The Coastal Star

Resolve to Volunteer: From feeding the hungry to cleaning up the seashore, opportunities abound for people who want to give back

Enrique Zuanetto, executive director of the Soup Kitchen of Boynton Beach, and his team of volunteers feed needy people. The Coastal Star file photo

By Janis Fontaine

You’ll never hear Enrique Zuanetto sound like the Seinfeld character known for spouting the words “No soup for you!”

Zuanetto is more Oprah-like: “You get a meal, and you get a meal …”

As the executive director of the Soup Kitchen of Boynton Beach, Zuanetto and his cadre of more than 300 volunteers feed about 400 people and deliver 140 meals to homebound people every day.

And while he sings the praises of unpaid workers, he says when he was a volunteer, he didn’t do it because he was special. “I did not do it for recognition but because it was the right thing to do.” Zuanetto started at the Soup Kitchen as a volunteer more than 20 years ago. Today, he is the only full-time employee.

One way or another, he has always given back to his community — in his native Argentina, then in New Jersey, where he lived before moving to South Florida.

Feeding hungry people healthy meals looks simple enough, but it’s a job that is never finished. The “food insecure” people Zuanetto and his team feed today will be hungry again tomorrow. It’s an unrelenting tide of people living on the edge of poverty, struggling to survive.

At the Soup Kitchen, they get a hearty meal and a hefty snack for later. And each meal is served with a side of goodwill and hope.

The Coastal Star every month features volunteers, but for our readers looking to make resolutions for the new year, we’ve put together an extensive list of volunteer opportunities. The value of people willing to work for free is staggering. The Independent Sector, a national nonprofit that serves as a resource for information on volunteerism, estimated that one hour of volunteer work was worth almost $25 in 2018.

The Points of Life Foundation estimates the economic impact of the Soup Kitchen at more than $1.3 million.

The number Zuanetto is most proud of is 81. For 81 cents, he provides a meal. For less than a McDonald’s Big Mac meal, he can feed more than six people.

But volunteers don’t think about that. Many of the rewards of volunteer work are invisible. And some things you can’t put a price on. How much is compassion worth?

Experts say that in many cases, people say their volunteer work is more fulfilling and rewarding than their day jobs. It might not pay the bills, but volunteering reduces stress, improves social skills, builds self-esteem and improves physical, mental and emotional health. The goal is to find a good match. When it works, it’s like magic straight from the heart.

“People always ask, ‘Why is your food so good?’ And I say, ‘It’s because it is cooked with love,’ ” Zuanetto said.

Volunteer commitments range from a few hours to several days a week. Look around and maybe you’ll find a match.

Community Cats Coalition of Boca Raton Inc., Boca Raton. 251-6862;;
Needs: Cat lovers to help with feral cats in east Boca Raton. Duties could include feeding one cat colony, trapping and transporting cats for sterilization, animal care, event planning, helping with grant applications and social media or fostering kittens.
Requirements: Commit to two hours a week, age 16 and older, driver’s license, attend training or orientation.

Daggerwing Nature Center, South County Regional Park, 11435 Park Access Road, Boca Raton. 629-8760; (search “Daggerwing”)
Needs: Animal care assistants to care for the live educational collection.
Requirements: Commit two hours per week for six months, age 15 and older, pass a background check.
Other opportunities: Docents to lead boardwalk tours and assist staff with teaching and community programs; Butterfly gardeners and groundskeepers; greeters and gift shop cashiers.

Dezzy’s Second Chance Animal Rescue, 8470 92nd Place S., Boynton Beach. 954-588-7045;
Needs: Animal care assistance (vet techs), administrative and clerical help, adoption counselors.
Requirements: Age 15 and older, driver’s license and proof of medical insurance. Some dogs require medical care and rehabilitation and are not for the tender-hearted dog lover.

Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League, 3200 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach. 686-3663;
Needs: Foster families who can care for underage kittens and puppies and ill and aging dogs and cats in their homes.
Requirements: Age 17 and older, commit from one to six weeks at a time, and attend required training and orientation.
Other opportunities: Drivers to transport cats to adoption sites at PetSupermarket; greeters to work in the lobby and help manage traffic on Saturdays, a two- to four-hour weekly commitment; Flexible volunteers to fill the gaps, working in customer service, retail sales, computer work and animal care and handling.

Tri County Animal Rescue, 21287 Boca Rio Road, Boca Raton. 482-8110;
Needs: Animal companions, dog walkers and bathers, front desk personnel, adoption counselors, fundraisers, plumbers, painters and carpenters.
Requirements: Must be 18 years of age or older.
Contact: Shelly Franco.

Boca Raton Children’s Museum, 498 Crawford Blvd., Boca Raton. 368-6875;
Needs: People who enjoy working with children and people to work behind the scenes.
Requirements: Commit for a few hours each week, or just work during special events.
Contact: Sandy Manning.

Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum, 71 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. 395-6766;
Needs: Conductors and interpreters to help third-, fourth- and fifth-graders navigate through the “Ticket to Ride” program at the Boca Express Train Museum and assist the teacher before and after the event.
Requirements: Complete an application online, be a BRHS member, be available weekdays, attend training and orientation, pay a nominal fee for training materials and badge, and attend annual updates.
Contact: Volunteer program at 395-6766, Ext. 107.

Children’s Science Explorium, Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton. 347-3912;
Needs: Museum guides to explain exhibits and lead or assist with programs.
Requirements: Make a significant time commitment, age 14 or older, pass a background check, provide a Social Security number or tax ID, and attend orientation or training.
Other opportunities: A butterfly gardener.

Delray Beach Chorale, FAU Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. 419-4878;
Needs: People to serve on the board of directors or committees, especially to help with financial planning, accounting, fundraising and program administration.
Requirements: Commit 10 hours each month, driver’s license, pass background check, age 25 and older, attend orientation and training.

Delray Beach Playhouse , 950 NW Ninth St., Delray Beach. 272-1281, Ext.4;
Needs: Adults interested in working backstage and behind the scenes, build sets and scenery, install and run lighting or sound equipment, help with costumes, props and equipment, work with the technical and artistic director.

Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. 243-7922;
Needs: People who love the arts and enjoy engaging with others.
Requirements: Must take the Historical Site Tour given by a volunteer docent at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month in the Cornell Museum, be a member of OSS, register online and be available for training.
Contact: Leanne Griffith, 404-1886 or

Outre Theatre Company, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. 954-300-2149;
Needs: Passionate people to build sets, arrange costumes and props, run concessions, usher at performances, help with social media, legal and accounting, and a volunteer coordinator.

The American Association of Caregiving Youth, 1515 N. Federal Highway, Suite 218, Boca Raton. 391-7401;
Needs: Mentors for kids in sixth to 12th grade who need extra support because they are caregivers for a sick or disabled parent, guardian, sibling or relative.
Requirements: Age 21 and older, driver’s license, pass background check, available to participate in training.
Other opportunities: People with office skills are needed as are volunteer drivers.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, Inc., 300 Newcastle St., Boca Raton. 994-7551; (Administrative office is at 800 Northpoint Parkway, Suite 204, West Palm Beach.)
Needs: Mentors who love kids to share their knowledge, life skills and area of expertise, including dance, music, art, sports, theater, nature, solving puzzles, teaching, just about anything.
Requirements: Attend a pre-volunteer introduction, complete an application and screening which includes a level two background check.
Other opportunities: The after-school mentoring program at the Boys & Girls Clubs in Delray Beach helps low income adolescents attending the lowest performing schools. The program uses the mentor’s personal and professional background to provide enrichment, which improves self-esteem and academic performance.
Contact: or 683-3287, Ext. 1117.

