Volunteering and Social Impact at Amherst

To make your impact experience more successful, we've created guidance for entering a new community and outlined the CCE's commitment to support as well as expectations of students representing Amherst in the community.

Current Opportunities

There are many opportunities to have an impact in the community beyond campus. Here we have created a short list of current, open volunteer opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to get involved locally. Over time, Amherst College has established long-term relationships with these organizations. We hope you will, too. 

A man wearing an apron speaks with a female student volunteer in a commercial kitchen.

Kitchen Volunteer

Organization: Not Bread Alone

Not Bread Alone seeks Kitchen Volunteers to prepare and distribute homemade meals at their Amherst location. Shifts are available on Saturdays and Sundays:  9am-12pm and 11:30am-2:30pm and Wednesdays: 12pm-4pm and 3:30pm-6:30pm. (Shorter shifts are available if need be; however, many choose to stay the full time, which is recommended when possible.)

Tasks may include: Setting up tables and chairs, bagging groceries (only on Saturdays), chopping vegetables, cooking, serving, sweeping, washing and drying dishes, mopping, general cleaning of the space, organizing food and cooking supplies, etc.

About Not Bread Alone
Location: First Congregational Church UCC Amherst, 165 Main St, Amherst, MA 01002

Everyone's welcome at our table. At Not Bread Alone, we prepare and enjoy family-style meals in a nurturing environment. It's a place to relax, refuel, and connect with others in our community.

Eating together builds social bonds. Without Not Bread Alone, many of our neighbors would be eating in situations or locations that are anything but welcoming or pleasant. Many of our guests are homeless or live in nearby subsidized housing. Every generation, from kids to seniors, is represented. 

Please consider joining our next gathering. Your helpful hands and smiling face will make all the difference in someone’s life.

Volunteers load bags of oranges into the back of a truck.

Community Resource Center Volunteer

Organization: Amherst Survival Center

Volunteers are the backbone of the Amherst Survival Center. The Center’s 250-plus weekly volunteers do everything from cooking and cleaning to providing medical care and stocking pantry shelves.

Volunteers are needed from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm on Monday, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm Tuesday and Friday, and from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm on Thursdays. Most people volunteer for one 3-hour shift each week. The Center is accessible by PVTA bus.

About the Amherst Survival Center
Location: 138 Sunderland Road, North Amherst, MA 01002

The Amherst Survival Center provides a welcoming community where families and individuals can come for food and access to other resources. Serving more than 6,000 people each year, all services are free and include a food pantry, to-go community meals, fresh food distribution, a warming center with computers for those experiencing homelessness, information & referral, as well as a variety of other support services. No one is turned away. 

An exterior view of a 2-story red-brick municipal building with a clocktower.

Municipal Government Volunteer

Organization: Town of Amherst

Appointment to a town board, committee, or commission is an opportunity to engage in authentic public service. There are over 30 active boards and committees in the Town of Amherst; each year committee and board vacancies are posted publicly to the town’s website. 

View the list of vacancies below, determine which municipal needs are most suited to your interests and experiences, and use the form on the site to apply for consideration by the appointing authorities. Many committees meet regularly, virtually or in person, and most terms are for 3 years. Appointed members should be aware of the commitments and responsibilities that go along with officially serving in municipal government. 

If you are interested in public service but unable to commit to serving a full term in town government, the Conservation Department also seeks volunteer support for trail maintenance, public shade trees and community gardens, energy and land conservation, and water protection on a seasonal basis. 

About the Town of Amherst
Location: Town Hall, 4 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA 01002

Incorporated as a township in 1759, the town of Amherst now functions as a Town Manager/Council form of municipal government in the state of Massachusetts. With a population of 39,000 residents, Amherst is the highest populated municipality in Hampshire County.

A young woman reads an illustrated book to two elementary aged children.


Organization: Five College America Reads and Counts

Reading and math tutors perform a valuable service to the community; their ongoing commitment to helping a child or adult learn to read, or helping a child learn math skills is relied on by local schools and agencies. Volunteer tutors gain valuable experience, and do impactful work serving the community’s children.

Orientation training sesssions are provided on site at Amherst College, as well as virtually, on multiple dates during the first half of each semester. Once training is complete, volunteer tutors commit to an ongoing relationship with a local school or organization. Extended trainings are required each semester for those who wish to continue their work as tutors; many students remain engaged with the program throughout their college career. 

Note: Students with federal work-study eligibility are able to be paid for their work in this rewarding program. Visit Student Employment on the Amherst College website for more information.

About Five college america reads / America Counts
Locations: Training on Five College Campuses and virtually, tutoring assignments at local public schools and private organizations

Enlisted students from Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have joined together in the America Reads/America Counts Program (ARAC) to help area schools and agencies serving elementary age children to obtain math and reading tutors at no cost.