Danielle and her husband have two small children. She’s a stay-at-home mom, and her husband works full time and is a part-time student. So there is no room in their budget to donate to nonprofits—but they still wanted to make a difference in their community.

So Danielle and her husband joined 43.2 percent of Utahns and started donating their time to their favorite charities. In fact, many people say that giving time is better than giving money—55 percent of millennials say volunteering is “more meaningful” than monetary donations. So what are some ways you can give back to your community if you don’t have money to give?


Become an Ally

People who are working through the Circles program—called Leaders—are learning to pull themselves out of poverty by making long-term life changes. They do this with the support of volunteers, called Allies, but that’s not the only way to give your time to the Circles program. Here are the options:

  • Ally: Allies become intentional friends of Circles Leaders. They attend weekly meetings that include dinner. They also give emotional support and help Leaders clarify their goals and figure out steps to achieve them.
  • Team member: Depending on the team, these volunteers help with set up, clean up and planning Family Fun Night, recruit new volunteers, and manage meal donations and resources.
  • Children’s program: Volunteers in the children’s program take care of Circles participants’ kids during the weekly meeting. They commit to two hours per week for at least four months. And dinner is included.

If you’re interested in investing some time and making a real difference in the community, contact Circles at (801) 691-5215.


Spend time in the food bank

The food bank needs more than food donations. There are two ways to volunteer at the food bank:

  1. Walk-in: Anyone 16 and older can walk into Community Action Services and Food Bank, 815 S. Freedom Blvd. in Provo, and help out. Walk-in hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. Everyone must wear closed-toe shoes. These volunteers work under the supervision of an employee at the food bank. They restock the pantry, clean, sort cans, assemble kits and more.
  2. Become a recurring volunteer: If you want to make a volunteer commitment, start by contacting the volunteer coordinator at (801) 691-5220 or volunteer@communityactionuc.org. These volunteers must be 16 or older, wear closed-toe shoes, and commit to at least two hours per week for at least six weeks. They help clients in the pantry as well stock shelves and other tasks.

You don’t need extra money or food to help people in need at the food bank. You can volunteer when you have an opening in your schedule, or make a short-term commitment.


Weed community gardens

Summertime is garden time, and the highest need at the four Community Action Gardens in Provo is weeding! Families with limited yard space rent small plots in these gardens for the season to grow fresh produce. Weeding volunteers need to bring work gloves and wear sturdy shoes. Community Action Services provides the tools. These volunteers must be at least 12 years old, and anyone younger than 16 needs to be carefully supervised by an adult. Check out our volunteer website if you’re ready to get started as a weeding volunteer.

You don’t need money to make a positive difference in your community—giving your time to a worthy cause is as valuable, whether it’s through Circles, at the food bank or in a community garden. If you’re interested in volunteering, check out our website, give us a call or send us an email:

• Circles: (801) 691-5215 or volunteerconnection@communityactionuc.org
• Community Gardens: (801) 691-5207 or dwright@communityactionuc.org
• Food Bank: (801) 691-5220 or volunteer@communityactionuc.org