Great Outdoors Month
Volunteer in the Open Air
Button Farm volunteers
June is officially Great Outdoors Month, a time to get outside and enjoy the natural world
around us. In addition to hiking, swimming, and playing outdoors, you can make the most of this month by also volunteering outdoors--in these remaining days of June and all summer.

You'll find a wide range of volunteer opportunities that take place outside by searching the Volunteer Center website using the Outdoors filter. These include:

New activities are added regularly and popular opportunities fill up fast, so be sure to register quickly when you find an activity you love and check back frequently if you don't!
Most Wanted: Food Assistance Volunteers
Health restrictions have eased and businesses are reopening, but food insecurity remains an issue across Montgomery County. You can help ensure residents have the nutrition they need by volunteering for one of the many current food assistance needs. These include donation drives as well as opportunities to serve at distribution sites and more. Here are just a few:
  • Virtual call center volunteers to remotely answer Manna Food Center's main phone line, assess whether callers qualify for the organization's services, direct them to pickup locations, and related tasks
  • Cooks and bakers to make casseroles, sandwiches, cookies, and other items for Small Things Matter's Kokua Foods Program
  • Packaging helpers to assemble boxes of food on Saturdays and Sundays for So What Else
  • Drivers to deliver pantry essentials to seniors in Silver Spring once a month
Make This a Summer of Service!
We get more than 14 hours of daylight this time of year. Put some of them to special use by volunteering. Find hundreds of ways to serve, including the opportunities below, on the Volunteer Center website. To find more volunteer needs, use the red search box at the top of this email or visit our All Opportunities page and select one or more search filters (hidden under the wrench symbol when viewing on a mobile device) and/or keywords to narrow the results.
CHALK PAINTERS & ARTISTS: Help paint Gaithersburg red, white, and blue on Saturday, July 3, 10 am-3 pm, by participating in the City of Gaithersburg's community chalk painting project, which aims to fill a mile of the walking trails at Bohrer Park with chalk art of summer colors and themes. Email Sheila Bouley or call 240-805-1503.
SWIM ASSISTANTS: Help swim instructors with Sports Plus Group with lessons, working directly with children, teens, and young adults with mild to moderate developmental disabilities. Swim sessions are held in Rockville, 3:15-6 pm, and in Gaithersburg, 11:30 am-2 pm. Minimum age: 14. Email Natalie Liniak or call 301-452-3781.
ORIGAMI CREATORS: Make origami art to be included in cancer care kits distributed locally and nationally through Kits to Heart. The organization offers several additional volunteer craft projects to serve cancer patients. Email Sonia Su.
HEALTH CLINIC ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT: Support the medical staff at a Rockville primary care clinic that serves about 2,000 uninsured and Medicaid patients annually. Volunteers can help Community Reach of Montgomery County's Kaseman Clinic with a variety of tasks, including calling patients with appointment reminders, scanning documents, checking bills, and working on flyers and/or the website. Minimum age: 18. Email Andrea Kempner-Wink or call 301-637-0730 x239.
5K RACE VOLUNTEERS: Assist runners, replenish snack tables, and provide support with other needs behind the scenes at the Autism Speaks 5K fundraiser in Potomac on Sunday, July 4, 8 am-12 noon. Email Kisha James.
RETAIL STORE SUPPORT: Greet customers, accept thrift store donations, arrange merchandise, and assist with other tasks at the ReStore shops operated Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland in Silver Spring and Rockville. Minimum age: 14. Sign up online, email Sandra Limjuco, or call 301-990-0014 x18.
CAREER TUTORS/MENTORS: Help low-income/disadvantaged residents seeking career assistance prepare for entrance exams or coursework in their chosen fields. CareerCatchers currently needs remote volunteers with nursing/medical backgrounds, with experience with financial services, or who are bilingual in Spanish/English. Minimum age: 18. Email Emma Kunda or call 517-798-6466.
FABRIC PROJECT CRAFTERS: Make masks and/or small heart pillows to supply local hospitals, detention centers, and children's homes from DC to Ethiopia. Volunteers are also needed to write letters to veterans. Sponsored by High Schoolers for Front Liners. Fabric and elastic provided for all projects; pickup and dropoff in Potomac. Email Allison Moon or call 301-466-3562.
WINE & MUSIC FESTIVAL VOLUNTEERS: Help with parking, admissions, and other assignments at a reggae and wine festival in Mt. Airy on Saturday and Sunday, July 17-18. Volunteers must be vaccinated. Sponsored by Anna's Gift Foundation, which receives a donation from the festival for every volunteer hour served. Sign up online, email Elizabeth Tomalis, or call 443-745-3343.
Opportunities marked with the graduation cap icon meet the MCPS guidelines for Student Service Learning (SSL) hours--but they're not just for students! Other opportunities may be eligible for SSL hours; visit the MCPS SSL website to learn more.
Are you over age 50 and looking for ways to contribute significant time and talent to serving our community?

Our advisors can help you find your best volunteer fit!

Tax-Aide Volunteers Overcome Pandemic Obstacles to Help Residents Get Refunds
Every year, a large cadre of local AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers--coordinated through the Volunteer Center--prepare federal and state tax returns at no charge for low-to-moderate-income county residents, most of them seniors. Typically, this involves more than 150 IRS-certified volunteers preparing 6,000-plus returns to generate about $4.4 million in refunds, which saves clients an estimated $1.4 million in tax preparation fees.

After an emergency shutdown at the start of the pandemic last year, the AmeriCorps Seniors/AARP Tax-Aide Program pivoted to an all-virtual system this tax year in an effort to ensure the health and safety of clients as well as volunteers. This created a variety of new challenges (such as establishing designated scanning stations for clients to scan copies of their paperwork), which limited participation despite the extended tax-filing deadline. Nevertheless, more than 90 volunteers were able to prepare returns for 1,058 very grateful residents, saving them more than $238,000 in tax preparation fees.

Interested in joining this hard-working and congenial team next tax season? Visit the Tax-Aide Volunteer web page to learn how to get involved as a tax counselor, client facilitator (greeter), or scheduler. Or email the Tax-Aide Program to get on the list to receive volunteer information distributed in the fall. Comprehensive, free training is provided, as are loaner Chromebooks.
Yes! You Can Earn SSL Hours in Person & Remotely
While most COVID-related restrictions have been lifted in our community and MCPS expects to return to full-time, in-person instruction next school, the school system has extended its temporary virtual SSL guidelines. This means students may continue to earn SSL hours for select virtual/remote service completed from home under the remote supervision of an approved nonprofit organization (or school sponsor) throughout this summer and until the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

In addition, students may continue to engage in traditional MCPS SSL opportunities offered in a public space under direct supervision of a nonprofit representative, at the discretion of the student’s parent/guardian.
Watch the Ways to Make a Difference
Make a Difference, a monthly County Cable Montgomery program, highlights the contributions of stellar county volunteers and organizations that work to better our community. In honor of Great Outdoors Month, June's episode features a look at the City of Rockville's Weed Warrior program, which regularly recruits volunteers to remove non-native invasive species from public spaces.
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The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is part of the Office of Community Partnerships, which works to strengthen the relationship between the Montgomery County government and the residents it serves, with special emphasis on underserved and emerging communities. Subscribe to the monthly OCP newsletter to keep up with these activities.

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Montgomery County Volunteer Center
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