Chapter 2: Community Service

Community Service in Gainesville exists in three main areas! There are places where you can help underprivileged and impoverished people, places to help displaced and abandoned animals, and places that assist your mental and physical care!


Community Service for the Impoverished and Underprivileged

St. Francis HouseThe most well-known center in Gainesville that cares for homeless citizens of the city. St. Francis House offers a kitchen for people to cook their own food and a cafeteria for those that cannot purchase food. They do not allow more than one meal a day per person, per the number of cafeterias available throughout the city. More importantly, the House offers showers, a career closet, job application services, and an address that can be used for employment and tax purposes. I personally have volunteered here before, and it provides an enlightening view of Gainesville and the people who reside here.

  • 413 S. Main Street, Gainesville FL 32601
  • (352) 378-9079


Habitat for Humanity: Construction organization that is based on the belief that everyone deserves and safe and secure home, regardless of political belief, race, ethnicity, class, gender, or age. They will work with volunteers and professionals to provide a home for the less fortunate regardless of their adherence or nonadherence to a faith. Even if construction is not your thing, they offer a wide variety of volunteer options from clerical work to interactions with families being served!

  • 2630 NW 41st St., C-3 Gainesville FL 32606
  • 352-378-4663


Food4Kids Backpack Program: Based on the idea that chronically hungry children are difficult to identify, and that those who have are often able to help those who don’t have. The Backpack program through Food4Kids offers a chance for you to donate, volunteer, and work with chronically hungry students within the Alachua County Schools. Volunteers exist in all forms and they accept any help they can get!

  • Locations vary throughout the county, and can be found on the website!
  • 352-514-0281


Field and Fork Campus Pantry: Struggling to afford, find, and keep track of meals can be a burden on students, and it’s one that the University sought to fix through the creation of the Field & Fork Campus Food Program. The Pantry is open to any student with a valid UFID and is a free service! They ALWAYS need more canned donations, and I encourage you to visit in your first few weeks here to see what the needs are! Hours differ by day, and are dependent on campus events!


Community Service for the Animals of Alachua County

Alachua County Humane Society: Offers volunteer opportunities for those who need animal science experience to work with animals that do not have homes. There are no minimum requirements, and they often partner with UF and the veterinary college. They require a $20 fee that comes with training, a t-shirt, nametag, and offer scholarships for those that cannot afford.

  • 4205 NW 6th Street, Gainesville FL 32609
  • Requires an application and payment of the volunteer fee.


Gainesville Pet Rescue: A non-profit organization that pledges to provide a home for any animal that is taken into the adoption program, regardless of the amount of time that they stay in the program. Their goal is to work in tandem with city officials to end Gainesville’s current policy allowing euthanasia and to create a “no-kill” zone within the city limits to start. Volunteers must be over 18 years of age and have to fill out an application and attend Orientation.

  • 5403 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville FL 32608
  • 352-692-4776


Operation Catnip: Goal is to “set the bar” on a large scale, low cost, spay/neuter program for free-ranging cats. They also provide opportunities for feral cats to receive vaccination and make it more likely for these animals to be accepted into good shelters and eventually adopted. One of the more specialized programs within Gainesville city limits, they offer volunteering positions to anyone over the age of 18, with certified rabies vaccinations. This high level of specialization also comes with one of the most expensive opportunities to volunteer, expenses are listed on the website.  They have a three step process where you 1) Fill out the application 2) Select what position within the clinic in which you would like to volunteer and 3) Complete the training for the said position.

  • P.O. Box 141023, Gainesville FL 32614
  • Or contact through the Alachua County Humane Society


Community Service for Mental and Physical Health Care

Alachua County Crisis Center: Offers 24/7 phone counseling for those struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions within Alachua County. The Crisis Center serves over 50,000 calls a year and is staffed all hours of every day, including holidays. ACCC offers volunteer and paid positions within the organization, to promote and support those who suffer from mental health problems.

  • 218 SE 24th Street, Gainesville FL  32641
  • 352-264-6789


Arts in Medicine Program: A program that unites the College of the Arts and the College of Medicine to alleviate medical ailments through different art forms such as painting, music, and performances of all kinds. One of the premier interdisciplinary programs /in the nation, the work performed by Arts in Medicine has helped to form a framework for similar. programs to be created around the world. Most outreach opportunities exist in the form of certification or completion of a degree, but they also offer outreach and shadowing through the program!

  • Shands Hospital
  • 352-273-1488


ARC of Alachua County: ARC specializes in creating an environment that provides gateways to independence for adults with developmental disorders, many of them would force people to remain in the care of their parents. ARC wants to help integration into the working, social, and relational world be as smooth as possible, and for the residents to find happiness in every aspect of their life. Volunteers for the ARC program are offered many different opportunities to serve the community, and no matter your strong suit you can find a place to help. All that’s needed is a volunteer application with your preferences selected from their website!

  • 3303 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville FL 32606
  • 352-334-4060


Camp Boggy Creek: The idea for Camp Boggy Creek came from the notion that the word “no” was said too much to children suffering from severe and often terminal illness. The Camp is a place where children who suffer from terminal and severe illnesses can build strong bonds of friendship and camaraderie, while still receiving expert medical care. Camp Boggy Creek serves children year round, and never asks anything of its attendees except that they bring a loving and optimistic outlook for the experience. Volunteering for this organization is one of the more intense processes available to UF students, but also one of the most rewarding. For a complete list of requirements, see the website!

  • 30500 Brantley Branch Rd, Eustis FL 32736
  • 352-483-4200


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For Students by Students: Guide for UF Freshmen by University of Florida is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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