News | September 11 Day of Service

Help Commemorate the 22nd ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Celebrate Local Heroes During Our Annual 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.

Join with family, friends, neighbors and service groups to commemorate the heroes of 9/11 who sacrificed so much 20 years ago. This Monday September 11th is our annual Day of Service and Remembrance — a great opportunity to personally thank local police, firefighters, first responders and rescue professionals for their heroism and sacrifices by dropping off cards and letters, “purchased” baked goods, children’s artwork, and other personal expressions of gratitude. Continue reading below to find out more.

Featured | For nonprofits | News | Nonprofit Events

Register Now for our November 7th Nonprofit Workshop “Grow: How Organizations Can Use META to Build Communities, Raise Awareness and Fundraise”

The Volunteer Center invites all Nonprofit Executive Directors, Communications Managers and Development Chairs to a results-based workshop addressing all of your questions about social media and Meta Lead by global brand professional Mack Reynolds, we’ll be exploring questions like “How can I build an active online community?”, “How can social…

News | Nonprofit News

Drop Off at Make A Difference Day — Then Drop by the Fall Fest Community Wellness Fair!

This Saturday, October 22nd, after you drop off your donations at Make A Difference Day, make sure you drop by the Fall Fest Community Wellness Fair, co-sponsored by VC partners North Shore Senior Center and New Trier Township.  Make A Difference Day starts at 9am, which leaves plenty of time to…

For nonprofits | News | Nonprofit Events

The Volunteer Center Invites Nonprofits to a FREE Training Program: “The Basics of Board Governance” on June 15th

Please join the VC and your fellow nonprofit officers and directors at a training program on the fundamentals of nonprofit board governance on Wednesday, June 15th, at Skokie School in Winnetka. CPA Nancy Gonsiorek will share her more than 25 years’ experience as a consultant to nonprofit clients specializing in the fiduciary and legal responsibilities of the board, and the pillars of good board governance. Continue reading to learn more — and to register for this NO-FEE training event.

For nonprofits | News

Volunteers Needed for Community Shredding Event Saturday May 7th. Bring Your Documents Too!

The Volunteer Center is joining with New Trier Township and Regina Dominican High School to sponsor a free community-wide document shredding and disposal event this Saturday, May 7th from 8:30am-11:30am at Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette. We need volunteers! Come to help — and bring your documents to shred with you! Find more details here.


The Volunteer Center and James Martin Associates Host Earth Day Service Event April 23rd

  Join us for Special Restoration Projects in Honor of National Earth Day When is the Earth Day event? Saturday, April 23rd, from 9:00 -11:00am (an additional shift from 11:00 – 1:00pm may be added if there is a large overflow response)  Where is it? Harbert-Payne Woods in Evanston on…

News | Recognition Events

This Year’s Recognition Event Featured an Inspiring Group of Volunteers Who Are Making a Difference in Our community

Join us at this year’s celebration of 4 amazing local volunteers. We’re taking the stage at the historic Wilmette Theater to recognize our honorees with a lively and entertaining evening that will inspire and delight. We’re thrilled to be live again, but if you’re not comfortable attending in-person, you can also sign up to receive a professional video of the event. Continue Reading for more details about the event, our honorees and how to register.

Days of Service | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | News

Volunteers of All Ages Honor Dr. Martin Luther King With Remote Service Projects

2022 MLK DAY OF SERVICE : Due to the recent rise in COVID cases, The Volunteer Center (VC) offered this year’s MLK Day of Service volunteers remote project kits to finish at home and bring back to the VC for delivery to local nonprofits. The volunteer community responded with overwhelming generosity, and made 164 blankets and hundreds of other meaningful goods for the struggling clients of many supportive organizations. Continue reading to see pictures of some of our loyal volunteers and their finished products. And if you’re looking for activities to do at home with your friends or family during this wintry, indoor season, you’ll also find some great ideas — with complete instructions — that you can do anytime.

Days of Service | Make a Difference Day | News

Recycle Your Goods for Good at This Year’s Make A Difference Day on Saturday, October 23rd

Don’t miss this chance to “Recycle Your Goods for Good.” Our annual Make A Difference Day is coming up on Saturday, October 23rd from 9-noon! We’re moving back to our location since 2003 — the Indian Hill Train station in Winnetka — where 15 nonprofits will be collecting everything from adult sneakers to winter coats, school supplies to sporting goods, textbooks to toiletries — and the always popular pet supplies! See complete details on the link below for this annual drop-off donation event, so start collecting and encouraging your groups to gather goods for good now!