Florence Fuller Child Development Center, 200 N.E. 14 St., Boca Raton. 391-9379;
Needs: People to nurture economically-challenged children and families, promote early education. Duties could include rocking infants, aiding teachers in the classroom, reading to children, teaching hobbies, tutoring and homework help.
Requirements: Any time commitment no matter how small is welcomed.
Other opportunities: Gardening, fundraising, special events, facility upkeep, administrative tasks, infant care and assisting in the preschool classrooms during the school day by playing games, songs, reading, art projects, playtime and lunch.
Contact: 391-7274, Ext. 136 or 

Guardian ad Litem, Speak Up for Children, 205 N. Dixie Hwy, Suite 2.2100, West Palm Beach. 223-9646;
Needs: Volunteer child advocates to represent children in court who have experienced abuse, neglect or abandonment.
Requirements: Must pass background check. Training provided.
Contact: 233-9646.

The Milagro Center, 695 Auburn Ave., Delray Beach. 279-2970;
Needs: Adults for the Mentoring Miracles program, which matches an adult volunteer one-on-one with a child or teen.
Requirements: Age 18 and older and willing to make a one-year commitment to meet with a child once a week at the center.
Other opportunities: Provide homework help and educational support, assist with fundraising and promoting special events.
Contact: Barbara Stark at

Schoolhouse Children’s Museum & Learning Center, 129 E. Ocean Ave., Boynton Beach. 742-6780;
Needs: Teens who want to gain leadership skills and work experience and fulfill community service hours. Duties include helping with birthday parties and special events.
Requirements: Age 15-17, pass an interview.

Bound for College (formerly Delray Students First), 100 E. Linton Blvd., 301 B, Delray Beach. 819-9907;
Needs: Adult library chaperones for the middle schoolers and chaperones to accompany kids on college tours.
Other opportunities: Guest speakers, website, office and social media support, party planners.

The Eda and Cliff Viner Community Scholars Foundation, 777 Yamato Road, Suite 300,
Boca Raton. 544-4436;
Needs: Mentors for college students dealing with the personal and social pressures.
Requirements: Age 21 and older, pass background check, commit to weekly discussions and a structured mentor relationship. This is a long-term commitment.

Delray Beach Public Library, 100 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. 266-9490;
Needs: Volunteers for event planning, program facilitation and computer help.
Contact: Isabella Rowan at
Other libraries: The Delray Beach Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which depends on its volunteers to keep the books on the shelves. But civic libraries rely on volunteers too. These libraries also need volunteers: Boca Raton Public Library, Highland Beach Library, Boynton Beach City Library, Lantana Public Library, J. Turner Moore Memorial Library in Manalapan

Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, 3651 Quantum Blvd., Boynton Beach. 279-9103;
Needs: Tutors for adults to improve reading and speaking English or prepare for the GED.
Requirements: Must be at least 18 years old and attend training.
Other opportunities: Tutors for first or second graders in reading comprehension at their elementary schools during the school day or after school at the Literary Coalition; Promote and participate in special events including Read Together Palm Beach County, the Love of Literacy Luncheon and Read for the Record; Literacy ambassadors to join book discussions and encouraging participation.
Contact:  Jeanne Heavilin at 767-3366 or

Palm Beach County School District VIPS, Regional Office South, 1790 N.W. Spanish River Blvd., Boca Raton. 982-0919;
Needs: Mentors for students.
Requirements: Complete an application, pass a background check, attend orientation and training, and follow school procedures and policies. A teaching background is not needed.
Other opportunities: Volunteers to read to students, make copies, shelve library books, help in the classrooms, assist with sports activities and field trips, attend career days, judge competitions, help in the cafeteria. There are also remote positions volunteers can do at home.
Contact: Call the volunteer coordinator at the school where you’d like to volunteer, or the district volunteer coordinator Debi Elfen at 434-8789.

P.R.O.P.E.L People Reaching Out to Provide Education and Leadership, 499 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton. 955-8553;
Needs: People to teach life skills and lessons on character, personal finance, avoiding drugs and risky behaviors, staying in school, to at risk youth and their families in South Palm Beach County.
Requirements: Pass a background check, interview and drug test, participate in orientation and training,
Other opportunities: Teach healthy cooking classes, tutor students or help them do research, make a motivational speech, transport students in the nonprofit’s van, or aid the organization in grant research and writing.

