Volunteer Opportunities in Chatham County

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Whether you have a passion for environmental conservation, animals, community outreach or helping those in vulnerable situations, there’s a volunteer role that aligns with your interests and values.

Help Keep our Waterways Clean

Maintaining the Haw River, its tributaries and sister rivers is vital to keeping our waterways clean and sustainable. There are several ways to volunteer to help while learning about our natural environment:

  • The Haw River Assembly, led by Elaine Chiosso, has ongoing opportunities for individuals and groups to collect plastic pollution from trash traps or join a river watch monitoring team and learn how to document physical, chemical and biological changes to local waterways. Volunteer opportunities begin in June.
  • Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area is always accepting volunteers for duties including invasive plant removal, maintaining a pollinator garden, birdhouse monitoring and trash reduction at popular access points along the Haw River.
  • The organization Clean Jordan Lake helps reduce litter along the Jordan Lake shoreline and nearby feeder streams. Volunteer opportunities do not require on-site assistance for groups smaller than 15.

Feed the Community

Give back to your neighbors in need by distributing or donating meals to food-insecure families.

St Bartholomews Lunch
  • St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church needs volunteers to help with its weekly free community lunches held every Thursday between noon and 1 p.m. at the church near Pittsboro’s town center. “Together in 2022, we served over 21,000 meals to the community,” says program director Terry Transue. Volunteer duties include assisting with cooking, distributing food and after-lunch cleanup.
  • The Chatham Chuckwagon, another ecumenical food program run by St. Bartholomew’s, focuses on serving prepared frozen meals every Tuesday 4:30-6:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help prep and distribute meals. To sign up for volunteer opportunities at the church, contact Terry at 919-542-5679.
  • The Chatham Outreach Alliance (CORA) is seeking volunteers to help pack, deliver or distribute groceries to families countywide. Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older. Responsibilities include food preparation and distribution, sorting and stocking food items, and picking up food from retail stores. Those with a green thumb are encouraged to help maintain and harvest produce from CORA’s garden.
  • Fuel-Up at Perry Harrison packs backpacks each week with take-home food for students who face shortages at home. During normal weeks, students in the program rely on Perry Harrison to get breakfast and lunch. During normal school breaks, like winter holidays or spring break, Fuel-Up sends home extra food to those families. Donations of food and funds are welcome via their website.
  • Pittsboro Elementary School‘s Panda Packs program provides food to more than 50 students in need throughout the year, and extra support during holidays like Thanksgiving and spring break. To learn more, email pespandapacks@gmail.com.

Other Opportunities

  • Chatham Animal Rescue and Education (CARE) welcomes passionate individuals who are eager to make a difference in various capacities. Volunteer opportunities include fostering dogs and cats (CARE does not have a shelter facility, so all animal care is done through their foster network) and supporting fundraising efforts. Skills in areas like marketing and communications are also needed.
  • Passionate about felines? Goathouse Refuge is a no-kill sanctuary in Pittsboro that cares for cats and kittens, including those who are aging or have special needs. They welcome volunteers for cat transportation, adoption facilitation, home visits and special events. Goathouse Refuge also operates a foster program, and welcomes donations of food and supplies to support its work.
  • Second Bloom of Chatham is a nonprofit with a mission to identify and raise awareness of the needs of those in Chatham County affected by any form of domestic and/or sexual violence, and to work in collaboration with the community to meet those needs. To help fund these efforts, the organization runs a thrift shop in Pittsboro. Volunteers are needed both in the retail space and to assist with operating their helpline; training is provided.

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