Those that are lucky enough to call 30A home or their go-to vacation destination know that its appeal goes beyond beautiful beaches. The 30A community is all about giving back, and it’s a great place to do it. Here, we have charities for every interest, and volunteers are needed to help these local organizations fulfill their missions of helping people and animals in need, as well as to protect the natural environment.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite charities that make this community special.
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. Volunteer opportunities at Alaqua include working with animals, giving tours to visitors, and helping out at fundraising events. The first step to becoming a volunteer is filling out a volunteer application.
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. There are volunteer opportunities across the seven Northwest Florida Clubs, which include field trips, mentoring, or programs. A background check, volunteer orientation, and training are mandatory. You can sign up to volunteer as an individual or a corporate group with your company, school, or organization. Signup information can be found here.
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 via onsite and remote volunteering. To get started, fill out this form.
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 its offerings. If you want to get involved, there are volunteer opportunities for the Mobile Dental Clinic, fundraising events, and the Parent Support Network.
This nonprofit organization works to sustain healthy local waterways via monitoring, education, restoration, and research. In local communities, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance 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. There are volunteer opportunities for all ages. Find out more here.
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, or CAA, is all about supporting 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. The CAA needs around 1,000 volunteers every year. For more information on volunteer opportunities, check out this page.
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. Volunteers are always needed. To view current volunteer projects and sign up, visit this page.
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 also to empower them to get the most out of their education. There are volunteer opportunities for all ages and schedules. For more information, visit this page.
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. For information on volunteer opportunities, visit this page.
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. Volunteers are needed to build homes, work events, and fundraising. For more information on how to get involved, visit this page.
This organization provides opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities by hosting training 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 for volunteer opportunities.