Ultimate Guide to 30A Charities and "Voluntourism" Opportunities - 30A

Ultimate Guide to 30A Charities and “Voluntourism” Opportunities

Here along Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A, we take pride in being part of a community that generously gives back with their time, money, and efforts. Here, we have charities for every interest, and many of them rely on the generosity of individual and corporate donations to continue the good work they do for people and animals in need, as well as our precious natural resources. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite coastal charities to support.

Alaqua Animal Refuge

This no-kill animal shelter and sanctuary takes in abused, neglected, and homeless animals in need and offers them shelter, safety, and a second chance. Since its founding in 2007, Alaqua has helped to find forever homes for tens of thousands of animals. Their vast facility in Freeport, Florida, is home to more than 450 animals at any given time. It costs more than $150,000 per month to run Alaqua, and as a nonprofit they’re funded solely by donations and fundraising events. You can make a one-time or monthly donation here


Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast is “To enable all young people, especially those that need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.” To that end, they offer after school and summer programming that focuses on academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. Donations to support the organization’s efforts can be made here.


Caring & Sharing of South Walton

Established in 1994, Caring & Sharing of South Walton provides food, financial support, and other resources to Walton County families in need. They’ve assisted thousands of local families through the years, offering access to a food pantry, financial support for rent, utilities, and prescriptions, and vouchers for their Thrift Store to pick up clothing and essential household items. You can support the organization’s efforts by making a one-time or monthly donation here.


Children’s Volunteer Health Network

This faith-based nonprofit was established in 2005 to serve families in Walton County and Okaloosa County that do not have access to high-quality health services. The Children’s Volunteer Health Network provides children from low-income families with free access to dental and vision care. Their Mobile Dental Clinic offers preventative dental care to more than 1,000 children each school year. This year, CVHN added mental health care services to their offerings. Information on monetary donations can be found here.


Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance

This nonprofit organization works to sustain healthy local waterways via monitoring, education, restoration, and research. In local communities, CBA launched an oyster shell recycling program and a monofilament recycling program. In the classroom, CBA runs hands-on science programs that include planting sea oats and tending salt marsh nurseries. In local waterways, CBA monitors water quality and seagrass, and removes invasive species from the Choctawhatchee Bay and the coastal dune lakes. You can make a one-time, monthly, or yearly recurring donation to support the CBA here.


Cultural Arts Alliance on Walton County

The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, or CAA, supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs, and education initiatives. Their goal is for Walton County to become a destination for cultural and artistic excellence, which will enrich the lives of both locals and tourists, stimulate the local economy, and strengthen an overall sense of community. CAA Signature Programs include the ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival, Under the Sea fundraiser for the Underwater Museum of Art, Valentine Tour of Homes, and 30A Songwriters Festival. You can make a one-time or monthly donation to the CAA here or become a member.


Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation

Since it was founded in 2005, the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation has donated more than $25 million to charities throughout Northwest Florida through hosting wine and culinary events. Their mission is “connecting wine enthusiasts to raise money benefiting children in need,” and they have been able to positively impact the lives of more than 100,000 children. To learn more about ways to give, visit this page


Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center

Healing children and ending child abuse is what the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) is all about. To that end, they coordinate and facilitate investigative, legal, social, medical, and mental health services for children that have been abused, neglected, or assaulted. They also offer professional training, educational presentations, and so much more. To help support the ECCAC, you can make a donation or become a member.


Food for Thought

What started as a small family project to help food insecure students at one school for one year has grown to an organization that provides weekly access to healthy food to around 3,400 food insecure children from 34 schools in Walton and Okaloosa Counties. Food for Thought’s mission is to not only provide healthy, easy to prepare meals to food insecure children, but to empower them to get the most out of their education. To support Food for Thought’s efforts, consider making a general donation, recurring donation, sponsoring a family, or donating food


Friends of Eden Gardens State Park

This Florida Citizens Support Organization helps the Florida Park Service to preserve, restore, and improve Eden Gardens State Park, which is home to more than 340 camellia plants. Visit this page to become a member, or visit this page to make a donation and view information on current fundraising projects.


