If your kids are between the ages of 8-15 and looking for a way to help in the community, Greenville County Animal Care has a fun way and will help both your child and the shelter dog! The Bucket Brigade Youth Volunteer Program gives kids the perfect opportunity to improve their reading skills while interacting with a furry audience, and we will tell you how to get involved.
If you are looking for a way the whole family can volunteer,Greenville Animal Care’s Doggy Day Out is a great opportunity! Take a dog for a few hours to the park, hike at nearby Paris Mountain, or walk downtown.
I know what you’re thinking. Where are the best outdoor volunteer opportunities near me? You’re in luck because Greenville, SC has a lot of organizations that need your help keeping Greenville beautiful! With the mantra of “give back to places you love” guiding our family’s approach to volunteer work, we have discovered there are plenty of opportunities to invest your time into the outdoor spaces and places you care about. Here are some of the volunteer stewardship opportunities in the Upstate, and how to get involved in the protection of our shared lands!
Looking for ways to volunteer with your kids in Greenville? It such a wonderful opportunity to teach children kindness, compassion, generosity and so much more. To help you out KAG Contributor Kristina Hernandez created this list of ways to volunteer with your family. You’ll find ideas from food preparation to toy donations and meal deliveries. Thank you for serving your community!
Are you looking for ways you can help families in need in the Greenville area? We’ve identified several Greenville food banks and asked for wish lists of their most needed items. We hope this guide helps you help others.
Whether it’s the holidays or not, times can get tough for families. And when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, your level of anxiety can skyrocket… especially if you have a family to feed. Over 62,000 people in Greenville County have that very stressful problem on their minds day in and day out.
But you can help. There are several food banks in the area that help families who need it most but are sometimes forgotten. Below is a “wish list” of certain items that are needed right now and where you can drop them off. Let’s cross off hunger from the list of stressors that some families are worried about.
A new non-profit that began only last November, Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina, hosted their first big clean-up event in March 2022 and Kristina took her kids to help clean up litter and trash from some of our areas most beautiful spots. This year’s Waterfall Sweep is happening on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Have you heard about the Adopt a Cop program in Greenville County? As I was mindlessly perusing Instagram one night I came across a photo of a Greenville County police officer holding a basket of goodies, smiling from ear-to-ear. The post thanked the community for the gifts for the police officer as part of their Adopt-A-Cop program.
There are several police families in my neighborhood so this sparked an interest and I definitely wanted to learn more. I contacted the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), who told me all about the program and what to do. A day later, I signed on my family to adopt our own cop and I’m thrilled to be able to write about this awesome program.
More and more, families are using the holiday season to spread kindness and teach children the spirit of giving. Local mom Kristen Alcock and Kidding Around’s Melanie Coblentz are here with a number of ideas about how to include young children and volunteer as a family. Spread some cheer this season and give back!
If you love waterfalls and want to help in protecting them and their unique ecosystems, check out the new nonprofit, Waterfall Keepers, on how you can help!
Our readers know how much we just love our area forests, parks, hiking trails, and especially, waterfalls. Our list of awesome waterfalls in our area and our waterfall driving tour are some of our most viewed stories and for good reason – waterfalls are awesome. They are not only beautiful but if you ask people why they go waterfall chasing, I bet you’ll get answers that talk about how they are peaceful, awe-inspiring, calming, and just plain incredible.
Waterfalls Need Protection
Yet have you been on trails and seen trash strewn around or wrappers left over from lunches on rocks near the falls? I have. Or maybe you’ve seen obvious erosion around popular waterfalls from people climbing all over the place, destroying the natural habitats of creatures that live there. Or even worse is reading about or knowing people who have died at these natural wonders from accidental slips.
And largely because of the pandemic (and social media) and the lack of places open, people have flocked in droves to parks and forests. Many of these places you couldn’t even get if you didn’t get up at the crack of dawn to drive to. There aren’t enough park staff to keep up with the maintenance and education that this new influx of people require.
So that’s where we’re at right now but it doesn’t need to be the future of our beautiful natural landscapes, which is exactly why a waterfall and nature-loving group of individuals founded Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina.
What’s Waterfall Keepers?
Waterfall Keepers is a brand new nonprofit that seeks to protect the natural beauty and landscape of waterfalls in Western NC. Personally, I travel to WNC several times a month to hike and explore waterfalls and we have a lot of content about our northern neighbor so even though the group is based in NC, we here in the Upstate care about these waterfalls also.
Waterfall Keepers was founded by the author of North Carolina Waterfalls, Kevin Adams. If you don’t have his book, I highly recommend you buy it. It’s always in my car and I’ve discovered some truly amazing places because of it, many totally off the beaten path and away from the crowds. Kevin is also a photographer who grew up with a love of waterfalls and feels it’s time to give back.
Co-founder Holly Bass is a homeschooling mom to one son and teaches mathematics part-time. She’s a super cool woman who has no fear of trying new trails and finding waterfalls wherever they may be.