Volunteers plant mango trees for Community Greening at Catherine Strong Park in Delray Beach. Photo provided

Community Greening Corp., 610 SW 15th Ave., Suite #4, Delray Beach.
Needs: People to plant trees, create and maintain green spaces, clean up litter and educate the public. 
Contact: Matt Shipley at 789-2005,

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton.;
Needs: Welcome desk/guest services staff, marine aquarium guide, aquarist assistant, school program assistant, sea turtle rehabilitation educators and husbandry, exhibit crew, office assistants.
Requirements: Age 16 and older. $35 fee for training includes a volunteer shirt, name badge, and training manual.
Contact: Rebecca Mannen, 544-8538

Sandoway Discovery Center, 142 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach. 274-7263;
Needs: Docents to speak about the environment.
Requirements: Age 15 and older, willing to make a minimum commitment of two hours per week for six months, pass a background check you pay for ($24).
Contact: Amanda, 274-7263 or

Sea Angels, Ocean Inlet Park, 6990 N. Ocean Blvd, Ocean Ridge;
Needs: People to clean the beach at Ocean Inlet Park the last Saturday of the month from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Supplies are provided. Free parking.
Requirements: Love the beach, able to walk the beach for two hours and carry about 20 pounds of litter.
Contact: Robyn Halasz at

Debbie-Rand Memorial Service League, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, 800 Meadows Road, Boca Raton. 955-4098;
Needs: People to act as hospital ambassadors. Duties could include assisting patients and staff on a nursing unit, raising funds for equipment and services, serving on an event planning committee, organizing children’s tours, helping with the pet therapy program or delivering flowers.
Requirements: No special skills are required; training is required.

Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, 800 Yamato Road, Suite 101, Boca Raton. 982-2943;
Needs: Save lives by recruiting donors, hosting donor drives, mentoring donors, speaking to the public about bone marrow donations, fundraising, organizing social events and helping with branding and social media.
Requirements: A desire to help spread the message that bone marrow donations save lives.
Other opportunities: Register and fundraise at the Steps for Life 5k Run/Walk on Jan. 13.
Contact: Jody Greenspon at 561-982-2900, Ext. 2926, or

Hospice by the Sea Inc., 1531 W. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton. 395-5031;
Needs: People to provide companionship and respite for patients and families in homes and facilities in Boca Raton.
Requirements: Age 18 or older, able to commit two to four hours each week, pass a background check and attend orientation and training.
Other opportunities: People are also needed for clerical/office support, pet visitation, helping out in Jack’s Café, the Sea Chest Thrift Shop and Camp Good Grief. Volunteers able to provide therapies like Reiki and massage are always in demand.
Contact: Michelle Williams, 416-5040 or

JARC Florida, 21160 95th Ave. S., Boca Raton. 558-2550;
Needs: The Jewish Association for Residential Care is looking for an art instructor to teach adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Requirements: Age 21 and older, able to commit one hour a week on Monday or Tuesday and pass a background check.
Other opportunities: People to teach enrichment activities like arts and crafts, cooking and gardening, sewing and knitting, foreign language, music teachers and song leaders, and people to supervise nature walks.

The Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center, On FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. 297-6261;
Needs: Volunteers for its day center providing socialization and mentally stimulating programs for people with mild to moderate dementia. Duties include meeting and greeting participants, one-on-one socializing, leading group activities, sharing musical abilities and assisting with programming.
Requirements: Be available during the center’s hours Monday through Friday.
Contact: Krista Landells, 297-0103.

