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Volunteer

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve….You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

More than 5,000 volunteers provide 15,000 hours of service to Xavier Mission each year!

Click on the tabs below for information on volunteering in each of our programs.

All Saints Clothing Room

  • Hours of Operation: 2nd & 4th Sundays, 9:30am–10:00am
  • Volunteer Shift: Every Sunday, 8:30am–11:00am
Sign Up Now!
Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to sign up to volunteer?

Yes, we prefer that volunteers sign up in advance with our volunteer coordinator to ensure that we have enough volunteers but not too many: if too many come, people often feel they aren’t needed and that they’ve wasted their time.  Please also note that we have the fortunate circumstance of being a very well-known volunteer site and that, especially during the school year, we often book weeks in advance.  It is best to schedule your volunteer date as far in advance as possible. 

I have to do community service. How do I sign up?

Volunteers who require an agreement or signature from Xavier Mission BEFORE beginning community service MUST speak with Christina first (cbowman@xaviermission.org).  All other volunteers can click the button above to signup.  Volunteers should bring all service verification forms with them on the day of service to be signed.  Xavier Mission can also provide a service verification letter if needed.

What will I be doing in the Clothing Room?

On the days of distribution (the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month), the shift begins with preparing the clothing room for service and continues with the distribution of clothing to our guests.  On non-distribution Sundays, the entire shift is devoted to sorting through the donations that have come in during the week.

Can I donate clothing?

Please see the All Saints Clothing Room program page for information about how to make a clothing donation.

Customer-Choice Food Pantry

  • Hours of Operation: 2nd Saturday of each month, 10:00am–11:30am
  • Volunteer Shift: 2nd Saturday, 8:30am–12:00pm
    • NOTE: Spanish- and Chinese-speaking volunteers are particularly needed!
    Sign Up Now!
Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to sign up to volunteer?

Yes, we prefer that volunteers sign up in advance to ensure that we have enough volunteers but not too many: if too many come, people often feel they aren’t needed and that they’ve wasted their time.  Please also note that we have the fortunate circumstance of being a very well-known volunteer site and that, especially during the school year, we often book weeks in advance.  It is best to schedule your volunteer date as far in advance as possible. 

I have to do community service. How do I sign up?

Volunteers who require an agreement or signature from Xavier Mission BEFORE beginning community service MUST speak with Christina first (cbowman@xaviermission.org).  All other volunteers can click on the link above to signup.  Volunteers should bring all service verification forms with them on the day of service to be signed.  Xavier Mission can also provide a service verification letter if needed.

What will I be doing at the Food Pantry?

Volunteers spend the first part of the morning preparing for the pantry by setting up tables, stocking food and clothing, and bagging vegetables and bread.  During food distribution, volunteers are assigned to a food group table where they assist the guests as they shop for those particular food items.  Volunteers may also be asked to assist with line procedures, registration, and clothing distribution.

What should I wear?

Be comfortable! T-shirts and jeans are fine.  Please do not wear:

  • T-shirts with inappropriate or offensive sayings, characters, pictures or designs
  • Tank tops, very short shorts/skirts, or shirts that expose your midriff.  We do not want anyone to attract any unwelcome attention.
  • Sandals or other open-toe shoes—every once in a while, cans of food are dropped!

We’ll provide gloves, which everyone working with food must wear.  

Can we volunteer as a group?

Yes!  The maximum group size is 10, unless the volunteer coordinator is short-staffed and makes the decision to allow a larger group.  Groups of teenagers under 17 MUST be accompanied by 1 adult for every 5 teens.

Group leaders should be prepared with contact information for each person in their group on the day of service.  Also, group leaders MUST give the volunteer coordinator a number where they can be reached on the day of service so that we can get in touch with you if you are delayed, etc.  If you do not have a cell phone, the volunteer coordinator can work out an alternate means of communicating with you on the day of service. 

Coughlin Shelter

  • Hours of Operation: Sunday–Saturday, 8:00pm–6:00am (following morning)
  • Volunteer Shifts:
    • Primetime: 7:45pm–10:00pm
    • Overnight: 10:00pm–6:15am (following morning)
    • The Primetime volunteer can do the Overnight shift as well but they must sign up for each shift separately.
    Sign Up Now!
Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to sign up to volunteer?

