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Volunteer

All volunteering is in Buffalo, NY

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Hearts for the Homeless® relies on volunteers to help us carry out our programs that serve the community.

Over the years, hundreds of volunteers have come through our doors to serve those in need. Our volunteers are individuals, families, businesses, churches, and community members from diverse backgrounds who generously give their time to help in our commercial kitchen, thrift shop, food pantry, mobile food pantry, mobile soup kitchen crews, and our food pantry express.

Volunteering at Hearts is a simple process where you can sign up to fill open slots below at any time. When you arrive at Hearts, a team member will give you the instructions for your shift and you’ll work alongside our team to make a difference in the lives of others!

If you are interested in signing up for a volunteer slot, see the volunteer calendars below. Time slots are sorted by our different programs and roles, so if you do not see a time slot available in one program’s volunteer calendar, feel free to check out another program’s calendar by scrolling down.

New volunteer opportunities open frequently, so check back often! 

For more information about volunteering at Hearts or to discuss any unique volunteer situations, please contact Skylar at (716)755-2426 or sshurr@heartsforthehomeless.org.

Mobile Food Pantry

Holiday Volunteer Sign Up

Hearts will have several ways for you to serve the community and make a lasting impact this season holiday season.

This year, we have several different opportunities for you, your family, or your group to help those in need this holiday season! Getting involved with Hearts Holiday Outreach can be a meaningful way to make a positive impact for our community this Christmas. We have two dates available for “Packing Christmas Care Packages”, to which you would fill stockings with toiletries, gloves and winter hats to be distributed. Additional participation is needed for “Christmas Care Package Distribution”, where you would distribute the stockings and prepared meals to the homeless.

Hearts Harvest Food Pantry - Buffalo, NY

Our new Food Pantry, Hearts Harvest Food Pantry, is a perfect opportunity to help Hearts serve our community. We have a variety of tasks to be done and volunteer vacancies to fill.

SHOPPER ASSISTANT

A shopping assistant gives personal attention to each shopper (client) guiding them through each food group area; they help the shopper select food fit for their family; advises on the number of items they are allowed to take from each food group; answers any questions about the food; and makes them feel comfortable.

STORE ASSOCIATE

As food truck deliveries from FeedMore WNY, vendors, and donations come in Hearts Harvest Food Pantry needs people to help restock and display the pantry shelves, and stock the perishables into the freezers and coolers.

Commercial Kitchen Assistant - Buffalo, NY

Kitchen volunteers assist Hearts’ cook to prepare sandwiches and 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, prep cooking, or organize the food pantry.

Thrift Shop Assistant - Buffalo, NY

Volunteers in our thrift shop help with various day-to-day tasks in helping to maintain a tidy store; as well as, sorting through clothing donations and houseware items, stocking racks and shelves and pricing items for Hearts Thrift Shop.

Thrift Store hours are Monday – Saturday 10 am to 5 pm.

Evening Mobile Soup Kitchen - Buffalo, NY

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 Street, Buffalo, NY 14207. Together the team travels aboard our shuttle bus that we call The Mobile Soup Kitchen and take already prepared food to the Buffalo & Erie County 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.

JOB TITLE:  Evening Mobile Crew Member

            REPORTS TO: Team Leader

  1. JOB SUMMARY

The Hearts volunteer:

  • Should have a willing heart to feed and serve the homeless and poor.
  • 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 bus and the street after a nightly run.
  • If you see we are low on supplies in the bus at the end of the night, list in the nightly crew report.
  • Sign in and out in the volunteer log-book kept in the bus.
  • Temp logs: Please remember to fill out the temperature log.  Please note the date, temp, and what the meal is.  Every meal should temp at least 165 degrees.
  • Please remember to put the containers with the meal bags for the next serving day in the cooler.

FOOD PREPARATION

  1. 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).
  2. MEAL BAGS, All of the meal bags that contain the drink, cookies, and spoon can ALL be given out.  We do not need them to come back at this time as we have lots of drinks.  This may change, but we’ll keep                      you informed.
  3. FILL OUT STAT SHEET. There are new stat sheets on the bus.  They are a bit different, and 2 sided.  Please complete them as indicated, front and back.  We will assume the age category is an adult (18-59) unless indicated.  There is no longer a need to complete a crew report, as that is the info on the back of the stat sheet. PLEASE FILL OUT ONLY THE 28 SPACES.  IF YOU HAVE 29 OR MORE PEOPLE, PLEASE USE A NEW SHEET.
  4. GLOVES ARE TO BE WORN WHEN SERVING FOOD TO THE CLIENTS. IF YOU CONTAMINATE YOUR GLOVES WHILE SERVING, please PUT ON NEW GLOVES.
  5. FEEDBACK ON MEALS. As we try out new meals, please try to get some feed back, did they like it? Did they hate it?  Is there something that they’d like to see come down for dinner?  The vague answers of “no one complained” or “people asked for seconds” aren’t really helpful.  We try to come up with new and different ideas of meals to send down, and it helps the cook to know that works and what doesn’t.  Any sit down restaurant I’ve ever been to, I’ve always been asked for feed back, and we’d like our guests to feel the same.