Joe and Toni Mastrullo, part of the Care Ministry at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, take food to Pahokee and Belle Glade. The Coastal Star file photo

Boca Helping Hands, Remillard Family Resource Center, 1500 N.W. First Court, Boca Raton. 417-0913;
Needs: Front desk assistant, meal prep people, meal delivery drivers, staff for the food pantry and an ESOL instructor.
Requirements: Age 16 and older, able to attend volunteer orientations.
Contact: Email Melissa Keklik at 417-0913, ext. 206 or  

CROS Ministries, 3677 23rd Ave. S., #B-101, Lake Worth. 233-9009;
Needs: People to deliver meals to homebound.
Requirements: Time commitment of two hours one day per week, background check and clean driving record.
Other opportunities: Servers and prep help in weekday hot meal program at three sites; stocking and sorting help in its food pantries; weekday van drivers for pickups and deliveries; sorting/lifting/bending at Lake Worth warehouse; computer-savvy volunteers for check-in on Tuesdays and Fridays at food pantry in Lake Worth; gleaning volunteers are needed to comb the fields for usable produce. Times vary.
Contact: Shona Castillo, 278-0918,

Family Promise of South Palm Beach County, 840 George Bush Blvd., Building D, Delray Beach. 265-3370;
Needs: People to join the 1,200 volunteers who provide emergency shelter, meals and other assistance to homeless families. Duties include providing personal support, sharing job search tips, resume-writing.

Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County, 181 S.E. Fifth Ave., Delray Beach. 819-6070;
Needs: Volunteers to pound nails or paint, work alongside the construction staff, join in the Neighborhood Revitalization Program making repairs and improvements, help with family selection, provide clerical support or work in Habitat ReStores in Boca Raton and Delray Beach.
Requirements: Age 16 or older to work on the build site, 18 and older to use power tools or work on the roof. Volunteers age 14 and older can work with the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.
Contact: 819-6070, ext. 104;

The Lord’s Place Men’s Campus Boynton Beach, 1750 NE Fourth St., Boynton Beach. 494-0125;
Needs: Tutors for the job training program. Duties include participating in mock interviews and assistance with reading, writing, computer or other skills.
Requirements: Age 18 and older, submit an online application, pass an interview, and attend volunteer orientation.
Contact: David Rogers, 537-4676;

The Palm Beach County Food Bank, 525 Gator Drive, Lantana. 670-2586;
Needs: People to pack and sort food donations. Other options: Host a food drive or support special annual events like “Canstruction” and “Empty Bowls.”
Requirements: Available to work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon or 1-4 p.m. Age 14 and older, but kids 14-16 must be accompanied by an adult; one adult may supervise up to five kids.
Other opportunities: Church and civic groups and clubs are welcomed. 

The Soup Kitchen, 8645 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach. 732-7595;
Needs: People to prepare and serve meals.
Requirements: People who will show up consistently.
Other opportunities: Collecting donations of food and clothing, working with children, speaking to community and civic groups and assisting at special events.

SVF Care Ministry — St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, 840 George Bush Blvd. Delray Beach. 561-276-6892;
Needs: People to join the church’s Care Ministry by answering incoming phone calls, and collecting clothes, food and household items for churches in Belle Glade and Pahokee.
Requirements: A driver’s license and a desire to help.
Other opportunities: The church has other ministries working with children, the elderly, in the lending library, ministering to people who are ill or grieving.
Contact: If you have items to donate to the needy people in western Palm Beach County, call Joe Mastrullo at 445-1558. To volunteer, call the church.

ACTS Retirement-WillowBrooke Court, 6152 Verde Trail N., Boca Raton. 487-5200, ext. 51411
Needs: People who can sing or play an instrument to lead music sessions in a group setting or one-on-one with seniors.
Requirements: Age 15 and older.
Other opportunities: People to take residents outdoors for fresh air, card players, guest speakers, book reviewers or technology teachers.

Area Agency on Aging S.H.I.N.E. Program, 4400 N. Congress Ave., West Palm Beach. 684-5585;;
Needs: Counselors to speak with seniors and caregivers about Medicare and Medicaid services at its six locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach or from home by phone.
Requirements: Age 21 and older, able to commit 16 hours per month, pass a background check, attend orientation or training, and not be affiliated with certain businesses.
Contact: Jennifer Vander May, 684-5885, ext. 249.