Yes, volunteers must sign up in advance so that we do not over or under book on any given night.  Volunteers must also be informed of all policies and procedures before volunteering for the first time.

I have to do community service. How do I sign up?

Volunteers who require an agreement or signature from Xavier Mission BEFORE beginning community service MUST speak with Christina first (cbowman@xaviermission.org).  All other volunteers can click on the link above to signup.  Volunteers should bring all service verification forms with them on the day of service to be signed.  Xavier Mission can also provide a service verification letter if needed.

What does a primetime volunteer do?

Primetime Volunteers open and prepare the shelter, welcome the guests, help to provide the meal items, socialize with guests and see all guests off to bed, then leave at lights out.

What does an overnight volunteer do?

Overnight volunteers arrive at some point during the primetime shift to assist the primetime volunteer, then remain at the shelter overnight, wake guests in the morning, set out breakfast, and oversee departure.

Do volunteers have to clean?

All volunteers assist in making sure the shelter is neat and orderly, including helping to re-stock food and supplies and doing a final pass-thru in the morning to check for cleanliness. Guests are expected to help keep the shelter clean as well.

Will I be volunteering alone?

All new volunteers are paired with an experienced volunteer—no new volunteers are expected to volunteer alone.  Overnight volunteers ideally work in pairs—couples and friends are welcome to volunteer together!

What should I wear to sleep?

Bring comfortable, appropriate clothing or pajamas to sleep in.

Do I have to stay awake all night?

Volunteers are not required to stay awake during the night; a cot and clean linens are provided for each overnight volunteer.

What are the guests like?

  • Up to 12 men are our guests each night. They arrive by bus from the Olivieri Drop-In Center to sleep in a safe and restful environment
  • Guests are 18 and older
  • Guests are carefully screened for health and behavioral problems and cleanliness at the drop-in center
  • Guests are not sent to the shelter if they severely lack personal hygiene, if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if they have a severe and persistent mental illness

Life-Skills Training & Empowerment Program

    • L-STEP Information: RachelxmLSTEP@gmail.com
    • Hours of Operation:
      • Spring Semester: March-June
      • Fall Semester: September-December
      • Tuesdays & Thursdays, 5:30pm-8:00pm
Volunteer Opportunities:

Facilitators

1-2 facilitators participate in semester prep, interview candidates, and attend and facilitate each session

Please view L-STEP Facilitator Role for more information about facilitating.

Mentors


Mentors attend seven Thursday night sessions over the course of the semester and work one-on-one with a participant on goal-setting & achievement.
Please view L-STEP Mentor Responsibilities and L-STEP Mentors: Things to Consider for more information about mentoring.  Also see FAQs regarding mentoring below.

Workshop Presenters

Workshop Presenters are skilled professionals who attend one scheduled session to present information on a topic relevant to the needs of the participants.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are the L-STEP participants similar to homeless people I see on the street?

No.  Homeless individuals living on the street are generally not in a sufficiently stable position to take part in the L-STEP program.  Our participants may have formerly lived on the streets (though not all have) but are currently being served by an outreach program such as a drop-in center that provides them with meals, showers, case management and housing placement.  They are transitioning from homelessness to housing.  Some participants may have a history of substance abuse and/or mental illness but are currently being treated for any active issues.  They must be free from drugs and alcohol for six months (if applicable) and over the age of 21.

For what length of time do you need volunteers?

It depends on the volunteer position you are interested in.  Some are for the length of the semester (workshop presenters, mentors and facilitators) and you could come back each semester.  The administrative positions are not semester-based and for the majority of these, we ask for approximately a year of time in order to maintain the stability of the program.  If you cannot commit to a year, please speak with Cassandra anyway to work out a possible solution.  We want to be as flexible as we can be without making more work for everyone.

If I can't volunteer my time, is there any other way to support L-STEP?

Of course!  We encourage you to consider financially sponsoring an L-STEP participant or making a general contribution to the program.  Please visit our Donate page for more information.  We also invite you to attend the Stepping Stones & Graduation ceremony to support our graduates as they share their stories and achievements with the community!  Please visit our Events page for details on the next Graduation ceremony.

Do I need to have previous mentoring experience?

No, first time mentors are welcome!

What qualifications do I need to have to be a mentor?