Take action today to help victims of crisis in Afghanistan. Here are some ways you can help you can help.

The crisis in Afghanistan has humanitarian implications across the globe, including right here in Chicago.  VC partners Madonna Mission, Refugee One and World Relief are springing into immediate action to help refugees fleeing the danger in Afghanistan settle into new homes and build new lives — and they need immediate help.  Continue Reading to find out how you can volunteer or donate here.  

Featured | News

Looking to Volunteer this Summer? We Can Help!

Looking to volunteer some time this summer? Then let us help you help others! Have a particular cause you would like to support? Not sure what you would like to do? Visit our VC Nonprofit Partner page with a list of our 165 nonprofits and their missions. Check out their individual pages and see what interests you and offer your services. Click here to start your search!

News | Nonprofit Events | Other

Volunteers Needed for Community-Wide Document Shredding Event Saturday, November 13th

The Volunteer Center and New Trier Township are sponsoring a free community-wide Shredding and Document Destruction Event on Saturday, November 13th from 8:30am-11:30am in the parking lot of Regina Dominican High School, at 701 Locust Street in Wilmette. This safe, contactless, drive-through event is a great opportunity to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft by destroying financial and other private documents before you dispose of them. We are looking for volunteers to help unload documents from donor’s cars and loading them into the shredding truck. Continue Reading for more information or to volunteer.


Celebrate Earth Day 2021 with The Volunteer Center and our Partner James Martin Associates Saturday April 24th

On Saturday, April 24th, from 9:30-11:30 am, individuals and families are invited to participate in this year’s National Earth day theme, “Restore Our Earth” by removing invasive plants and other projects that will help restore native habitat for birds and pollinators in Harbert-Payne Woods in Evanston, on the North Shore Channel. This is a great Covid-safe opportunity for individuals and families to come together to make a difference in our local community! Registration is limited and required. Reserve your space(s) now. Ages 5-adult welcome. Click here now for more details or to register.

News | Recognition Events

It May Have Been Virtual, But This Year’s Annual Celebration of Our Super Hero Volunteers Was As Inspiring As Always!

On March 11, 2021 we were inspired by the stories of 5 incredible volunteers who are putting their super powers to work to help save the world! Our first-ever virtual event included video entertainment, awards, and raffle prizes, all emcee’d by local talents Onnie & Steven Scheyer. Continue Reading to watch a video recap of our event, and learn more about our amazing honorees.

Days of Service | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | News

More Ways for All Ages to Learn and Serve on MLK DAY

Additional Opportunities to Learn and Serve on MLK Day Although we will not be hosting our MLK Day of Service in person this year, we would like to provide volunteers meaningful ways to honor the extraordinary legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We have some suggestions for individuals or…

Days of Service | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | News


Our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration looked a little different this year, but the Volunteer Center still found ways to honor his enduring legacy of social justice and service by sponsoring 2 Covid-safe community initiatives. First, we were proud to partner with HEROS (Healing Everyday Racism in the Schools) to engage the community in a thought-provoking MLK LEGACY Workshop that focused on Dr. King’s 1965 speech in Winnetka and the concrete steps we can take locally to create Dr. King’s “Beloved Community”. Then, in keeping with our tradition of engaging in service on MLK Day, the VC also invited volunteers from the community to participate in our signature DIY no-sew fleece blanket donation program for homeless shelters and refugees. Instead of working side by side, families made 50+ blankets remotely during MLK “Week” that were distributed to local nonprofits. Continue Reading for more details about these 2 meaningful community events.

Holidays | News

Happy Holidays — and Happy Volunteering — from The Volunteer Center

The coronavirus has made this an unusual holiday season, and is challenging local nonprofits in new ways. But their mission is more important than ever, especially during the holidays, and many of our nonprofit partners are in need of volunteers. We will post holiday opportunities as they come to us, so check this page regularly. We also encourage you to search through our list of nonprofits, and if you find an organization that you would like to support you can also contact them directly through our website to let them know you’re interested in volunteering. Wishing all volunteers a safe, healthy and happy holiday season!


