundation
Help veterans transition back to civilian life through education and career resources, healthcare and housing assistance.
4001 Mission Oaks Blvd., Ste. D
Gary Sinise Foundation
Unique programs founded by “Forrest Gump” actor Gary Sinise serve veterans and their families and aim to build veteran communities.
Various volunteer and donation opportunities to help feed, clothe, comfort and care for veterans and others in need.
Newbury Park, Simi Valley, Oxnard
Toys for Tots Foundation
Local volunteers help collect, sort, store and organize new and unwrapped toys that will be given to children in the community.
The volunteer-run Children’s Holiday Boutique gives kids the opportunity to shop for (donated) holiday gifts for loved ones.
1722 S. Lewis Road, Camarillo
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County
Holiday Angels program provides gifts for in-need children.
4001 Mission Oaks Blvd., Ste. J
Assistance League Ventura County
Donations needed for Operation School Bell program, which provides school clothes to children.
913 E. Santa Clara St., Ventura
Children’s Services Auxiliary of Ventura County
Through donations made to the Holiday Toy Store, disadvantaged parents and guardians can shop for holiday presents for their children free of charge.
My Stuff Bags
This foundation delivers duffels filled with donated toys, toiletries, clothes and blankets to kids who had to leave everything behind when brought to foster care.
5347 Sterling Center Drive
Read to and make crafts with children ages 5 to 12 once a month or assist with everyday homework and tutoring needs. Annual Bowls of Hope event in November helps provide affordable housing to families in the region.
1259 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Golden Heart Ranch
Volunteers assist developmentally disabled teens and young adults in crafts, games, and ranch responsibilities in rural setting.
3190 Triunfo Canyon Road
Home Instead Senior Care
“Be a Santa to a Senior” program brings holiday gifts to elderly who may otherwise not receive any.
6593 Collins Drive, Moorpark
Volunteer at the Bargain Boutique and Thrift Store and the annual Love Run and Ultimate Dining Experience. Drivers also needed for Meals on Wheels program.
401 Hodencamp Road, Thousand Oaks
Volunteers are paired with homebound elders to provide companionship and basic assistance several hours a week.
1765 Goodyear Ave., No. 205, Ventura
Camarillo Health Care District
Help make meals for seniors, conduct crafts and activities in the Adult Day Center, volunteer on the Senior Support Line and help seniors via phone who are lonely, isolated or searching for community resources.
3639 E. Las Posas Road, Ste. 117 Camarillo
(805) 388-1952, ext. 112
Cancer Support Community
Help with special events, monthly workshops and educational programs and general office work.
530 Hampshire Road, Westlake Village
Volunteers shop and deliver weekly groceries to seniors living alone in Ventura County.
One Incredible Family, Inc.
Be part of a holiday yuletide caroling program for the elderly.
(310) 313-0123, ext. 1
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Serve hot meals and offer compassion and encouragement to the homeless every Wednesday evening. From December through March, a place to sleep and shower is also provided; volunteers are needed to host the sleepovers and donate supplies.
32111 Watergate Road
Conejo Valley Meal and Winter Shelter Program
Volunteers prepare, cook and serve hot meals nightly at various locations participating in this Lutheran Social Services of Southern California program. From Dec. 1 through March 31, volunteers are needed to staff winter shelters.
Many Meals of Camarillo
Pitch in and help this nonprofit volunteer organization serve hot meals to the homeless and others every Monday and Thursday evening.
St. Mary Magdalen Church Hall (Mondays)
25 N. Las Posas Road, Camarillo
Trinity Presbyterian Church (Thursdays)
2304 Antonio Ave., Camarillo
Ventura County Rescue Mission
Help with meal preparation, meal service and clean up, plus sorting and stocking food donations at this men-only facility. Tutors, counselors and facility maintenance volunteers also are needed. Children 10 and older can volunteer if accompanied by adult.
234 E. Sixth St., Oxnard
Lighthouse for Women & Children
Volunteer at Lighthouse’s year-round emergency shelter which serves homeless single women and mothers with children.
150 N. Hayes Ave., Oxnard
The Kingdom Center Women’s Shelter
Adult and youth volunteers are needed to help serve nightly meals, provide child care and assist with grounds maintenance at this faith-based shelter, which serves homeless women and children.
1450 S. Rose Avenue, Oxnard
Volunteer for the annual count and survey of homeless persons in Ventura County in late January. The collected data is used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help determine how much money to allocate for local homeless services.
Schools on Wheels
Volunteer tutors are needed to work one-on-one with homeless youth in Ventura County. The weekly sessions take place at shelters, foster homes, schools, libraries and other locations.
Homeless 2 Home
This Lutheran Social Services’ program needs volunteers to help distribute sack lunches and clothing, provide transportation, and give resource referrals.
Samaritan Center Simi Valley
Volunteers are needed to help staff the nonprofit center’s winter sleep shelters, open nightly Nov. 1 through March 31. Large facilities that can host a sleep site are needed, too, as are volunteers to collect and distribute basic needs items to the homeless.
280 Royal Ave., Simi Valley
Moorpark Pantry Plus
Volunteers can fill Christmas and Easter food baskets and assist during the Christmas Toy Giveaway. Next year, help is needed with Mother’s and Father’s Day lunches as well as help with back-to-school events.
612 Spring Road, Ste. 101
Ventura Community Services Center
Individuals can collect new socks for the homeless and donate them to the center, which is run by Catholic Charities Santa Barbara/Ventura County.