We look for the following characteristics in potential mentors:

      • Caring & compassionate
      • Ability to empathize with others
      • Currently in a stable living and working situation
      • Open-minded
      • Ability to reserve judgement
      • Ability to guide participants through a personal process
      • Ability to refrain from doing the work for the participant
      • Ability to refrain from giving unsolicited advice

Will I receive training to be a mentor?

Yes!  We provide a 4 hour mentor training prior to the start of each semester.  At this training, we will:

        • Provide you with information about homelessness and the population that L-STEP serves
        • Explain the history and arc of the program
        • Explain the goals and objectives of the program
        • Train you on skills such as active listening and motivational interviewing
        • Provide opportunity for role-play to practice these skills
        • Discuss the dos and don’ts of mentoring
        • Answer any questions you may have!

Our training has been crafted over several years, based on mentor feedback, to ensure that you receive the information necessary to feel comfortable in the role of mentor.

Welcome Table

    • Hours of Operation: Sundays, 12:45pm–3:00pm
    • Volunteer Shifts:
      • Meal Prep: Sunday, 8:30am–11:30am
      • Meal Service: Sunday, 11:30am–3:15pm
Sign Up Now!
Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to sign up to volunteer?

Yes, we prefer that volunteers sign up in advance with our volunteer coordinator to ensure that we have enough volunteers but not too many: if too many come, people often feel they aren’t needed and that they’ve wasted their time.  Please also note that we have the fortunate circumstance of being a very well-known volunteer site and that, especially during the school year, we often book weeks in advance.  It is best to schedule your volunteer date as far in advance as possible. 

I have to do community service. How do I sign up?

Volunteers who require an agreement or signature from Xavier Mission BEFORE beginning community service must speak with Christina first (cbowman@xaviermission.org).  All other volunteers can contact Christine directly at the email address above to schedule their service hours.  Volunteers should bring all service verification forms with them on the day of service to be signed.  Xavier Mission can also provide a service verification letter if needed.

Who can volunteer?

For the morning shift, volunteers of all ages are welcome.  For the afternoon shift, we require that volunteers be at least 14 years old.

What will I be doing at the Welcome Table?

The AM shift is meal prep for the 1000-1200 meals that we’ll be serving in the afternoon. You won’t be cooking  food.  Instead, you’ll be:

        • Pouring cups of juice, buttering slices of bread, chopping fruit and vegetables
        • Rolling utensils in napkins
        • Setting up and cleaning tables and chairs

The PM shift is the meal service.  You’ll be performing tasks such as:

        • Putting hot meal items (entrée, bread, juice, coffee, dessert, etc.) on trays
        • Working at food stations giving out extras—e.g., coffee, bread, water, etc.
        • Washing, rinsing, and drying trays
        • At 3:00, cleaning the tables and chairs and sweeping the floors

What should I wear?

Be comfortable! T-shirts and jeans are fine.  Please do not wear:

        • T-shirts with inappropriate or offensive sayings, characters, pictures or designs
        • Tank tops, very short shorts or shirts that expose your midriff.  We do not want anyone to attract any unwelcome attention.
        • Sandals or other open shoes—every once in a while, hot soup can spill.

We’ll provide full aprons, hairnets, and gloves, which everyone working with the food must wear; if you don’t want to wear a hairnet, you can bring your baseball cap, bandana, or some other type of hat.  

Can groups volunteer?

Yes!  For the AM shift, the maximum group size is 5.  For the PM shift, the maximum group size is 15, unless the volunteer coordinator is short-staffed and makes the decision to allow a larger group.  For the afternoon shift, all volunteers in the group must be at least 14 years old.  Groups of teenagers under 17 MUST be accompanied by 1 adult for every 5 teens.

What time should groups arrive?

For the AM shift, group leaders should arrive by 8:15am and team members should arrive by 8:30am.  For the PM shift, group leaders should arrive by 11:30am and team members should arrive by no later than 11:45am.  Even though we don’t start serving until 12:30, there are multiple tasks that need to be accomplished before we serve and we need our entire volunteer crew available to do so.

Please stress to your volunteers the importance of arriving on time and staying for the whole shift!

What else should I know as a group leader?

Group leaders should be prepared with contact information for each person in their group on the day of service.  Also, group leaders MUST provide a number where they can be reached on the day of service so that we can get in touch with you if you are delayed, etc.  If you do not have a cell phone, please contact us to work out an alternate means of communicating with you on the day of service.