Suggestions to Safely Help Others During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus Pandemic is challenging all of us in ways we never imagined. But there are those in our community who are particularly challenged to maintain their health and well-being — and Nonprofits still on the front lines continue to serve those in need. Lonely and homebound senior citizens, low income individuals and families, people with disabilities — all are struggling. Even in this time of isolation and fear, there are plenty of ways we can all be good neighbors. Continue reading to see how you can make a difference. As always, we are grateful for our committed volunteers, and we will continue to update this list as we identify new, safe ways to serve. Stay safe and be smart everyone!

Days of Service | Kids Against Hunger | News

Kids Against Hunger is POSTPONED!

Due to the public health threat of the coronavirus, the Kids Against Hunger food packing event scheduled for Saturday March 14 at the Community House is postponed to a future date to be determined. We will not be packing food this Saturday.

Public health officials are encouraging citizens, particularly those 60 years and older, to avoid public gatherings. We want to be a part of the efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, so postponing Saturday’s event is the right thing to do.

We hope to reschedule the event to a date after the coronavirus threat is gone. Watch this website for updates.

As we have already funded the bulk food and packing materials for this event, if you have already signed up, we hope you can wait until we identify a new date before requesting a refund of your participation fees. Of course, if you do request a refund now, we will honor it as soon as we can. Refund requests and other questions should be directed to

Thank you for your support of this project and for partnering with the Volunteer Center to feed starving children.

News | Recognition Events

In March the VC Celebrated Some Outstanding Volunteers — And Our 60th Anniversary — At Our Annual Recognition Event.

Join us at our 2020 Recognition Event, where we will celebrate 60 remarkable years of the Volunteer Center helping others. This year we are also recognizing a wide range of outstanding student and adult volunteers dedicated to helping youth and all people in need — a reflection of our commitment to ensuring the future of volunteerism. So come — and bring your teen or young adult future volunteers with you — to Michigan Shores Club on March 4th. Appetizers and drinks will be served, and you will be inspired! For more information about our amazing honorees and to register for the celebration, Continue Reading.

Days of Service | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | News

MLK, Jr. Day of Service 2020: “Give Back in Harmony!” A Special Community Celebration

The Community House in Winnetka was once again the location of this year’s MLK, Jr. Day of Service, hosted by the Volunteer Center and Winnetka Youth Organization (WYO) on Monday, January 20. Hundreds of generous volunteers participated in hands-on projects that benefitted multiple local nonprofits. NEW THIS YEAR — All levels of musicians and vocalists were invited to perform in honor of Dr. King’s legacy of peace, equality, patriotism — and harmony. Continue reading for more details about the day, and nonprofits who were grateful beneficiaries.

Holidays | News | Thanksgiving “Share Your Bounty”

Provide Groceries for Low-Income and Homeless Families at Our Annual “Share Your Bounty” This Thanksgiving

The holidays are particularly challenging for low-income and homeless families — but you can help. Any individual, family or group is invited to fill either cloth or paper bags, or a small boxes, with healthy groceries from the list provided, then drop them off between 10am and noon on Thanksgiving morning at Good News Partners in Rogers Park. Although there is no contact with residents due to the pandemic, it’s still a meaningful way to make a difference to those in need, and it’s guaranteed to set the tone for a thankful day in a very challenging time. Reservations are not required, just drive up with your donations and volunteers and staff will take your generous donations from your car. Continue reading for more details, and the list of items needed. Happy Thanksgiving!


Maybe Your Nonprofit IS the Bomb. But Is It Hitting the Right Target?

21st CENTURY COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIES FOR YOUR NONPROFIT Nonprofit Directors and Communications Officers, please join the VC — and 2 industry heavy-hitters — for breakfast and a highly motivational training program designed to help you build effective marketing and communications strategies for your nonprofit.  This will be a thought-provoking workshop that…


Please Join Us at Our School Service-Learning Workshop and Networking Event

THIS EVENT IS RESCHEDULED FOR SPRING 2020.  PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION LATER THIS YEAR. Calling All Faith-based and School Parent Organization Presidents and Service-Learning Outreach Chairs   STAY TUNED FOR DATE AND LOCATION IN SPRING 2020   Need to spice up your faith-based or school’s community service program…

Days of Service | Make a Difference Day | News

Our Biggest Make A Difference Day Ever!