303 N. Ventura Ave., Ste. A
Food Bank aimed at ending hunger in the Conejo Valley.
3020 Crescent Way, Thousand Oaks
Cats Cradle Rescue
Foster cats and kittens, help with adoption events or volunteer in the thrift store.
1954 E. Main St., Ventura
Shelter Hope Pet Shop
Volunteers needed to work in the store and foster dogs at night.
193 N. Moorpark Road, Ste. F
Animal Rescue Volunteers
Foster a pet or volunteer at the annual fundraising event, the
Wag ‘n Walk, on Sept. 30.
Humane Society of Ventura County
Volunteer at this private, nonprofit shelter that rescues homeless, neglected or abandoned animals.
402 Bryant St., Ojai
Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center
Help feed, groom, walk and socialize the center’s animals.
705 E. Santa Paula St., Santa Paula
Canine Adoption and Rescue League
Care for sick, unwanted, abandoned and homeless dogs. Organization advocates for animal welfare through adoption, education and outreach.
901 Mission Rock, Santa Paula
Rancho St. Francis
Help groom, exercise and socialize rescue horses.
2834 Borchard Road, Newbury Park
Adults can volunteers in Paw Works’ pet adoption stores in Thousand Oaks and Ventura. Kids 6 to 15 are needed to spread the word about animal rescue at schools and community events.
79 E. Daily Drive, Ste. 515, Camarillo
Greyfoot Rescue & Sanctuary
Clean, feed, socialize cats and help with adoption events for this no-kill organization that adopts out unwanted, abandoned and homeless cats and kittens.
National Disaster Search Dog Foundation
This foundation rescues dogs and trains them to join first responders in disaster search and rescue efforts.
6800 Wheeler Canyon Road, Santa Paula
Dogs on Deployment
This nonprofit finds volunteers to board pets of military members while they are deployed.
Organization for Respect and Care of Animals, Inc.
Group works to educate public on sea and land animals.
79 E. Daily Drive No. 236, Camarillo
Ventura County Animal Services
Help dogs, cats and bunnies at the Camarillo and Simi Valley shelters.
600 Aviation Drive, Camarillo
670 W. Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley
Wildlife Care of SoCal
Help rehabilitate and release injured wild animals.
Valley Cats, Inc.
Volunteer as a cat cuddler at this adoption shelter.
790 Hampshire Road, Ste. H
L.I.F.E. Animal Rescue
Volunteers needed for Saturday adoption events in Westlake Village, as well as mama cat and litter fostering.
(818) 707-2007 for dogs
(818) 707-6186 for cats
Simi Valley Missing Pets
Foster a pet or help at the adoption center.
Healthcare for Homeless Animals
Provide foster care for medically needy animals by volunteering with L.A. County Animal Care and Control. Volunteers may choose to work with dogs, cats, bunnies and, if qualified, horses.
California State Parks Foundation
The Park Champions Program holds volunteer work days in state parks across California. Recent projects have included trail repair, invasive plant removal, habitat restoration, the rehabilitation of a historic orchard, fence construction, bridge construction and repainting park structures.
California Wildlife Center
Center assists injured wildlife and promotes protection of wildlife through education.
26026 Piuma Road, Calabasas
Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency
Nonprofit that promotes and maintains Conejo Valley open space and trails.
2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Community Roots Garden
A ministry of the North Oxnard United Methodist Church, this nonprofit community garden welcomes volunteers to learn and share food together.
1801 Joliet Place, Oxnard
Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association
All-volunteer nonprofit serving the mountain bicycling community and dedicated to preserving open space, maintaining access to public lands and creating more trail opportunities.
Friends of the Island Fox
A program of the Channel Islands Park Foundation, FIF supports efforts to save the endangered island fox on the California Channel Islands through conservation and education programs.
1901 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura
Havasi Wilderness Foundation
Nonprofit that aims to increase environmental education and awareness. The foundation provides grants for schools and other groups to visit state parks and other natural history destinations.
5739 Kanan Road, No. 206
Surfrider Foundation Ventura Chapter
Nonprofit protects the ocean and beaches with monthly volunteer beach cleanups.
872 E. Front St., Ventura
Ojai Valley Land Conservancy
Nonprofit community-based organization working to preserve open space in the Ojai Valley.
370 Baldwin Road, Ojai
Multicultural Education for Resources Issues Threatening Oceans (MERITO) is committed to protecting the ocean by offering education, conservation and scientific research opportunities to multicultural youth and their communities.
2298 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo
National Parks Service
Lots of volunteer opportunities in parks including garden maintenance, helping in the visitor center, trail education, restoration and horse operations.
401 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks
Santa Monica Mountains Fund
Official friends group and nonprofit partner for the mountains of the National Park Service work to protect mountain lions, bring kids to the park and repair trails.
401 W. Hillcrest Drive
Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA)
Maintains and protects over 60,000 acres of open green space in the greater Los Angeles area. Volunteers can help maintain mountain hiking trails or patrol trails on horseback or mountain bike, guide interpretive nature programs, work as a host in a nature center, or teach environmental education programs.
Mountains Restoration Trust
Committed to the unique biodiversity of the Santa Monica Mountains and restoring degraded lands for future generations of wildlife, plants and people.
23075 Mulholland Highway
Ventura Audubon Society
Participate in the society’s annual Christmas Bird Count.
Ojai Raptor Center
Rehabilitating and releasing birds of prey in Ventura County.
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