Service and Volunteer Opportunities

RIT students complete thousands of volunteer hours within our local community and beyond every year.

Our collective impact includes the creation of packaged meals, community gardens, refurbished technology in classrooms, and long-term housing for our neighbors. With so many ways to give back it can be difficult to know where to start.

After considering what charitable focus you are most passionate about, use the list below to start exploring local opportunities. If you are looking for a more personalized list, options for large groups, or have questions about volunteer experiences, reach out to to start the conversation.

Find a Place to Volunteer

Food Justice

Foodlink is a regional food hub and the Feeding America food bank serving 10 local counties, including RIT's own, Monroe County. Their operations specifically target the root causes of hunger, distributing food to a network of agencies, serving meals through their kitchen, and offering a variety of food-related programs.

Learn more about Foodlink

Flower City Pickers supports the local community with free food through the recovery and redistribution of safe but otherwise landfill-bound food. Volunteers attend the City of Rochester Public Market on regular shopping days, year-round, to collect several tons of surplus produce donated by generous vendors and recover food that might otherwise end up landfilled.

Learn more about Flower City Pickers

Food Not Bombs/Rochester (FNB Rochester) is an informal co-op that sprouted up within the last few years. FNB is a refreshing difference from the traditional, long established supper programs and agencies that have provided meals for decades. Every Sunday the young people of FNB offer the community the free, vegetarian meals available to anyone who wishes to partake.

Learn more about Food Not Bombs

A Meal and More, Inc. has been serving people in need since 1979. With the help of a retired professional chef and volunteers, they serve free, hot, well-balanced, and nutritious meals to as many as 100 guests every Wednesday and Sunday.

Learn more about A Meal and More

Comfort begins by staying in familiar surroundings and being cared for by caregivers who have become like family. At Meals On Wheels, the participants always come first. They strive to improve health and independence to all – regardless of their ability to pay. Often in the program, participants do not have the ability to pay for service.

Learn more about Meals On Wheels

Homelessness and Equitable Housing

The Dimitri House serves the homeless of Rochester, helping on their journey towards self-sufficiency.

Learn more about the Dimitri House

East House works to empower individuals with mental health and substance use disorders to recover and to live healthy, fulfilling lives in their community.

Learn more about East House

Flower City Habitat for Humanity's (HOH) mission is to bring people together to build houses, communities, and hope. Since 1984, HOH has built or renovated over 200 homes in Rochester, helping families achieve their dreams of home ownership and strengthening local neighborhoods one home at a time.

Learn more about Habitat for Humanity

House of Mercy provides individuals in need with food, shelter, clothing, and drop-in emergency services. The House of Mercy runs around the clock thanks to the help of volunteers that never give up. They have several volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups.

Learn more about House of Mercy

The Mission feeds the homeless as well as low-income men, women, and children of the Rochester community.

Learn more about the Open Door Mission

Community Development

As a “community action agency,” ABC's programs touch upon the health, education, safety, employment, and housing of our region's families, individuals, teens, and toddlers. ABC has aided thousands of individuals/families to move from public assistance to a gainfully employed, tax-paying status.

Learn more about Action for a Better Community

Catholic Family Center dates back to the early 1900’s when it was founded to assist immigrants. Still, today, the Center works to resettle refugees, strengthen families, and provide emergency housing and shelters to those in need. Additionally, the center has expanded to provide services for aging adults, adoption, and foster care, substance abuse treatment, and behavioral health services.

Learn more about the Catholic Family Center

Connected Communities partners with Beechwood and EMMA residents to break the cycle of poverty through antiracist community revitalization and equitable resource coordination.

Learn more about Connected Communities

A community-based human services agency providing services to youth, families, adults, and developmentally disabled individuals. Our activities range from providing education enhancement for kindergartners to food and clothing for families, and some family activities.

Learn more about Community Place of Greater Rochester

Mary’s Place is a refugee outreach center that has been serving refugee families living in the City of Rochester since 2009. Joined by refugees from 10 nations, and they assist these individuals as they work to adjust to American culture, learn English, find employment, gain permanent residency, and ultimately, citizenship.