The Volunteer Center would like to thank the volunteers and donors that helped make this year’s Make A Difference Day a smashing success even during this challenging time — with a special shout-out to our amazing partners Highcrest Middle School and Wilmette Junior High PTOs. Individuals, families and community groups turned out with trunks full of donations for 15 local nonprofits working on the front lines to help people (and animals!) in need. Hard-working volunteers and generous donors adjusted seamlessly to the safe, socially-distanced, no contact drop-off process — and a new location — donating everything from winter coats to prom dresses, school supplies to sporting goods, textbooks to toiletries. Continue reading for more details. See you next year!

News | Recognition Events

Four Exceptional Volunteers. One Exceptional Performer. One Amazing Celebration!

At this year’s annual Recognition Event, The Volunteer Center and a spirited gathering of friends and supporters paid tribute to 4 amazing volunteers, who have inspired the community by giving generously of their time and talents in service to those in need. We also featured a live concert on the Winnetka Chapel Stage by up-and-coming Chicago artist and American Idol finalist Manny Torres, whose soulful music provided the perfect end note to a magical celebration. Click here to learn more about our amazing honorees — and this special evening in celebration of music and mission.

News | Volunteer Corner

Award-Winning Nonprofit Resale Shop Seeking Volunteers to Help Launch New Store at Old Orchard

North Shore Exchange has already raised $1.5 million at luxury resale stores in Glencoe and 900 North Michigan/Chicago and online, benefitting dozens of local organizations that help children and families in need. On June 1 they’re opening a beautiful new store at Old Orchard — and they need volunteers who share a passion for their mission and enjoy retail. If you’re looking to join a team of dedicated volunteers who are making a difference while having fun, click the logo above to find out more!

Days of Service | Kids Against Hunger | News

Can’t Make it to Kids Against Hunger This Year? You Can Still Support Them — and Enjoy a Fun Night Out — at the KAH Benefit Concert Thursday, February 21st

Join us at the 2nd Annual KAH Benefit Concert on February 21st at Little ricky’s in Winnetka. While you dance the night away to great music, you can support the lifesaving work of Kids Against Hunger. Find our more here.

Days of Service | Homepage | Kids Against Hunger | News

Kids Against Hunger 2019 Exceeds Goal, Producing 100,440 Meals for the Hungry

The VC is grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who showed up on Saturday, March 16 for one of our most meaningful days of service. Tables filled with family, friends old and new, and community groups who helped assemble 100,440 nutritious meals for starving Nicaraguans, which surpassed our 100,000 goal! This is always a fast paced and fun service project that has become an annual tradition!

Holidays | News

Looking for Holiday Volunteer Opportunities? Find Them Here!

If you’re hoping to make a difference to someone in need during the holidays, ’tis the season when many of our nonprofit partners are looking for a little extra help. Take a look at our Directory of Holiday Opportunities here — and make sure you visit this page often, as we will be adding new opportunities throughout the holiday season.

Days of Service | Homepage | Make a Difference Day | News

Thanks to Everyone in the Community Who Turned Out to Support Our 2018 MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY on Saturday, October 27th!

Cars lined up all morning to drop off everything from diapers to dog food, bikes to blankets, and sportswear to school supplies for 15 outstanding nonprofits Saturday, October 27th in Winnetka. Families, schools and community groups from all over Chicago’s North Shore came together to support our 16th annual Make A Difference Day — and our nonprofits left with truckloads of donations they desperately needed. Make a Difference Day always makes a difference!

Homepage | Make a Difference Day | News

Thanks to Everyone in the Community Who Turned Out to Support This Year’s MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY

Cars lined up all morning in Winnetka to drop off everything from diapers to dog food, bikes to blankets, and sportswear to school supplies for 15 outstanding nonprofits. Families, schools and community groups from all over Chicago’s North Shore came together to support our 16th annual Make A Difference Day — and our nonprofits left with truckloads of donations they desperately needed. Make a Difference Day always makes a difference!


Welcome Our Newest Nonprofit: SASI (Services for Adults Staying in Their Homes) is Seeking Compassionate Volunteers to Make Living Easier for Older Adults Living in Their Homes

The mission of SASI (Services for Adults Staying in Their Homes) is to support the efforts of older adults to remain in their homes: we make living easier.