Community Caring Center of Palm Beach County, 145 N.E. Fourth Ave., Boynton Beach. 364-9501;
Needs: People to join the Senior Care Program which helps people by shopping, delivering meals, picking up medications, providing respite care or taking someone to the doctor.
Requirements: Driver’s license, pass background check.
Other opportunities: Join the 2019 Spring Hunger Walk and 5K Run on March 9. Registration fee is $35.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, 21300 Coleman Blvd., Boca Raton. 852-3333;
Needs: Friendly people to visit lonely seniors in Boca Raton and Delray Beach.
Requirements: Age 21 and older, able to commit one hour a week or two hours twice a month, driver’s license, pass background check.
Other opportunities: Administrative and clerical support; drivers to take seniors to appointments; mentors for high school seniors, help with job skills. Training provided.
Contact: Nadine Greenberg, 852-3357;

Sunshine Telephone Reassurance Callers, 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, 415 Gator Drive, Lantana. 383-1112;
Needs: People to make friendly, cheerful phone calls to check on the well-being of homebound, disabled and seniors age 60 and older.
Requirements: Be available between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and able to travel to the Lantana facility to make calls.
Other opportunities: Community awareness volunteers to help out at outreach events in the community; Administrative and data input personnel with basic computer skills for light clerical tasks; Disaster volunteers who work during natural and man-made disasters.
Contact: Visit or

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, 4040 Esplanade Way, Suite 380, Tallahassee. 888-831-0404;
Needs: People to improve the quality of life for long-term care residents by advocating for and protecting their health, safety, welfare and rights. Duties include visiting with residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family-care homes to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect.
Requirements: A desire to work with seniors and people with disabilities, be available 20 hours each month, pass a background check paid for by the program, complete certification training, communicate well and attend a monthly meeting. Employees of long-term care facilities are excluded.

2019 Boca Raton Championship, The Old Course at Broken Sound, 1401 NW 51st St., Boca Raton. 241-4653;
Needs: Golf lovers who want to walk inside the ropes with the PGA Tour.
Requirements: Age 11 and older, available Feb. 4-10, able to work and walk for four to six hours, able to pay a volunteer fee of $65 for two golf shirts, hat or visor, volunteer badge, parking pass, four Good-Any-Day grounds tickets, lunch on the days you work and access to the volunteer party.
Contact: Ali Naugle.

Boca Raton Police Athletic League, 160 NW 24th St., Bay 17, Boca Raton. 302-0848;
Needs: Coaches and mentors for at-risk youth age 9-18, teaching alongside police officers.
Requirements: Age 16 and older, Able to coach/mentor between 2 and 8 p.m. for at least one hour per week. A one-year commitment is requested.
Other opportunities: Mentors to teach computer training and arts and crafts, to chaperone field trips and provide homework assistance.

Special Olympics Florida, 2728 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth. 966-7072;
Needs: Assistants to help with Palm Beach County Softball Invitational on Aug. 10 and the 2019 Area 10 Softball Tournament Sept. 28 at Countess de Hoernle Park aka Spanish River Athletic Facility, 1000 Spanish River Blvd., Boca Raton. Duties could include scorekeeping, escorting athletes, organizing awards.
Requirements: Age 15 and older or accompanied by an adult, complete volunteer form, provide a photo ID, and be available from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact: Dan Fawcett, 966-7017 or

More opportunities
If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, consider volunteering for an organization you already support financially, or ask your friends what they do. It’s always nice to have a buddy. And there are lots of online resources. Here are a few to check: The Community Angel Network of Palm Beach County —; Create the Good, community service, volunteering & charity work —; GiveGab nonprofit giving platform —; United Way of Palm Beach County —; VolunteerMatch —

Editor’s note: In most cases, these opportunities are for volunteers, and not for individuals seeking to fulfill court-ordered service hours, which have different restrictions.

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