Friends of Grayton Beach & Deer Lake State Parks

Another Citizen Support Organization, this nonprofit that raises funds for preserving the two parks and educating the public about their unique features. For Grayton Beach State Park, this includes massive dunes, winding trails, abundant wildlife, and Western Lake (a coastal dune lake). Deer Lake State Park also has a coastal dune lake with the same name.


Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles

This volunteer organization founded in 2015 promotes sea turtle conservation through awareness and providing educational resources to residents and visitors to Walton County. They promote awareness via printed materials, online information, education programs, and local events. Visit this page to make a donation.


Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

This organization raises funds to help the park with its mission of conservation, education, and recreation. To support this beautiful natural resource, visit this page to become a member (and get 12 free passes to the park), or this page to make a donation.


Habitat For Humanity of Walton County

An affiliate of Habitat for Humanity Florida, Habitat For Humanity of Walton County envisions “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” The organization builds homes, communities, and hope by helping people in need build or improve their home. Habitat homeowners help to build their own homes with the help of volunteers, and they end up paying an affordable mortgage. You can support the organization by donating funds and attending events. For more information, visit this page.


The REP Theater

The Repertory Theatre, or The REP Theater is a 75-seat regional theatre in Seaside. Their team of theatre professionals and volunteers work to put on performances for more than 25,000 people every year. Shows range from the whimsical (think Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), to intimate acoustic sessions from talented musicians around the country. Visit this page to make a donation, or this page to become a member.


Scenic Walton

This nonprofit works with the local community on projects aimed at preserving the natural beauty and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike in Walton County. Initiatives include landscaping medians along our commercial corridors, expanding pedestrian and cycling facilities, and removing litter from public spaces. Visit this page to make a donation, or consider purchasing a 30A specialty license plate to support Scenic Walton.


Shelter House

This nonprofit supports victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by providing shelter, intervention, and community education programs. The services they provide are free and confidential, and include a 24-hour domestic violence hotline, a 24-hour sexual assault helpline, confidential shelter, crisis counseling, and more. To make a donation, visit this page.


The Sonder Project

This nonprofit organization works to empower impoverished communities around the world through high-impact, sustainable development. The Sonder Project has program offices in the sub-Saharan African countries of Burkina Faso and Malawi, where they work to provide clean water, increased education access, and food security. 100 percent of donations go directly to The Sonder Project’s programs. Visit this page to make a donation today.


South Walton Artificial Reef Association

The South Walton Artificial Reef Association, or SWARA, develops and maintains artificial reefs that are enjoyed by divers, snorkelers, fishermen, and researchers. They provide a valuable marine habitat and recreation and research hub all in one. To support SWARA’s efforts, you can become a member by visiting this page.


South Walton Turtle Watch

This nonprofit organization conducts sea turtle nesting surveys, performs sea turtle nest inventories, and responds to sick or injured sea turtles on Walton County beaches. During sea turtle nesting season, their staff and volunteers survey the beaches daily, monitoring and protecting incubating nests. Visit this page to make a donation.


Special Olympics Walton County

This organization provides opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities by hosting trainings and competitions for various sports, including basketball, swimming, tennis, and soccer. They also run youth sports play programs to introduce young children with intellectual disabilities to the world of sports. Visit this page to make a one-time or monthly donation.


30A 10K and Fun Run

The 30A10K Thanksgiving Day Races have been a Thanksgiving tradition for more than a decade, and have raised more than $650,000 for local charities. The nonprofit organization organizes 10K, 5K, and 1-mile fun runs down scenic highway 30A. Visit this page to register for an event, and this page for sponsorship information.


Point Washington Medical Clinic

Since 2017, the Point Washington Medical Clinic has treated more than 11,500 patients and given over $2.5 million in free medical care. Their motto is “radically inclusive healthcare,” and they provide primary care in a comfortable, safe setting with no fees to patients. Services include general physical exams, bloodwork, and treatment of straightforward ailments like sprains and strep throat. To help support this volunteer-driven, 100 percent donation-based organization, you can make a donation here.