News | Recognition Events

Thanks to All Who Helped Us Celebrate Volunteerism at Our 2018 VC Recognition Event

An enthusiastic crowd gathered at Michigan Shores Club in April to help the Volunteer Center celebrate volunteerism — and to honor a group of particularly outstanding volunteers who are making an impact on the lives of people in need locally and beyond every day. It was a wonderful celebration that left everyone feeling inspired. Click here for information about our honorees and their different missions.

Kids Against Hunger | News

Almost 450 Volunteers Helped Pack 100,000 Nutritious Meals at Kids Against Hunger in March

Families, individuals, community groups, and service groups came together at the Winnetka Community House in March to pack nutritious meals for over 100,000 starving people in Nicaragua and local food pantries. Sponsored by The Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield, The Winnetka Community House — and the Volunteer Center — this was a great opportunity for volunteers of all ages to work together to make a tangible difference in the lives of children and families who do not have access to healthy food. Thanks to the many volunteers who chose this meaningful way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! This is an annual event, so watch for us again next year.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | News

Hundreds of Volunteers Turned Out to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy with a Community Day of Service

An infectious spirit of giving filled the Winnetka Community House on Monday, January 15 as almost 600 volunteers — families, friends, scout troops, community groups and individuals of all ages — gathered to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s enduring message of tolerance, diversity and service. A variety of fun service projects benefiting ten local nonprofits and the people they serve were offered, and volunteers created and donated over 1,200 blankets, scarves, dog toys, cards, bracelets, placemats and other gifts for people in need throughout Chicago. An Open Mic forum also offered community members an opportunity to share their thoughtful reflections on the relevance of the message and legacy of Dr. King today. This is always a terrific community activity, and we are grateful for the support and generosity of everyone who came. Read more info about the nonbprofits we supported and see photos from the event here. See you next year!


Check Out Our Newest Nonprofit: Giving Rocks Foundation

Giving Rocks Foundation is unique among our nonprofit partners because it was founded by a 10-year-old girl named Syd Martin, who originally started making and selling necklaces from beautiful Lake Michigan rocks to raise money for research into a cure for LCH, a rare form of pediatric cancer that she was fighting at the time. Learn more about her inspiring story here.

Holidays | News | Thanksgiving “Share Your Bounty”

The Volunteer Center Offers TWO Ways to “Share Your Bounty” This Thanksgiving

Are you feeling particularly grateful this Thanksgiving? Are you looking for ways to make a difference to someone in need? We are too! We’re joining with 2 of our VC Nonprofit Partners to provide nutritious food to families right here in our community — and we need your help. You can donate fresh produce and personal items to the NEW TRIER TOWNSHIP FOOD PANTRY in Winnetka Thursday 11/15, Friday 11/16 and Today 11/19. Or you can deliver bags of groceries to families at GOOD NEWS PARTNERS in Rogers Park on Thanksgiving morning. Or better yet — why not do both! Read More for details.

Make a Difference Day | News

It Was a Record-Breaking MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY on Saturday, October 28th!

Many thanks to all of the donors and volunteers who turned out to make this year’s Make A Difference Day our most successful ever! 15 local nonprofits collected almost 24,000 items from a steady stream of vehicles that filled the parking lot for hours. It was a great community effort that brought individuals, families, school and community groups together in support of organizations who make a difference in the lives of people in need right here in our community.


Are You Looking to Make a Meaningful Difference in Your Community? The VC is Looking for a Few New Board Members.

The Volunteer Center is run by a committed Board of Directors who helps plan and manage our Nonprofit Events and Days of Service, providing invaluable leadership and support to our small staff. If you’re interested in joining this outstanding team of dedicated individuals, we are currently accepting applications. We promise there will be meaningful work to do — but we also promise you will have fun while you’re making a difference! Read More for additional details about what we do — and how you can become a member!

News | Recognition Events

Congratulations to the Outstanding 2017 Honorees Who Were Recognized at Our 2017 Recognition Event — “Growing Volunteerism Through Inspiration” This Spring.

