Volunteer Service Opportunities

Serving Something Greater than Ourselves was the theme of our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day observance. Residents shared their personal experiences of volunteerism and service. Below are the organizations they noted. These regional nonprofits run on the time and talent of their volunteers--learn more about each of them and consider how you too can serve!


Vanguard Theater  

Changing the narrative through theater dedicated to DREAM: Diversity, Reciprocity, Education, Activism & Mentorship

The Strollers

The Strollers is a community theater troupe in Maplewood, New Jersey. Our diverse membership includes people of all ages and from all walks of life. Whether you have always been a theater person or just enjoy the fun of working on a creative project, The Strollers welcomes you.


Ping Chong and Company (PCC) creates theater and art that reveal beauty, invention, precision, and a commitment to social justice.


South Orange Green Team & Environmental Commission

The Environmental Commission is composed of seven citizen volunteers, two alternates, and one liaison to the Board of Trustees. It also oversees the Green Team, which is unlimited in membership and open to all residents who wish to pursue projects affecting the environment and quality of life.

SOMA Action Climate

SOMA Action Climate Committee is made up of local volunteers in South Orange and Maplewood whose passion is protecting our natural resources, reducing waste, and advocating for practical and, if necessary, radical solutions to climate change at the local, state, and national levels.


South Mountain YMCA Memorial Day Duck Race

The duck races bring staff, volunteers, township leaders and the community together for a fun family experience and great cause. Proceeds go toward the Y’s financial assistance program, which helps make Y programs like child care affordable for families with extenuating circumstances, as well as the local nonprofit MEND.

SOMA Two Towns for All Ages

Their mission is to identify, develop, and coordinate resources, policies, programs, and services that support and empower all residents of Maplewood and South Orange to age in place as full members of the community.



The Achieve Foundation promotes high-quality education that prepares South Orange-Maplewood School District students for the future. We support our students, families and educators by addressing inequities, inspiring innovation and fostering community.

SOMA Adult School

The mission of The South Orange-Maplewood Adult School Association (SOMAS) is to provide people of all ages in the greater South Orange-Maplewood area quality experiences which enhance understanding and enjoyment of life and create a learning environment for the betterment of the individual and society.

Make Us Visible NJ

Make Us Visible NJ is a coalition of students, parents, educators, legislators, professionals, and New Jersey community members advocating for thoughtful and comprehensive inclusion of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) studies into K-12 curriculum for New Jersey public schools.

Durand-Hedden House

Durand-Hedden House and Garden is an historic house museum that finds interesting ways to explore our community's fascinating past - through nature, architecture, music, food, social life, local history, reenactments and participatory activities - and to spotlight the "treasures" in our own backyards. Our aim is to make history exciting and relevant for all ages.

Food Insecurity


Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity
MEND is an interfaith network of over 20 member food pantries and community partners located throughout Essex County, NJ. Our hunger relief network, the largest in Essex County, has been providing food to individuals and families in need since 1980.

The Food Pantry at Our Lady of Sorrows

The OLS Food Pantry is a volunteer-led effort supported by the Parish. We currently serve 300-350 individuals/families twice a month

St. Joseph's Pantry

The Food Pantry is a place where basic food items are donated and/or purchased and stored in the Parish House. Every month a group of volunteers gather and bag the food and prepare for distribution on designated Saturdays. If you would like to volunteer, or have food you would like to donate, please contact Dominic Pirozzi at: [email protected].

Social Justice

First Friends of NJ & NY

First Friends of New Jersey and New York upholds the inherent dignity and humanity of immigrants who are impacted by the immigration and enforcement system. We provide compassion and hope through connections with volunteers dedicated to helping them rebuild their lives.

SOMA Action

SOMA Action’s mission is to drive progressive change. We believe change will happen through:

  • Changing structures to open democracy for all
  • Creating a just and equitable society and government at all levels
  • Motivating climate justice
  • Building a more educated, informed and politically active community

SOMA Action Racial Justice

Committed to addressing the structural racism that persists at every level of U.S. society

SOMA Justice

Founded in 2016, SOMA Justice is a group of local volunteers working to promote racial justice and safe spaces for people of color (POC) in South Orange, Maplewood and surrounding communities in New Jersey. We focus on community activism and advocacy, education, and fellowship.

South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race

What can you do to make our towns racially integrated, equitable, and truly inclusive? Our committees are a great way to meet new people, be active in community life, and use your talent in support of stable integration. Become one of the 100+ volunteers that makes the Community Coalition on Race work!

Youth Support

Casa of Essex County

CASA of Essex County promotes the welfare of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment by providing a safety net of support, advocacy, and mentorship. CASA trains and supervises volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court, to ensure that each child has the opportunity to thrive by receiving needed services and assistance while helping to move the child toward a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.

CHS Cougar Cares Student Support

  • Senior Support
    Cougar Cares established the Senior Fund to ensure all CHS students are able to enjoy their senior year rites of passage such as Prom.
  • CHS Food & Toiletry Pantry Project
    Cougar Cares provides food and toiletries for food insecure students. Other items such as hygiene products and school supplies are available on request.
  • Prom Pop Up Shop
    We want to make sure all CHS seniors feel special at their prom, your donations help a CHS student achieve their perfect look!


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