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Volunteer Opportunities

Drake desires to work reciprocally with local neighborhoods and community organizations. Annually, Drake partners with over 100 community agencies and schools on a variety of projects from lunch hour reading programs with kids at King elementary to building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Whatever your interest there is an opportunity for you to get involved! Check out below for some of the requests we've received recently or search the United Way Volunteer Database for 100s of opportunities. 

If you're looking to develop a more ongoing relationship with a community partner, read through this checklist first. 

Are you a community partner wanting to learn how to get your opportunity posted? Click here for more information. 

Want to stay up to date on current volunteer and community engagement opportunities? Sign up for our newsletter. 

Commitment to Racial Justice

The Office of Community Engaged Learning & Service affirms our commitment to racial justice. The objectives of our office are for students to be able to know themselves, understand the complexities of the world, and take creative action. This newsletter shares ideas on how individuals can educate themselves on topics of racial justice and take action to create change. 

Volunteering in times of Coronavirus

There are still ways to support our neighbors, even during social distancing. Some people have new needs emerging, while others have existing needs exacerbated by the situation. Below are a few ideas to consider:

Direct Service:

  • Sprout Urban Youth Learning Garden on Drake's campus needs volunteers to help water, weed, and harvest produce. Flexible hours. Contact 
  • Eat Greater Des Moines is looking for volunteers to help each Tuesday and Thursday from about 11am-3pm unloading and loading boxes of produce and dairy. It is a safe, socially distance volunteer opportunity and supports many local organizations. Contact Steven at
  • Children & Family Urban Movement is looking for volunteers to hand out food to those in need. Shifts are available Monday-Friday 4-5:45pm and take place at the corner of 8th and College St. Bring your own mask, gloves are provided. Contact to sign up. 
  • Contact your local long-term care facility to see if you could share your talents virtually - could you record or livestream you playing music, reading a story, etc.?
  • Write letters to the residents at Ramsey Village in the Drake Neighborhood or your local nursing home, where no visitors are allowed. Start your letter with "Dear Neighbor" and write about what college life is like in the middle of a pandemic. Google the address of your local nursing home.
  • Do you have a 3D printer? Drake Innovation is printing 3D face mask pieces, and invites you to do the same! Check out the instructions. 
  • Take a plastic bag and latex gloves with you on a walk and pick up litter.   
  • Make homemade face masks to donate to essential workers (healthcare workers, grocery store employees, etc.). Check your local hospital's website for guidance and requirements before donating masks and supplies. Here is more information for the Des Moines area.
  • Will you be in Iowa this summer? Consider a summer AmeriCorps position to respond to Covid-19. Members will support those most impacted by the COVID-19 through their service work to organizations such as food pantries, homeless shelters, youth programs, child care, and other services needed in the communities across Iowa.  Members receive an education award, great skills, the feeling of giving back, and other great benefits. 


  • Contribute to Drake's Virtual Food Drive to benefit Des Moines Area Religious Council, which manages 14 local food pantries:  Because DMARC can buy in bulk, a donation of just one dollar yields greater purchasing power than an individual person at a grocery store.
  • Donate to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences' virtual fundraiser for the Food Bank of IowaDonate today! 
  • Consider donating blood. The American Red Cross encourages healthy, eligible individuals to schedule an appointment at Demand for blood is high and fewer people are donating. You can also schedule an appointment with LifeServe Blood Center at
  • Drop off canned goods and toiletries to one of the Drake Neighborhood's Little Free Pantries, or a little library or little pantry in your own community. 
  • The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines has activated a Disaster Recovery Fund that will be used to support communities that are disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 emergency. The Community Foundation’s board and United Way of Central Iowa have both dedicated $100,000 to this fund. Additional donations can be made at
  • UnityPoint in DSM is asking for donations of PPE and medical supplies, including paper bags, hair covers, exam gloves, eye protection.
  • Drake's corporate partner, Principal Financial Group, has started "The Giving Chain" which purchases meals and activity kits from local businesses, then donates them to central Iowa nonprofits.

Policy and Governance: 

  • Contact your legislators about bills and policies that will impact people during this disaster, such as unemployment. Find your legislators at
  • Attend a virtual city council meeting or neighborhood association meeting to learn about important issues in your community.

Community Organizing and Activism: 

  • Unfortunately, the coronavirus has brought out countless instances of xenophobia. As a form of activism, you can call out xenophobic reactions on social media or in conversations.
  • Check on your neighbors - send them a text or phone call to see if they need anything - you can always leave a roll of toilet paper or some canned goods on their doorstep if they are in need. 

Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Responsibility

  • Support local businesses that are still open during these trying times. Purchase gift cards to use at the business at a later date. 

Washington Post article "How can you help during the Coronavirus outbreak?"

Volunteer Iowa has a list of volunteer opportunities across the state as a result of Covid-19. Check them out here. 


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