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Hospitality Volunteers: The Volunteer Program at Joseph’s House & Shelter

What do our Volunteers do? Volunteers at Joseph’s House engage in many activities: kitchen work; housekeeping; laundry; office and computer tasks; gardening; maintenance; front desk duties; tidying pantries and storage areas; running a movie or games night for the families; or sleeping overnight when Inn from the Cold is operational in the coldest months of the year. During 2018, Joseph’s House volunteers began volunteering on the Outreach Van which tours Albany for 8 hours each day, handing out food, water and blankets to people staying outside in our state capital. Volunteers can help staff do this task on one of the 2 daily shifts: 2-6pm or 6-10pm. groups of volunteers will often participate in our weekend meals program, providing and cooking a meal and even serving and clearing away afterwards. The overnight, outreach van and meals program all use an online calendar for easy sign up.

For our hospitality volunteers who come in to see just what is needed that day, it often happens that a volunteer comes with a task in mind and another option crops up: to read a story to a child; to play a game of cards with someone; or to listen to a guest or tenant who needs to chat with someone who is not part of “the system.” Spending time with our guests, both adults and children, is a valuable use of your time. As one of our “Hospitality Volunteers” you will make our guests’ stay more comfortable as we work together to find them suitable and safe permanent housing.

Who are our Volunteers? Joseph’s House Volunteers are individuals who support our mission and respect what we do in the community. Some of our volunteers have been with us for many years and others will be with us for a set number of hours. Some volunteers may come in just one time with their fraternity, social or faith community group, and others will be regular visitors. The most important attribute of a great volunteer is that they bring their enthusiasm for working with those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Understanding the mission of Joseph’s House & Shelter, sharing a desire to be non-judgmental with our guests, and confidential about who is in our system and why they are here, covers most of the task! After that, we want only to find you a job to do with us, which you find fulfilling, and which furthers our mission to provide non-judgmental services to end homelessness.

Prospective volunteers will need to fill out an application form, meet the Volunteer Coordinator for an interview, tour and orientation prior to their first shift.