As fall rolls in, our media feeds become full with images of joyous gatherings, and tables overflowing with food – plenty for everyone. Yet, the reality is, a staggering 1 in 3 residents are food insecure in Santa Cruz County. That’s 1 in 3 of your neighbors facing hunger every single day.

This month, the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County has compiled a list of 10 organizations who could use your time and expertise to fight hunger in our community. Many of these organizations have multiple volunteer jobs that need to be filled and love to work with groups. Consider giving a day of service with your colleagues, family, or friends this holiday season.

If you feel a stir within you to contribute, that’s your cue to step forward. Your efforts will nourish your heart, your neighbors, and your community.

1. Community Bridges – Felton

Food Pantry Volunteer

The weekly Thursday morning pantry at Mountain Community Resources in Felton has an ongoing need for new volunteers.

Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County November PC
Credit: Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

2. Grey Bears, Santa Cruz

Brown Bag Grocery Program Delivery Driver

Deliver bags of fresh produce and essential groceries to isolated seniors.

Warehouse and Kitchen Support

Assist with food donations and kitchen tasks to support the food program.

3. Homeless Garden Project, Capitola & Santa Cruz

Homeless Garden Project Volunteer Center PC
Credit: Homeless Garden Project

Volunteer at the HGP Store – Santa Cruz or Capitola

Welcome customers and educate them about HGP’s mission while assisting with retail tasks.

Volunteer at the HGP Farm – Santa Cruz

Participate in job training and community education programs on the farm, fostering growth and learning.

4. Meals on Wheels, Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo Valley, and Watsonville

Drive for Meals on Wheels

Deliver meals and smiles to homebound seniors as a Meals Delivery Driver.

Sign up to serve Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo Valley, or Watsonville

Office Support Volunteer, Santa Cruz

Provide essential administrative support to the backbone of the Meals on Wheels program.

5. Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, Watsonville, CA

Pantry and Kitchen Volunteers

Prepare and serve nutritious meals, and assist with kitchen duties in the community kitchen program.

Grant Writer for Food Pantry

Secure funding through grant writing to support the kitchen and pantry programs aiding the food-insecure.

6. Second Harvest Food Bank

Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County November PC
Credit: Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

Help Feed Your Community!

Would you like to help those in our community access healthy nutritious food? Second Harvest needs volunteers to help sort and pack food, and distribute food across our community.

7. St Francis Catholic Kitchen – Santa Cruz

Cooking and Serving Meals

Join us at our soup kitchen where we serve lunch to 75-100 people in need Monday – Friday.

8. Teen Kitchen Project – Soquel

Delivery Angel

Ensure timely and loving delivery of meals prepared by teens to clients’ homes.

9. Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center – Santa Cruz

Food Pantry Volunteer

Help assemble food bags and support participants in the food donation program.

10. Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County November PC
Credit: Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

Adopt A Family: Hotline Volunteer

Coordinate adoptions and food gift certificates for families in need during the holiday season.

Community Connection

Pack bags for the Healthy Connection Food Distribution Program participants.

Grocery Shopper Volunteer – Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

Assist seniors or disabled individuals by grocery shopping for them as a reliable volunteer driver.

Looking for more ways to give back this holiday season? The Volunteer Center’s Holiday Volunteer Guide offers a way for everyone to get involved and ensure our most vulnerable neighbors have the support they need. From presents for kids to writing holiday cards, feeding neighibris to senior tea parties, there are many ways YOU can make a difference: Browse the Holiday Volunteer Guide Now!

What works for you?

The key to gaining all of these benefits from volunteering is to volunteer for a cause that means something to you. We each have different needs when it comes to volunteering. If you are not feeling moved to sign up by any of the opportunities listed here, the Volunteer Center will connect you with an organization that matches your interests and availability:

The Volunteer Center also helps nonprofit organizations find volunteers to support their work. Register as an Organization and let us match your cause to volunteers who care.


The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County (VCSCC) has been connecting individuals, organizations and businesses for good since 1967. Each year VCSCSC engages with more than 500 community partners and more than 15,000 volunteers who connect meaningfully to help more than 9,000 residents in need. In addition to volunteer engagement and placement, VCSCC administers 19 programs to support community need, seniors, families, youth, disaster response, and government partnerships to make Santa Cruz County a happier, healthier place to live. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook and Instagram.