It was a lively evening at our annual Recognition Celebration on May 4th at the Winnetka Community House, where we honored four outstanding volunteers whose extraordinary gifts of time and talent are making a huge difference in the lives of people in need. Click here to read more about the honorees: Emily Bolling, The Floured Apron; Becky Kimbell, The Cradle and Random Acts of Flowers Chicago; Syd Martin, Syd Rocks and Giving Rocks Foundation; Lulu Witcoff, Rainbow Assisted Animal Therapy and Center for Conflict Resolution. You can’t help but be inspired!

News | Screen Break

The Volunteer Center Teaches Screen Break 2017 Volunteers How to Make and Use “Plarn”

At our Screen Break workshop in March, the Volunteer Center helped an enthusiastic group of volunteers make “Plarn” — a great way to recycle plastic bags to make “yarn” that can be woven into useful products, like mats that homeless individuals living on the street can use as a cold and vapor barrier.

Meet Your Press | News

Local Media Shares Strategies for Getting Your Message Out with Nonprofits at Lively “Meet Your Press” Event

The Volunteer Center hosted over 50 Nonprofit professionals seeking new ways to get noticed by the press at this year’s “Meet Your Press” continental breakfast and panel discussion. The highly interactive discussion was lead by local news professionals from N.E. Metro Chicago print and digital daily and weekly papers. magazines and social media outlets, and covered topics like writing effective press releases, pitching a story, getting your story noticed and what kind of content each media is most interested in. It was a lively and engaging morning that also provided a great networking opportunity for the Nonprofits who attended.

Holidays | News

Start the New Year Out Right — by Volunteering. If You’re Looking for a Way to Make a Difference, These Nonprofits are Looking for Help.

The holidays are behind us, but many of our nonprofit partners are still looking for volunteers to support their programs and events. Check out our listing of Nonprofit Partners who have immediate volunteer needs.

Make a Difference Day | News

Another Successful MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY for the Volunteer Center and 15 of Our Nonprofit Partners!

Make A Difference Day has long been one of the Volunteer Center’s most important annual Days of Service, and Saturday October 22nd was no exception. Cars lined up on a beautiful Fall morning to donate truckloads of valuable items to 15 nonprofits who were grateful to receive them. Many thanks to everyone who turned out to Make A Difference — and make it a great day! Check out our photo gallery here.

News | Recognition Events

The VC Honors Outstanding Volunteers at our Annual Volunteer Recognition Event

Special guests and supporters of The Volunteer Center’s four 2016 honorees celebrated Cinco de Mayo style on May 5, 2016 at The Winnetka Community House. This year’s honorees included: (Seated, left to right) Dr. Warren Bruhl, Executive Director of Dreamweaver International and Gear for Goals; Courtney White, President and Founder of Culinary Care; Mark Stephan, Mentor, Board Member and Advocate for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; and (Standing) the Founders and Board members of INFANT, Inc. Find complete biographies of these inspiring volunteers — and photos from this festive celebration — here.

Kids Against Hunger | News

Hundreds of Dedicated Volunteers Helped Feed 100,000 Starving People in Nicaragua at Kids Against Hunger 2017

The Volunteer Center, The Winnetka-Northfield Rotary, and the Winnetka Community House welcomed hundreds of volunteers who helped pack 100,000 nutritious meals for hungry children in Nicaragua on Saturday, March 11th from at the Winnetka Community House. This is always a great group or family service project — and a fun way to come together in service to people in desperate need. This year was no exception. Thanks to all who participated, and to the Winnetka Community House for hosting!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | News

Thanks to All of the Volunteers Who Helped Make a Difference at This Year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Volunteers of all ages turned out on a rainy day for our annual Day of Service honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and celebrating his enduring message of tolerance, diversity and service. At this year’s event on January 17th, The Volunteer Center, The Kindness Connection and the Winnetka Community House hosted hundreds of dedicated volunteers, who participated in a variety of fun service projects benefiting over a dozen local nonprofits and the people they serve. Thanks to generous community support we delivered hundreds of blankets for the homeless, welcome gifts for refugees, and thoughtful gifts for those who are sick or in need — even toys for orphaned animals! Find out more — and check out photos from the event– here.

Holidays | News | Warming Hearts and Hands

Thanks to All the Generous Donors Who Helped the Volunteer Center and Make It Better Provide Warmth During the Holidays

The Make It Better Foundation provided hundreds of handmade or newly purchased blankets, coats, hats, gloves and scarves to more than 1,000 men, women and children in need of warmth during the 7th Annual Warming Hearts and Hands program during the December 2015 holidays. Thanks for a great community volunteer effort!

