get involved helping families facing homelessness
We need volunteers to help keep families safe and supported at our shelter. Together we provide more stabilization and resources to help families overcome homelessness.
The success of the FPLC mission depends on the efforts and enthusiasm of hundreds of volunteers. They perform the variety of tasks necessary to provide a safe and comfortable temporary home for their guests. Volunteers express their hospitality be interacting with guests, treating guest families with dignity and respect, and showing genuine concern for their well-being. Without volunteers, FPLC could not serve families in our community facing homelessness.
Community members can get involved directly with families in need at Family Promise by contributing in the following ways:
Make meals & eat with families
Prepare breakfast and snacks
Stay overnight as a support person at the shelter
Provide hospitality, help & company
By signing up to volunteer at FPLC, you are making a commitment to a task and time that serves a family in need. Orientation and training is required prior to onsite volunteer service. Select a tab below to learn more about different volunteer opportunities as a host.
All volunteers who will be responsible at the shelter when staff members are not present are required to go through an Orientation Training. Details will follow after signing up!
Here are a few of our volunteer reminders:
External door is to remain locked at all times for the safety of our families, staff and volunteers.
Volunteers should not proselytize, exchange personal contact information with guests, “friend” current or former guests on social media.
Volunteers should limit self-disclosure and not take sides in arguments between guests if they occur.
Volunteers should show respect for guests’ time, property, opinions, parenting style, and culture. Being hospitable means not being judgmental and accepting differences without assigning a value judgment to those differences.
Volunteers should respect the personal space of families, and not enter sleeping or private rooms without knocking or calling loudly and receiving permission to enter.
Volunteers are encouraged to help find job leads, housing opportunities, and other resources for guests; however, all such leads and connections must be offered through the Case Manager, not directly from volunteers to guests.
The Case Manager is responsible for goal setting, referrals to appropriate local resources, etc. Volunteers must respect this relationship and avoid overstepping boundaries.
Volunteer questions? Contact us for more information.
The needs and desires of each family varies, and this task requires willingness to exercise a lot of flexibility.
Different time slots needed to help families with hospitality:
6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Mornings
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Afternoons
5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Evenings (If Dinner Host Volunteer can only supply dinner but not stay)
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Weekends (Same time slots as the weekdays are also needed: Morning, Afternoon, Dinner / Evening, Overnight)
Typical activities with small children and families may include:
Play Games or Puzzles
TV / Movies
Help with Homework
Coloring / Crafts
Cleaning Common Areas (i.e. Kitchen, Laundry)
We ask for Hospitality Host Volunteers be friendly, approachable, helpful to guests when asked, but not invasive.
Dinner hosts make dinner for FPLC guests (1-2 families) and sit down to eat a meal with them. This shift typically runs from 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
You may use the kitchen at FPLC to cook on site, or bring in meals you have prepared in advance.
Dinner hosts arrive at 5:00 p.m., but could arrive sooner if needed, with prior coordination.
Plan to serve the meal at 6:00 p.m. if possible as we like to keep a routine rhythm for the families when we can.
Dinner is informal. Typically we serve buffet style, and sit at a common table.
We have real plates and flatware, as well disposable, and you may use either as it best fits your meal.
We have a commercial dishwasher that is very fast for cleanup.
Family guests can help with cleanup (even preparation if they show interest).
Please mark and store leftovers in the refrigerator. They will be consumed.
Give the Volunteer Overnight Host(s) a quick summary of how the evening went, and issues of which they may need to be aware.
After dinner is a period for family and personal time (i.e. Showers, Laundry, etc.), as well as preparation for the next day. Some days the families just need space. Do not be hurt if they are not open that day to your willingness to be there. We ask Dinner Host Volunteers to stay at the shelter as a resource to the family until the Overnight Host Volunteer(s) arrive by 8:30pm.
Overnight Host Volunteer(s) are expected to arrive by 8:30pm and stay at the shelter until 6:00AM.
The Dinner Host Volunteer(s) should brief you on how the evening went with the FPLC family guest.
Tasks for the Overnight Host include:
Spend the night in the church while the families retire and sleep.
Monitor family as needed.
During your training you’ll be notified of what to do in an emergency.
You will have your own private room to sleep, but we ask for you to bring your own sleeping bag and / or linens.
Optional to prepare breakfast for families. “Grab and go” type meal are available to them in the mornings.
View Current Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers prepare meals, serve as hospitality hosts, coordinate activities, organizes supplies, and assist guests as needed. Volunteers are adults from the local community.
