Hearts for the Homeless relies on volunteers to help us carry out our programs.
Over the years, hundreds of volunteers have come through our doors. Our volunteers are men and women from diverse backgrounds with hearts to serve who give their free time to help in our thrift store; as well as, serve the poor and homeless through our mobile soup kitchen.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with Hearts please see the job descriptions below. Volunteer applications can be downloaded on this website. Once you have filled them out, you can send them back to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or USPS to Hearts for the Homeless, PO Box 437, Buffalo, NY 14223
Thrift Store Assistant
Volunteers in our thrift shop help with various day-to-day tasks in helping to maintain a tidy store; as well as, helping customers by answering their questions or getting merchandise requested that is not out in the store. Thrift Store hours are Monday – Saturday 10 am to 5 pm.
Daytime Kitchen Assistant
Daytime Kitchen volunteers assist Hearts’ cook to prepare sandwiches and hot meals that our Volunteer Mobile Crews distribute to our poor and homeless clients. Other tasks that a kitchen volunteer may be asked to do are package desserts, make up food bags, or organize the food pantry.
Evening Mobile Crew Member
Hearts has been feeding the homeless since 1990. We use 5 separate Mobile Crew Teams; each volunteer crew member goes out on the same night weekly. The Mobile Crew Teams meet at our center at 890 Tonawanda St. (Buffalo, 14207). Together the team travels aboard our shuttle bus that we call The Mobile Soup Kitchen and take already prepared food to the Erie County/Buffalo Library Downtown to serve the homeless and poor who will be waiting in line to receive their meal. Together we return to our Tonawanda St. address.
When the teams arrive, they work for about 15 minutes in the kitchen doing prep work (gathering food and items that will be distributed to clients). Once that is done, they drive downtown to feed the homeless and poor. In addition to food, we also hand out clothing, toiletries, and various other items that they need to get through each day. Different tasks you may be asked to do during our feeding process are distributing clothing, personal care items, or meals; administering the sign-in sheets for clients; or speaking with the clients – finding out additional needs or advising them on shelters, and other resources. All team members share in clean-up.
A complete volunteer job description for a Mobile Crew Member is below:
JOB TITLE: Evening Mobile Crew Member
REPORTS TO: Team Leader
- JOB SUMMARY
The Hearts volunteer:
- Should have a willing heart in obedience to God to feed and serve the homeless and poor.
- Be able to make a weekly commitment to serve out on the street with other team members.
- Must work well with other people.
- Is not afraid to encounter men, women, and children who may be dirty, have unpleasant odors, or suffer from mental illness.
III. JOB CONTENT or WORK PERFORMED
- Be willing to share your faith with those you encounter while out in ministry.
- Be an encouragement to the homeless and poor and always treat them with respect and kindness.
- Be able to submit to and follow the direction of your mobile crew leader.
- Help load supplies and meals into motor home from garage and kitchen.
- Assist the mobile crew leader in cleanup of the motor home and the street after a nightly run.
- If you see we are low on supplies in the motor home at the end of the night, list in the nightly crew report.
- Sign in and out in the volunteer log-book kept in the motor home.
- WHEN SERVING HOT MEALS, PLEASE KEEP THE FOOD PREP AREA IN THE MOTOR HOME CLEAN. (Example: If spill food on the floor, please clean it up as soon as possible).
- GLOVES ARE TO BE WORN WHEN SERVING FOOD TO THE CLIENTS. IF YOU CONTAMINATE YOUR GLOVES WHILE SERVING, please PUT ON NEW GLOVES.
STREET RULES: No food or beverages are to be eaten by any volunteers.
All food is for the clients only.
- DUE TO THE NATURE OF OUR MINISTRY AND THE PEOPLE WE SERVE, NO PERSON BETWEEN THE AGE OF 14 and 18 IS ALLOWED OUT IN MINISTRY UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY A PARENT OR GUARDIAN.
- NO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 14 WILL BE ALLOWED OUT IN MINISTRY.
- TEAM MEMBERS MUST TRAVEL TO THE CITY AS A GROUP AND STAY WITH THE TEAM AT ALL TIMES. YOU SHOULD NOT GO OFF BY YOURSELF FOR ANY REASON. IF YOU NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM, YOU MUST TAKE ANOTHER TEAM MEMBER WITH YOU. THE MOTOR HOME BATHROOM IS NOT TO BE USED.
- DO NOT OFFER ANY RIDES OR SERVICES OR MAKE ANY COMMITMENTS ON BEHALF OF Hearts for the Homeless®.
- EACH VOLUNTEER IS ASKED TO HELP WITH CLEANUP OF THE MOTOR HOME AT THE END OF THE NIGHT.
- VISITORS WITH THE TEAM ARE NOT ALLOWED OUT IN MINISTRY WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE OFFICE. IF SOMEONE WANTS TO ACCOMPANY A NEW VOLUNTEER WITH A TEAM, THE VOLUNTEER MUST BE WITH US AT LEAST ONE MONTH.
- YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO COME AS A VISITOR ONCE AND THEN, IF INTERESTED IN COMING OUT AGAIN, YOU MUST GO THROUGH NORMAL PROCEDURES.
- ALL TEAM MEMBERS MUST BE DRESSED MODESTLY. IN THE SUMMER MONTHS, WOMEN ARE ALLOWED TO WEAR SHORTS THAT ARE JUST ABOVE KNEE. NO SLEEVELESS SHIRTS ARE TO BE WORN BY WOMEN AND ALL MEN MUST WEAR SHIRTS.
