25 Community Service Ideas for Schools

school community service projectsMany schools want to give back to the community around them and just need to figure out when or where to start. Whether you have the resources for a yearlong project or simply want to spend an afternoon serving those around you, one of these 25 community service ideas for schools is sure to help your students learn the importance of caring for those around them. 

Without Leaving Your School

  1. Pack Backpacks - Your students can pack backpacks with school supplies to give to less privileged schools around your city. This is an especially great project to do if your school has a supply drive because you can help organize the donations as the supplies come in!
  2. Thank You Notes - Have your students write thank you notes. These can be to soldiers overseas, police or firemen around your town or to your school janitors, cafeteria workers and staff.
  3. What I Learned - Arrange a time for your students to go to a classroom of students in the grade below them. They can talk to the students about what they wish they had known when they were in that grade and give advice.
  4. Pack Lunches - Head to the cafeteria and pack bagged lunches for the school to donate to homeless shelters or others in need.
  5. Encouraging Notes - Have your students create encouraging notes to leave in books in the school library to brighten someone’s day.

Organize parent teacher conferences with a sign up. SAMPLE

Outside the Classroom

  1. Read to Seniors - Head to a local nursing home and have your students practice their reading skills by reading to the residents.
  2. Take a Walk - Walk around your school’s campus (or even travel to another location) and pick up trash, making it beautiful!
  3. Charity 5K - Volunteer to help check runners in or hand out water at a race where people run to raise money for charity. Genius Tip: Check out these ideas for more ways to successfully organize a 5K or fun run.
  4. Habitat for Humanity - Have your class help out with a Habitat for Humanity project for a field trip if they’re older. You could also hold a donation drive for items the family will need once they move into their new home.
  5. Toiletry Bags - Hand out bags of toiletries and non-perishable food to homeless people or others in need in your community.

Year-Round Projects

  1. Book Buddies - Partner with another class and create a book buddies system, where older children can help younger children practice their reading skills.
  2. Yardwork - An easy and practical way to help your community is by finding homes near your school with older or homebound residents and head over as a class every few weeks to help out with yardwork.
  3. Fresh Food - Plant a garden at your school. When your produce starts to bloom, donate all the fresh food to a local food pantry or a place where access to fruits and vegetables isn’t very common.
  4. Food Pantry - Volunteer to sort donations at your local food pantry once a quarter as a class.
  5. Tech Teaching - Head to a local retirement community or senior center once a month and help the residents learn to use the latest technology.

Recruit lunch duty volunteers with a sign up. SAMPLE

One-Time Large Projects

  1. Performance - If your students enjoy music or acting, coordinate with another school or preschool to bring in students to watch a performance! You can do a performance on an educational topic or just provide students with an afternoon of fun.
  2. Soup Kitchen - Travel to a local soup kitchen and cook a meal for those in need (or just visit with patrons if your class is younger).
  3. Fall Festival - Host a fall festival for families with children with special needs in the area to come and have a relaxing, fun day with their kids. Genius Tip: Coordinate festival volunteers with a sign up.
  4. Free Coffee and Hot Cocoa - If it’s wintertime, brighten the days of people in your community by handing out free coffee and cocoa on a cold day.
  5. Mural - Help your students paint a mural to brighten up your community or bring awareness to a cause that you think more people should know about.

Coordinate Read Across America readers with a sign up. SAMPLE

Fundraising for a Cause

  1. Car Wash - Turn that standstill carpool line into a car wash, where parents pay a few dollars to get their car sprayed down and scrubbed at lightning speed! Donate all the proceeds to a good cause. Genius Tip: Schedule carwash shifts with an online sign up.
  2. Bake Sale - Students can sell baked goods during lunchtime or a school event and donate the proceeds to an issue that your class is passionate about.
  3. Service Auction - Students can auction off their time and talents (an hour of yardwork, a night of free babysitting, etc.) to raise money to donate to a cause.
  4. Yard Sale - Organize a community yard sale! Collect gently used clothes, furniture, household goods and more and plan for a weekend morning to have the big sale. Donate the money you make to underprivileged schools to buy supplies for their students. Genius Tip: Use an online sign up to schedule volunteers.
  5. Movie Night - Host a movie night for the community on your school soccer field. Students can sell concessions and tickets for the event to raise money for a cause. Genius Tip: Raise more money with these 100 concessions ideas.
With one of these ideas, your students will be helping the community in no time! 

Kayla Rutledge is a college student who spends most of her time writing, singing for her church and eating quesadillas.