Learn more about Mary’s Place

Environment and Sustainability

Genesee Land Trust preserves and protects natural lands and waterways that enhance the quality of life in the greater Rochester region—providing wildlife habitat, locally grown food, and connections to nature.

Learn more about the Genesee Land Trust

Rochester Greenovation is an Independent Nonprofit Organization where selling second-hand, reducing waste, reusing, and upcycling are their main priorities.

Learn more about Rochester Greenovation

Rochester Roots (ROOTS) is a non-profit organization focused on sustainability education and entrepreneurship, which it offers within 26 sustainability laboratories. These develop citizens and communities, starting with youth as future leaders, who work alongside businesses, university faculty and peers to solve the challenges of sustainability facing them in the 21st century.

Learn more about Rochester Roots

The purpose of the Sierra Club Rochester Group is to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the Earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the Earth's ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.

Learn more about Sierra Club

Animal Welfare

GRASP (Greece Residents Assisting Stray Pets) is committed to reducing the number of homeless pets in Greece, N.Y., by decreasing dog and cat reproduction, promoting responsible pet ownership, and placing homeless dogs and cats into compatible, loving, and permanent homes.

Learn more about GRASP

Committed to the humane treatment of animals through education, prevention of cruelty, and promotion of responsible pet ownership.

Learn more about the Humane Society at Lollypop Farm

The Seneca Park Zoo Society is a not-for-profit organization that has, since 1957, provided education, fund raising, special events, and public relations support to Monroe County's Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, N.Y.

Learn more about the Seneca Park Zoo Society

Verona Street Animal Shelter is dedicated to providing the resources necessary to enable Rochester Animal Services to more effectively serve the public. This includes animal care and control, pet sterilization, pet adoption interests and, in cooperation with the City of Rochester, other programs that support the mission of Rochester Animal Services.

Learn more about the Verona Street Animal Shelter

Wild Wings Inc. is a not-for-profit educational organization which includes a bird of prey facility and the Mendon Ponds Park Nature Center. They care for permanently injured and non-releasable animals which are unable to survive on their own in the wild.

Learn more about Wild Wings


Empire Justice protects and strengthens the legal rights of people in New York state who are poor, disabled, or disenfranchised through: systems change advocacy, training and support to other advocates and organizations, and high quality direct civil legal representation.

Learn more about Empire Justice

The Legal Aid Society of Rochester provides a variety of free or low-cost civil legal services to financially eligible individuals.

Learn more about the Legal Aid Society of Rochester

Legal Assistance of Western New York increases access to justice through excellent legal representation, advocacy and service.

Learn more about Legal Assistance of Western New York

Metro Justice is a progressive member-driven, grassroots organization dedicated to social, economic, and racial justice in Rochester, N.Y.

Learn more about Metro Justice

Education and Youth Development

A Big Brother or Big Sister is a mentor, friend, and a true role model who helps a child develop the self- esteem and life skills necessary to become a healthy, productive adult.

Learn more about Big Brother or Big Sisters

The Boys and Girls Club of Rochester is set out to inspire and enable young people of all backgrounds to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.

Learn more about Boys and Girls Club of Rochester

The Champion Academy provides teens in poverty with the critical support, consistency, and accountability necessary to overcome barriers and reach their fullest potential.

Learn more about The Champion Academy

Hillside Family of Agencies provides comprehensive health, education, and human services for children and families whose challenges threaten their ability to realize their full potential.

Learn more about Hillside Family of Agencies

Junior Achievement is focused on helping the young people of Rochester. With the goal of preparing young people for the real world, Junior Achievement works to teach money management, job seeking skills, entrepreneurial skills, and more.

Learn more about Junior Achievement

Literacy Volunteers of Rochester, Inc. (LVR) is Rochester’s community leader in the cause of literacy. They provide tutoring and classroom instruction in reading, English language, and math.

Learn more about Literacy Volunteers of Rochester

Child care facility at RIT. This is an on-campus opportunity.

Learn more about Margaret’s House at RIT

The Rochester Museum and Science Center offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for those looking to get more involved. Each special role assists the center in an important and critical way for the success of their various programs and commitments throughout the year.

