Volunteers Making a Difference

Service opportunities are available during the day or evening

The goal of the Volunteer Program is to support the mission of the Interfaith Community Shelter and to offer opportunities for volunteers to have meaningful and purposeful experiences with ICS and its guests. A volunteer’s presence brings fresh energy and enthusiasm to the guests. In addition to supporting services at ICS, volunteers act as liaisons between the Interfaith Community Shelter and the public.

After completing a volunteer form which includes a liability release statement and a confidentiality agreement, volunteers receive training from staff and other volunteers.


Available Volunteer Opportunities

Year-long service opportunities

Opportunities to Volunteer on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday Mornings. Download and complete the form to the right titled “Volunteer Information Sheet & Liability – Days”.

Prepare and Serve Weekday Lunches         9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Under the direction of the kitchen manager and following the food service guidelines, volunteers prepare and serve lunches.

Food Service Safety Guidelines
To assure the health and safety of our guests, there are several rules around food preparation we ask our volunteers to follow. We ask them to bring a Food Safety Checklist when they deliver donated meals, and ask them to review the Food Handling and Preparation rules.

Food Safety Checklist

Food Handling and Preparation

Community Closet               9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Volunteers help sort and organize donations and assist when guests are choosing items.

Showers                                9:00 am – 11:15 am
Clean and prepare the shower room for each guest and assure procedures are followed by the guests.

Seasonal night shelter service opportunities (open from mid-October to early May)

Host Group; 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Host teams are organized by faith and civic communities. Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied at all times by an adult or guardian. Eight to ten people donate, prepare and serve an evening meal for 125 guests. Members of the host team are asked to assist with checking in guests’ luggage and assigning sleeping bags. Download and complete the form to the right titled “Volunteer Information Sheet & Liability – Host Group”.

Core Team; 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Four to five people to check in guests each evening during the winter season under the direction of a volunteer team leader. Download and complete the form to the right titled “Volunteer Information Sheet & Liability – Nights”.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about volunteering. For other questions or additional information, call 505-795-7494. Or email interfaithsheltersf@gmail.com.


Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in having my community group volunteer at the shelter. Who do I call?

Please contact Sue Carr, our volunteer coordinator at 505-795-7494 or interfaithsheltersf@gmail.com.

Many community groups agree to provide meals and bring volunteers to serve the meals for one or more weeks during the Winter Season which begins in late October and ends the first week of May. These groups are called Host Teams. However, we realize there are many groups with smaller memberships who may only be able to help for one or more days. Your Host Team can be scheduled then on a mutually agreeable date with Sue, the volunteer coordinator. The Host Team can bring all the food needed or ask other members of their community group to provide some of the food.

What do the community group volunteers (Host Teams) do?

Host Teams are responsible for providing and serving cafeteria style the evening meal at 6:00 pm for up to 125 guests. Depending on the Host Team’s chosen menu that evening, food is either prepared at their homes (because of food safety regulations, warm food should be prepared no sooner than 4:00 pm) and brought to ICS or it is prepared in the kitchen at ICS. Food is brought to the shelter by 4:30 pm on each of the Host Team’s scheduled nights. Host Teams should bring 6 – 9 volunteers to work from 5:00 to 8:30 pm. Their duties will include heating and serving the food that they have brought and to help with cleanup. If there are enough volunteers in the kitchen, two or three volunteers may be asked to help at the intake area or with distributing sleeping bags to the guests.

What type of food and how much food is needed for 125 meals?

Host Teams are asked to provide 125 healthy, hot meals every night. A healthy meal should include a protein (meat, eggs or beans), one or more vegetables (salad is acceptable for a vegetable if there is more than just lettuce), carbohydrates (potatoes, rice or pasta). A dessert is appreciated by our guests, so please bring one!

Since most people don’t prepare meals for 125 people, the following will help Host Teams to know how much to bring.

The amount per serving is: 6 oz. of protein, 4 oz. of starch, and 4 oz. of vegetable.

And the total amount would be: 47 lbs. of protein; 32 lbs. of starch, and 32 lbs. of vegetable.

There are many Host Teams who prepare nutritious and delicious casseroles. If your menu is a main-dish casserole, please have two aluminum serving pans, size 12” x 20” x 3” (filled to at least 2”) or four aluminum serving pans, size 12” x 10” x 3” (filled to at least 2”). These aluminum pans can usually be purchased at larger supermarkets or retail warehouses like Sam’s Club.)

Does the Interfaith Community Shelter have pots and pans, bowls, serving trays and utensils for the Host Team to use?

Yes, the kitchen is stocked with all the preparation and serving utensils needed. There is a stove with 10 burners, two ovens, and a warming table from which the food can be served. And, food trays, soup bowls and flatware are also stocked. The kitchen also has some spices and condiments that you can use – but bring your own to be assured you have it for your recipe.

Will there be any ICS staff members at the shelter while we are volunteering?

Yes, all the time that Host Teams are volunteering, there will be shelter staff and long-term volunteers to assist with answering any questions and helping to solve problems that may arise.

Do you hold training for Host Team volunteers?

Yes, we have regularly scheduled training sessions throughout the year. Please check the volunteer calendar for dates and times or email Sue at interfaithsheltersf@gmail.com

We can also meet with your Host Team for an individual training, if you wish.

Will the Host Teams be able to meet and talk with the shelter guests?

Volunteers will be working in the kitchen during the first part of the evening, but will have many opportunities, if they wish, to talk with the men and women staying at the shelter.

I am not a member of any of the Host Teams volunteering at the shelter nor am I able at this time to coordinate a Host Team, but I want to help. What can I do?

We can always use an extra set of hands to help serve meals on a night when the Host Team is short-staffed. Please contact Sue for more information at 505-795-7494 or interfaithsheltersf@gmail.com.


Also, check the Volunteer page for additional volunteer positions at ICS. The Shelter depends on our volunteers and we greatly appreciate all you do!