What is a typical day of a FPLC family guest?
6:00 a.m. Families rise, dress, eat breakfast
7: 30 a.m. Families typically depart for the day
Parents are at work, seeking work, seeking housing or working with FPLC case manager
Children head to school or day care as appropriate
5:00 p.m. Families typically return to the shelter from work or school
6:00 p.m. Dinner is served to families and volunteers
6:30 p.m. Family time, socialize with hosts, homework, TV, games, etc.
8:30 p.m. Overnight hosts arrive
9:00 p.m. Lights out / quiet time (often happens earlier)
10:00 p.m. Doors locked for the evening
Do I have to commit to x days/weeks to volunteer, or can it be one time?
There is no minimum days a volunteer or group needs to commit to, and volunteers can sign-up for ongoing commitments or one-time.
Family Promise volunteers can have a lasting impact on a family’s life without making a huge time commitment. One-time volunteer opportunities – such as helping at a special event or participating in a supply drive – exist and work well for those with full schedules. There are also plenty of opportunities for volunteers who are available to make a more long-term, regular commitment.
Will I receive volunteer training?
Family Promise wants every volunteer to feel comfortable, so we do offer training. Volunteers directly working with our families are required to go through an orientation. Additional training, tailored to the specific volunteer project, will also be provided.
How do I know what meals to make for families?
In addition to providing you details (i.e. Size of family) and suggestions, we will also indicate if a family has any dietary restricts for a meal.
As a reminder, we ask volunteers providing a meal, to also provide company to the family and enjoy the meal together.
Can I just donate items like snacks?
Absolutely. We are fortunate to also have access to a food pantry where snacks and “grab-and-go” type breakfast items are needed. Donations to the food pantry can be dropped off at FPLC or St. Stephen’s church. Contacting us in advance is helpful to meet you at our locked door that helps keep families protected.
What is involved staying overnight with families at the shelter?
Volunteers who stay overnight will first have a training opportunity to shadow another volunteer or staff member.
Staying overnight includes being a resource to the family if they have questions and ensuring the outside doors remain locked at all times to ensure the safety of our guests.
Overnight volunteers will have their own private room, but we we ask you to provide your own sleeping bag and/or linens.
The overnight shift typically runs from after dinner time, about 8:30pm-6:00am.
What do I do to provide hospitality, help and company as a volunteer?
Most of the year, children are in school during the day. If not, we ask for volunteers to help come entertain them so parents can use the time during the day to help get them back on their feet.
During the day, parent(s) are expected to work on getting back into a home by making progress on tasks like job searches, financial education, etc. Families have identified goals with FPLC and our case manager will work with them regularly to achieve their needs.
Hospitality can sometimes be as simple as a friendly conversation with another community member, or helping with cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc.
Can my company/organization/faith-based community sign up as a group?
YES! Many of our volunteer base consists of organizations such as faith-based communities. We encourage groups to sign up to help provide more consistency and stabilization to families.
Groups sign up for X days and coordinate volunteers and tasks. Your group can commit to ongoing or one-time volunteer tasks and/or days.
What happens if I something comes up, and I can’t follow through with my committed task or time slot?
It happens! We kindly ask you notify our staff as soon as possible to help with accommodations and find replacements.
Volunteers can also proactively indicate if they are able to help be a substitute if an emergency occurs. When a last minute need occurs, you will be contacted on our email list for help if you’re available.
I’ve helped in the past in the rotation model, what is different now?
Prior to COVID-19, FPLC had a “Rotational Model” that consisted of different hosts who housed families in need at their location. In the past, these generous organizations not only hosted families, but took on all the tasks involved with it.
To respectfully provide more safety with potential exposure to COVID-19, and stabilization to families during hardships, we built two shelter rooms at our location. If there is ever an overflow, we will reach out to those same faith-based organizations for help and placement.
We’re still serving families in the same way, it just looks a little different. Having a shelter at our location also helps reduce some of the tasks volunteers provided in the past such as transportation, setup and clean up.
Now, volunteers can focus on the heart of directly serving families with their everyday needs: meals, conversation, company and support.
You can make a difference!
“Gloria Dei supports and partners with Family Promise because we continue to share the same care and passion for providing shelter and support to children and their families experiencing homelessness. People who volunteer for Family Promise are giving their time to provide safety, welcome, meals and resources for families to achieve stable housing. For me, Family Promise’s strength is it is meant to be a community effort.” -Pastor Trish Decker, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
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Family Promise is completely supported through the generosity of people like you. Thank you.