Holidays | News

Looking for Ways to Make A Difference This Holiday Season?

It’s not necessarily too late to volunteer some time during the holidays. While some of the opportunities we highlight here may have passed already, if you still have time or money to give many organizations are still looking for help. In particular, check out the opportunities to serve at a local soup kitchen or nonprofit whose mission is to feed the hungry — especially at this time of year. Our goal is to help you bring a little holiday joy to as many people as possible! Happy Holidays to all volunteers from the Volunteer Center!

Holidays | News | Thanksgiving “Share Your Bounty”

Thanks to Everyone Who “Shared Their Bounty” at Thanksgiving This Year!

The Volunteer Center is grateful to the families, individuals, schools and community groups who donated carloads of nutritious food to the clients of Good News Partners, and a pantry full of fresh produce to the New Trier Township Food Pantry. Thanks also to the families and individuals who helped deliver the food to Good News Partners on Thanksgiving morning. It was a fabulous community effort!

Make a Difference Day | News

Thanks to everyone who helped make our 13th annual Make A Difference Day a Huge Success!

In spite of the weather, on Saturday, October 24th cars lined up in Winnetka to donate everything from clothes to sporting goods to pet supplies. And 14 grateful nonprofits left with full trucks. Thanks to all of the generous donors who came out in the rain — and to the army of volunteers who stood in the rain and helped unload, sort and organize the bounty of donations. It was a great day.

For nonprofits | News | Nonprofit Events

Over 250 Nonprofits Attended “Powerful Partnerships With Today’s Volunteers” Featuring Renowned Speaker Betty Stallings

The Volunteer Center was a proud partner of Giving DuPage’s workshop on Nonprofit Leadership and Volunteer Management Strategies on Wednesday, October 28, led by internationally-recognized consultant and author Betty Stallings. The room was filled with nonprofits looking for ways to more effectively recruit and manage volunteers — and do some networking while they were at it!


Got Stuff to Donate?

Are you doing a little summer cleaning and organizing? If you’ve got goods to donate, there are many local nonprofits who would love to receive your new or gently used clothes, toys, books, sporting goods, furniture, and other household items. Click here to find the best place to take your donations.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | Holidays | Kids Against Hunger | Make a Difference Day | News | Recognition Events | September 11 Day of Service | Thanksgiving “Share Your Bounty”

Mark Your Calendar for VC 2022-23 Days of Service — and Watch for More Details to Come!

The Volunteer Center sponsors many wonderful opportunities throughout the school year for you and your whole family to volunteer your time in service to those in need in our community. Click here for this year’s dates — and watch this website for more detailed information throughout the year about how you can make a difference at these fun community events.

News | Volunteer-Internship Fair

Are you a high school, college or grad student — or a young adult — looking to volunteer?

Check out our list of nonprofits looking for after school interns, long-term or gap year interns, and intensive special project volunteers. More information will be added every day, so keep checking. If you’re a nonprofit and would like to include a young adult internship or volunteer opportunity in our listing, you can also register here.

News | Recognition Events

The Volunteer Center Proudly Honored 4 Outstanding Volunteers at Our Annual Volunteer Recognition Event

The VC Board and many friends gathered at the Winnetka Community House to celebrate 4 volunteers who have made a significant difference in our community: Lou Dickson, Founder of the Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse; Wendy Irwin, Founder of the Yellow Tractor Project; Betsy Leibson, Founder of Friends of the Green Bay Trail; and Pam Phillips of the Pam Phillips Weston Wellness Program. Find out more about our honorees here.

Kids Against Hunger | News

Thanks to all of the Volunteers who helped pack over 100,000 meals at Kids Against Hunger

Volunteers of all ages helped The Volunteer Center, The Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield, the Winnetka Community House and other local community groups pack over 100,000 nutritious meals for starving people in our community and Nicaragua. Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped us achieve our goal!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | News

Thanks to all who participated in the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Over 700 volunteers of all ages and abilities joined the Volunteer Center, The Kindness Connection, the Winnetka Historical Society and the Winnetka Community House at this year’s MLK, Jr. Day of Service, benefiting 13 local nonprofits — and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to the Winnetka Village Green. Watch the video presentation “Civil Rights on the North Shore: Bringing the Movement home documenting the efforts of the North Shore Summer Project in the early 60’s.