STREET RULES: No food or beverages are to be eaten by any volunteers.

All food is for the clients only.

VOLUNTEER

  1. 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.
  2. NO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 14 WILL BE ALLOWED OUT IN MINISTRY.
  3. 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. 
  4. DO NOT OFFER ANY RIDES OR SERVICES OR MAKE ANY COMMITMENTS ON BEHALF OF Hearts for the Homeless®.
  5. EACH VOLUNTEER IS ASKED TO HELP WITH CLEANUP OF THE MOTOR HOME AT THE END OF THE NIGHT.
  6. VISITORS WITH THE TEAM ARE NOT ALLOWED OUT IN MINISTRY WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE OUTREACH PROGRAM MANAGER.
  7. YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO COME AS A VISITOR ONCE AND THEN, IF INTERESTED FILL OUT A TIME SLOT AT WEB-SIGHT AT HEARTSFORTHEHOMELESS.ORG.
  8. 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.
  9. IN THE WINTER MONTHS, PLEASE WEAR WARM/WATERPROOF BOOTS AND LAYERED CLOTHING BECAUSE YOU MIGHT BE EXPECTED TO BE OUTSIDE WITH THE CLIENTS.
  10. PLEASE DO NOT BRING ANY PERSONAL BELONGINGS WITH YOU OUT IN MINISTRY (EXAMPLE:  PURSE, MONEY).
  11. 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.
  12. HELP CLEAN UP ANY GARBAGE THAT IS LEFT BY THE CLIENTS ON THE STREETS.
  13. THE DESIGNATED VOLUNTEER IS RESPONSIBLE TO FILL OUT CATEGORIES OF HOMELESS, MALE OR FEMALE, OR CHILD ON THE CLIENT NIGHTLY SIGN-IN SHEET.               

CLIENTS

  1. WHEN DEALING WITH OUR CLIENTS, ALWAYS DEMONSTRATE KINDNESS AND COMPASSION.
  2. PHYSICAL CONTACT IS NOT RECOMMENDED BETWEEN VOLUNTEERS AND CLIENTS OF THE OPPOSITE GENDER.
  3. NO MEDICATIONS ARE TO BE GIVEN TO THE CLIENTS ON THE STREET BY THE VOLUNTEERS (EXAMPLE: ASPIRIN, ETC).
  4. NO MONEY IS TO BE HANDED OUT BY ANY VOLUNTEER.
  5. ANY PROBLEMS, NEEDS OR CONCERNS THAT ARISE SHOULD BE TAKEN IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR TEAM LEADER.
  6. THE TEAM LEADER IS IN CHARGE ON HIS/HER DESIGNATED NIGHT AND WILL MAKE ALL FINAL DECISIONS WHILE OUT ON THE STREET.

ATTENDANCE GUIDELINES

PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE ANY NIGHT OR TIMES THAT YOU HAVE AGREED TO SERVE WITH OUR ORGANIZATION WITHOUT DISCUSSING CHANGES WITH THE OUTREACH PROGRAM MANAGER.

IF UNABLE TO REPORT ON YOUR ASSIGNED NIGHT, YOU MUST CONTACT THE OUTREACH PROGRAM MANAGER, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (1 day’s notice, if possible) TO LET US KNOW; ALSO LET YOUR TEAM LEADER KNOW.

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 ALSO RUN A FOOD PANTRY TWICE A WEEK FOR ANYONE LIVING IN THE 14207 AREA CODE.

WE MUST REMEMBER WE MAY BE DEALING WITH THE MENTALLY ILL AND OTHERS WHO MAY HAVE VIOLENT CRIMINAL BACKGROUNDS. IF A FIGHT OR HEATED ARGUMENT BREAKS OUT DO NOT INTERVENE. CONTACT LOCAL AUTHORITIES IF NEEDED.

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.

Monthly Mobile Food Pantry - Buffalo, NY

Mobile Food Pantry volunteers assist with everything pertaining to food distribution in a mobile setup. They help with setting up and displaying of the food, assisting people with product decisions, 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 to encourage them, pray with them, and help them have a good day.

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.

Food Pantry Express - Western New York

Hearts Food Pantry Express is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2022! Click here to learn more about this new program.

We will need volunteers at both of our site locations in the future and we will upload the volunteer slots below. If you are interested in learning more about future volunteer needs for Hearts Food Pantry Express, please contact us at info@heartsforthehomeless.org.

 

Volunteer Opportunities Coming Soon!