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donation boxes filled with food and toys

10 ways to help others this holiday season and all year through

The holidays are a wonderful time to help others. Below is a sampling of volunteer opportunities available through Johnson County Government during this time. A list of opportunities available during other parts of the year is available here.

Creative Expressions
Show off your artistic abilities and brighten a senior adult’s day at the very same time. Decorate a Meals on Wheels lunch bag or make crafts for seniors. The crafts are delivered daily to seniors with their meals for Meals on Wheels. This is a great opportunity for families, community groups, or faith-based organizations. Contact Brandy at 913-715-8859 or email HS-Volunteer@jocogov.org

Host a food drive

Johnson County food pantries are hit hardest during the winter months due in part to the increase in utility bills. Make the winter months a little less dreary for families in need by hosting a food drive. Perfect for organizations looking for volunteer projects. Contact Brandy at 913-715-8859 or email HS-Volunteer@jocogov.org.

Share the Love 

During November and December, the Department of Human Services will be accepting donations for the Meals on Wheels Share the Love event. Community members can collect stockings and small stocking stuffers such as socks, personal hygiene items, puzzles, flashlights, back scratchers, etc. Our Meals on Wheels volunteers will deliver them two weeks before Christmas. This is a great opportunity for families, community groups, faith based organizations, and corporations. In 2013, Prairie Ridge Elementary stuffed 130 stockings!

Contact Brandy at 913-715-8859 or email HS-Volunteer@jocogov.org

Holidays for the Animals

Ernie Miller Nature Center has ongoing needs for supplies for both the animals housed at the center and the wild animals that visit the feeders. Any of the following would be greatly appreciated:

  • Various sizes of clear Critter Keeper (carriers) boxes from pet stores with snap tops
  • Bags of black oil sunflower, white millet, or safflower seeds for bird feeders (no mixes)
  • Suet cakes for suet feeders
  • Masking tape or brown duct tape
  • Bags of pine shavings for cage bedding
  • Bags of Reptibark for reptile bedding
  • Rolls of 1/4 and 3/8 inch sisal rope for hawk and owl perches
  • Wood furniture for snake cages (branches, vines & log shelters) ~ the pet store kind that are treated for insects
  • Ferret hammocks/sleeping bags
  • Bleach, Lysol, or disinfecting cleaner or wipes for general cleaning
  • White and Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Laundry detergent
  • Quart and Gallon Ziploc bags
  • Newspaper with no ads or coupons
  • Monetary Donations or gift cards for Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, and Life Time Pets in Olathe or other local pet stores.

Meals on Wheels 

Provide a hot meal during your lunch hour. Volunteers deliver meals as teams or individuals Monday - Friday from 10:45 a.m. - Noon.  Children are welcome to accompany parents or grandparents.  Need both regular and substitute drivers. Volunteers deliver from one of eight centers: Blue Valley, De Soto, Gardner, Lenexa, Merriam, Olathe, Overland Park, & Spring Hill. Holiday orientations are Thursday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. and Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. at our Olathe office. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Contact Brandy at 913-715-8859 or email HS-Volunteer@jocogov.org.


Provide rides to seniors, those with a disability, or anyone in a life transition who do not drive and public transportation is difficult or impossible to use. Rides are provided to essential appointments in Johnson County such as medical, grocery store, or food pantries. Volunteers choose their schedules and the distance they are willing to drive. Catch-a-Ride operates Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Volunteers must be at least 25 years old. Holiday orientations are Thursday, Nov. 13, at 1 p.m. and Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. at our Olathe office. Contact Brandy at 913-715-8859 or email HS-Volunteer@jocogov.org.

Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Office

The Johnson County Extension office would not have nearly the ability to deliver quality educational programming without their vast cadre of volunteers, who provide help with numerous activities and functions including 4-H, Extension Master Gardeners, Master Food Volunteers, Family Community Education, Extension Council, and Extension Foundation. For more information on any of these opportunities visit their website or call 913-715-7000.

Johnson County Library

Make Johnson County Library an even more exciting place! The Library is always looking for volunteers at Neighborhood Libraries, the Friends of the Library Sorting Facility or with Outreach Services. Work a regular schedule or sign up to work on special projects; all volunteers must be at least 14 years old. Apply online and check out the list of volunteer opportunities to see which role suits you best. For more information, call 913-826-4302.

Johnson County Museum

Whether your passion is history, working with kids, or solving mysteries, the Johnson County Museum has the perfect opportunity for you. Opportunities range from assisting with exhibit construction to helping education programs to serving as tour guides at the 1950s All-Electric House. Meet new people and enjoy a rewarding experience sharing our community's history. To schedule an interview, call the Museum at 913-715-2550 or complete an online application!

Johnson County Park & Recreation District (JCPRD)

Many volunteer opportunities are available in District parks, programs, and facilities including The Theatre In The Park, Ernie Miller Nature Center, keeping the parks clean, or working with kids or special populations. For information visit the JCPRD website or call the Volunteer Coordinator at 913-826-3412.