- IN THE WINTER MONTHS, PLEASE WEAR WARM/WATERPROOF BOOTS AND LAYERED CLOTHING BECAUSE YOU MIGHT BE EXPECTED TO BE OUTSIDE WITH THE CLIENTS.
- PLEASE DO NOT BRING ANY PERSONAL BELONGINGS WITH YOU OUT IN MINISTRY (EXAMPLE: PURSE, MONEY).
- IN WINTER MONTHS, IF YOU TAKE YOUR COAT OFF IN THE MOTOR HOME, ALWAYS BE SURE TO PLACE IT IN THE BACK AREA OF THE MOTOR HOME OR IN THE BATHROOM THIS IS SO IT IS NOT GIVEN AWAY BY MISTAKE TO A HOMELESS PERSON.
- HELP CLEAN UP ANY GARBAGE THAT IS LEFT BY THE CLIENTS ON THE STREETS.
- THE DESIGNATED VOLUNTEER IS RESPONSIBLE TO FILL OUT CATEGORIES OF HOMELESS, MALE OR FEMALE, OR CHILD ON THE CLIENT NIGHTLY SIGN-IN SHEET.
EACH CLIENT IS ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR SIGNING HIS/HER NAME ON THE CLIENT SHEET. If the client is a child, just check the child box ONLY (not male or female). Be sure totals are accurate (Ex: male + female + child = 25). Use more sheets as necessary.
- WHEN DEALING WITH OUR CLIENTS, ALWAYS DEMONSTRATE KINDNESS AND COMPASSION.
- NO PERSONAL CONTACT IS ALLOWED WITH CLIENTS OUTSIDE OF MINISTRY. NO PHONE NUMBERS OR ADDRESSES ARE TO BE GIVEN TO THE CLIENTS. YOU WILL BE DISMISSED IMMEDIATELY, IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ADHERE TO THESE RULES.
- NO PHYSICAL CONTACT IS ALLOWED BETWEEN WOMEN VOLUNTEERS AND OUR MEN CLIENTS. ALSO, NO PHYSICAL CONTACT IS ALLOWED BETWEEN MEN VOLUNTEERS AND OUR WOMEN CLIENTS. FOR EXAMPLE: HUGGING IS NOT ALLOWED.
- NO WOMEN VOLUNTEERS ARE TO COUNSEL OR TALK AT LENGTH WITH THE MEN CLIENTS, UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY A MALE VOLUNTEER THE SAME RESTRICTION APPLIES TO OUR MALE VOLUNTEERS WITH WOMEN CLIENTS.
- NO MEDICATIONS ARE TO BE GIVEN TO THE CLIENTS ON THE STREET BY THE VOLUNTEERS (EXAMPLE: ASPIRIN, ETC).
- NO MONEY IS TO BE HANDED OUT BY ANY VOLUNTEER.
- ANY PROBLEMS, NEEDS OR CONCERNS THAT ARISE SHOULD BE TAKEN IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR TEAM LEADER.
- THE TEAM LEADER IS IN CHARGE ON HIS/HER DESIGNATED NIGHT AND WILL MAKE ALL FINAL DECISIONS WHILE OUT ON THE STREET.
PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE ANY NIGHT OR TIMES THAT YOU HAVE AGREED TO SERVE WITH OUR ORGANIZATION WITHOUT DISCUSSING CHANGES WITH THE OFFICE.
IF UNABLE TO REPORT ON YOUR ASSIGNED NIGHT, YOU MUST CONTACT THE HEARTS OFFICE, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (1 day’s notice, if possible) TO LET US KNOW; ALSO LET YOUR TEAM LEADER KNOW.
FOR THE GOOD OF THE WHOLE TEAM, ONE ABSENCE WITHOUT NOTICE TO THE HEARTS OFFICE UNLESS FOR SERIOUS REASONS, WILL INDICATE YOU ARE NO LONGER INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING AND WE WILL FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR YOU.
WE ARE PRIMARILY A MOBILE SOUP KITCHEN, REACHING OUT TO MEET THE IMMEDIATE NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS DURING THE EVENING HOURS, AND PROVIDING REFERRAL SERVICES FOR THEM TO AGENCIES THAT ARE OPEN DURING THE DAY AND CAN HELP THE CLIENTS WITH THEIR LONG-TERM NEEDS.
WE MUST REMEMBER WE ARE DEALING WITH THE MENTALLY ILL AND OTHERS WHO MAY HAVE VIOLENT CRIMINAL BACKGROUNDS. IF YOU DO NOT ADHERE TO THE ABOVE RULES, WE ARE SORRY, BUT WE WILL HAVE TO DISMISS YOU FROM OUR ORGANIZATION.
AS A VOLUNTEER, I AGREE TO FOLLOW ALL RULES SET FORTH ABOVE. I REALIZE THEY ARE FOR THE GOOD OF THE MINISTRY AND THE OTHER VOLUNTEERS.
Mobile Food Pantry Application
In partnership with FeedMore of WNY, Hearts Mobile Food Pantry is held every 4th Wednesday of the month at Hearts Outreach Center at 890 Tonawanda Street. The Mobile Food Pantry is an additional food resource for families in our community to use as a supplement to the food they receive from our onsite food pantry.
Hearts Harvest Food Pantry
Mobile Food Pantry Volunteers assist with everything pertaining to food distribution in a mobile setup. They help with the setting up and displaying of the food, assisting people with product decision, putting food in their carry bags, helping them carry food to their car, and clean-up and break down of the mobile pantry. Volunteers also spend time talking to those who are receiving groceries from our mobile pantry to encourage them, pray with them, and help them have a good day.