Holidays | News | Thanksgiving “Share Your Bounty”

Thank You for Giving Back During the 2014 Thanksgiving Holiday!

Thank you for helping the Volunteer Center provide food to low income families this Thanksgiving. The New Trier Township Food Pantry was stocked with fresh produce for its clients and nearly 150 families at Good News Partners in Rogers Park were provided bags, baskets and boxes of food to help them get through another week and feed their families.

Make a Difference Day | News

Thanks to everyone who helped make Make-A-Difference Day 2014 our most successful ever!

Over 19,000 items were collected for 17 nonprofits, thanks to record-breaking donations, abundant volunteers and a beautiful Fall day. We are grateful to all of the families and groups who donated by the vanload — especially Highcrest Middle School in Wilmette, Crow Island School in Winnetka and the New Trier High School baseball teams. A great community event in every way!

News | September 11 Day of Service

Monday, September 11th was a Day of Service and Remembrance — and a Wonderful Commemoration of the Heroes of 9/11

Family, friends, neighbors and service groups helped commemorate the heroes of 9/11 during this year’s annual Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of local firefighters, police and rescue professionals on Monday, September 11. This was a great opportunity to personally thank local police and firefighters for their heroism and sacrifices by dropping off cards and letters, “purchased” baked goods, children’s artwork — and other expressions of gratitude. This wonderful community event that always means a great deal to the first responders we all rely on.


Looking to Volunteer This Summer?

School’s out — but most of our Nonprofit Partners are still hard at work serving those in our community and around the world who rely on them for support and assistance all year. Just to get you started, read more to find some VC Nonprofit Partners who are looking for volunteers of all ages during the summer. But if you don’t see something on this list don’t stop there! We have more than 150 Nonprofits on our site that need volunteers — but don’t always have time to post their opportunities! — so make sure you search the whole site! If you see an opportunity or a Nonprofit that you might be interested in, you can contact them directly through our site and find out how you can help.

News | Volunteer-Internship Fair

Looking for Volunteers?

If you’re looking for volunteers or interns, our annual Volunteer and Internship Fair is a great way to connect with volunteers looking for ways to make a difference. This event usually takes place in April, and is a great opportunity to recruit high school and college students, and young adults for the summer or the year. Exhibiting is free for all of our nonprofit partners! Watch the website for an announcement of next year’s date.

News | Recognition Events

The Volunteer Center Proudly Honors Five Exceptional Volunteers March 8, 2014!

Over 150 guests celebrated the contributions of five honorees at the Volunteer Center’s Recognition Event in March. Their accomplishments were inspiring and humbling. Pictured here, honoree Frank Craven shows his appreciation to the Executive Director of Our Place, William Johnson.

News | Volunteer-Internship Fair

Are you a teen or young adult looking for a volunteer opportunity or internship?

If you missed our Young Adult Volunteer & Internship Fair, you can still find volunteer and internship opportunities for the summer or year round. Short and long-term opportunities, including GAP years, are available. Click here to see a list of the nonprofits who attended our Fair and may still need help.

Kids Against Hunger | News

It was a record-setting day at Kids Against Hunger on March 22nd!

Many thanks to the over 400 volunteers who came to the Winnetka Community House on March 22nd to pack nutritious meals for hungry children in Nicaragua. We packed 110,000 meals in one great day — and packed the 2 millionth meal for the Northern Illinois Region of Kids Against Hunger! “Learn More” to see a video of the event.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service | News

Thanks for making our 2013 MLK Jr. Day of Service a Huge Success!

Almost 700 people of all ages helped make this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service our biggest one ever! Every table — and much of the floorspace — was filled with generous volunteers making fleece blankets, scarves, pet toys and gifts for those in need. Many thanks to everyone who came!

Holidays | News

Looking for a Holiday Volunteer Opportunity?

Many nonprofits are looking for volunteers and support during the holidays. Click here to find ways you can help make a difference. We’ll be adding to this list as we learn of new opportunities — so watch for updates! If you’re a nonprofit partner seeking help with your holiday programs, make sure to send us your opportunities and we’ll add them to our list. Happy Holidays from the Volunteer Center!