Learn more about the Rochester Museum and Science Center

Provides youth and families with 24-hour crisis intervention/information and referral: emergency shelter for homeless/runaway youth; prevention education workshops and groups; short-term solution oriented counseling for youth and their families. Time requirements and screening process required.

Learn more about The Center for Youth Service

Participate in recreational, cultural, and educational activities with youth in the community through Project Ready Mentor.

Learn more about the Urban League of Rochester

Health and Wellness

Assisting the family caregiver to maintain a normal, productive lifestyle. They provide support, information, and education to family and professional caregivers of those individuals affected by dementia. Supports local and national research.

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association – Rochester Chapter

Volunteers are needed for patient services, information distribution, Cancer Control Network, health fairs, Hope Lodge maintenance and grounds keeping, special events throughout the year, and clerical assistance.

Learn more about the American Cancer Society

Dedicated to the reduction of disability and death from heart disease and stroke. Provides education programs and funds life-saving research.

Learn more about the American Heart Association

Services include disaster relief; health and safety courses (CPR, first aid, water safety, back injury prevention, HIV/AIDS education); community heating funds; job readiness training; community food and nutrition services; school programs.

Learn more about the American Red Cross

The Rochester Area Red Cross is headquartered in downtown Rochester and offers a variety of services including CPR training, blood drives, walk-in blood donations, and warehouse and office jobs. They work to serve our local area along with several other local offices, which are a part of the Rochester Area Red Cross network.

Learn more about the Rochester Area Red Cross

Provides high-quality programs for individuals with developmental disabilities and or mental retardation. Program services offered include: residential, clinical, vocational, day treatment, family support service coordination, and transportation services.

Learn more about Arc of Monroe County

The mission of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI)-Goodwill Industries of Greater Rochester is to “assist people who are blind or visually impaired to achieve their highest level of independence in their social and vocational lives.”

Learn more about the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester’s mission is to make eradication of breast cancer a priority through education and advocacy, to empower women and men to participate fully in decisions relating to breast cancer, and to promote and focus research into the causes, prevention, treatment and cure of breast cancer.

Learn more about the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester

The Compeer Program matches community volunteers in friendship relationships with children and adults who are receiving mental health treatment.

Learn about the Compeer Program

Helps children and families dealing with cancer or coping with loss.

Learn more about CURE

The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.

Learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Provides cancer patients and their family and friends with support, education, and advocacy; offers health education, smoking withdrawal, professional education, and minority outreach programs; runs a day-camp for children with cancer and their siblings, men, and women.

Learn more about Gilda’s Club of Rochester New York

Hope Lodge is designed to provide free or low-cost housing to patients and caregivers traveling far from home for cancer care. The house is presented in association with the American Cancer Society and is set-up to feel like a home away from home for local cancer patients and families.

Learn more about Hope Lodge

Our volunteers provide a variety of important services, including working in the MCH gift shop, assisting with visitation and pastoral care, transporting residents to special programs within the building, providing musical support, or providing assistance to various departments and nursing units. Each volunteer opportunity allows people to share their unique talents and personality with others in our community.

Learn more about Monroe Community Hospital

The Rochester Ronald McDonald House believes that families are stronger when they are together, and that their presence helps a sick child heal faster and cope better. While Ronald McDonald House Charities® cannot make medicine taste better or take away painful treatments, they can, and do, help lessen the burden and ensure families have the stability and resources to keep their child healthy and happy.

Learn more about the Ronald McDonald House

Parks and Recreation

Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery and their volunteers help revitalize and maintain gardens within Mount Hope Cemetery. They are responsible for planting, weeding, and watering their sites throughout the planting season.

Learn more about Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery

The Friends of Washington Grove help manage Washington Grove, a park owned by the City of Rochester. They encourage its sustainable use as an old growth forest and foster scientific research to support the City’s management goals.

Learn more about Friends of Washington Grove

Girls on the Run is dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Learn more about Girls on the Run

Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance, and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities.

Learn more about Monroe County Special Olympics