Waterfall Keepers plans to host waterfall clean up days plus events for members at private waterfalls. They are also compiling a historical library on the area’s waterfalls, which I think is a really neat aspect. I love thinking about who else has laid eyes on the waterfalls I see and what they thought and why they happened to come across the falls.
They already have a great page on education, which includes how to stay safe while at waterfalls and things to watch out for on the trails.
In the spring of 2021, Waterfall Keepers plans to announce programs for Junior Waterfallers that are specifically geared towards kids and getting them involved on protecting waterfalls.
If you have a favorite waterfall, Waterfall Keepers invites you to “adopt” that waterfall, which means you visit it several times a year, pick up trash and send back reports on trail and waterfall conditions.
There are also lots of volunteer opportunities like cleaning up, removing graffiti, trail maintenance, tree removal, and fundraising.
Waterfall Keepers of SC?
While Waterfall Keepers is based in NC for now, the concept certainly extends into South Carolina. Waterfall Keepers is open to the possibility of starting a similar group in SC but if you love waterfalls and have a trash bag handy on a hike, why not start yourself?
I’ve started bringing extra trash bags with me on hikes for this purpose and my kids usually spot litter before I do because they understand how precious our beautiful forests and waterfalls are and also want to protect them.
There really isn’t any reason why all of us who spend time outside, on trails, and taking endless photos at the waterfalls we love can’t help keep them pristine. We can even share information from Waterfall Keepers of NC to help educate one another on how to stay safe around waterfalls and really how to make the most of our time enjoying the falls.
Are you looking for more ways to help the hungry in our community? Do you wish there was a way to involve your children in philanthropy? Hub City Empty Bowls is an organization you’ll want to check out. Kidding Around Contributor Melanie brought her son to a Hub City Empty Bowls Bowl Making Session and she’s telling us about this group, what they do, and how you can help.
Local mom Tina Mackey went a Meals On Wheels trip with her kids so that she could share with us her experience. For more ideas of how to give back, see our list of ways to volunteer with kids in Greenville.
Ya’ll, have you every thought about something for a long time (I mean years). And you have in your mind how it should go? That’s how it was for me with Meals on Wheels. This has been something I’ve wanted to do for years. I had preconceived notions about time commitment, how it would work taking children, how often I would have to commit to driving, and much more. Let me tell you how Meals on Wheels is not at all what I expected it to be.
How volunteering with Meals On Wheels went for my family
First, let me say that our experience with Meals on Wheels was far better than anything I ever thought it would be. This is one of those times that I ended up saying, “why haven’t we done this sooner?” We began by going to orientation and learning about the organization. Being briefed on how things worked made us confident that we could really do this.
Next, we picked up our food. The food packages are pretty straight forward. They have special trays for certain dietetic restrictions, but other than that it was pretty simple. All food is cooked and packaged at their site just off of Augusta St. If you want to be assigned a route further out of town, you have the option of picking up your food from a drop off site closer to your location.
Last, we drove to our locations. The papers that they give you detail everything. It gives you directions to your first house along with the house description and specific directions on where and how to drop the food. (Food is never to be left alone on a porch). Then, you follow the directions to your next house. Even if you don’t have GPS, you can do this just by following their written instructions. We were finished with our route in exactly 1 1/2 hours.
Things you should know
Orientations are every Thursday at 9:30 am.
Food pick-up can be at the downtown location or at a food drop elsewhere.
Food pickup begins at 10 am.
Most people like to pickup at 10 am and be finished by 12 pm.
MoW services a very large area including places from Travelers Rest all the way down to Fountain Inn and beyond.
You do not have to commit to a consistent drop, but can choose on a weekly basis.
Time commitment is roughly 2 hours.
There are other ways to volunteer your time from greeting volunteers to cooking and packaging the meals.
Benefits I didn’t expect
The clients were so happy to see us and genuinely thankful for us.
You are welcome to visit with clients.
My son got great experience with navigation!
My kids loved meeting new people and having a chance to help them.
My children each took turns knocking on doors and taking the lead on talking to the clients. I loved that they had a chance to learn assertiveness.
We saw parts of Greenville that we’ve never seen.
There was lots of time in the car to talk about how we can help others.
Meals on Wheels main office location is found at 15 Oregon Street in Greenville.
So if you’re thinking of volunteering, but are hesitant because you’re not sure what to expect, my advice would be to go ahead and try it. They would be more than happy for you to try it once just to see how it works for your family. And from then, you can commit to a weekly route or just takes routes as they fit into your schedule.
Give it a try! You won’t be sorry!
Tina Mackey is a SAHM to three boys and a little girl (who thinks she’s the fourth boy). She enjoys staying busy keeping her children in extracurricular activities and exploring new things in Greenville. A diet of homemade, whole foods is a priority for her and she’s constantly in search of the next best healthy recipe.
Jackie Vest is a writer and at-home-mom of two energetic little boys. She enjoys adventuring around the beautiful Upstate, the hilarity of kiddo-raising, outdoor fitness with friends, and her Favorite 5 C’s: cooking, crafting, camping, coffee, and chocolate. You can connect with her via her blog at: JackieVest.com.