Information for Volunteers
There is a lot of information that volunteers should be familiar when when volunteering at the warming Center:
- What Our Volunteers Do:
- Volunteers are critical to the operation of the warming center. In addition to preparing the meals for our guests, our volunteers greet our guests (directing them to Salvation Army staff members who will register them), and generally help the staff the evening to run smoothly.
- How To Do It:
- First, you will need to be scheduled. To see which dates are available and schedule a time to be with us, visit TakeThemAMeal.com and log in (username/lastname: winter shelter. password: 3311) or contact Paige Howarth.
- On the evening you'll be joining us, your major role will be preparing and serving the food. It's impossible to know how many guests to expect, but we recommend preparing for eight people. If there are leftovers, the provided disposable plates and bags can be used to prepare a "to-go" plate for our guests.
- We also recommend bringing 12-24 individual beverages (soft drinks or water). Similarly, plan on leaving extras for the guests to take.
- Remember that our guests typically have no way to purchase food throughout the day, so any extra food or snacks that you can provide will be most helpful for them.
- Bring your own serving utensils. While we have paper plates, plastic utensils, and basic condiments available, there are no serving utensils.
- Bring your meal ready to serve. The center limited ability to reheat food. You will also need to bring your dirty dishes home to clean.
- The Warming Center is open daily from December through the end of February. We have needs for volunteers every day.
- Other Information:
- If no families show up on your night, be thankful that no one needs our services. But, please provide a meal for our staff member(s) who will need to be there regardless. Have a conversation with them, encourage them, and learn from them.
- Some examples of previous meals:Soup and sandwiches(pbj, ham, or gilled cheese (brought large plug-in grill surface)); stew and bread; chili and cornbread; lasagna and bread; spaghetti, salad and bread; pizza; chicken, potato salad & bread; sandwich platter with hoagie buns and chicken & rice soup; and meat loaf, potatoes and green beans. Canned fruit is also a good idea. Deserts like cobblers, ice-cream, cookies, doughnuts, canned fruit etc., would be a welcome treat. NOTE: Be aware that it is not unusual for children to have alergies to peanuts, so plan accordingly.
- Plan on serving the guests buffet style. Please serve the plates of our guests to control portion sizes, preventing too many people from handling the utensils, and to have more interaction with them. After all have eaten, offer to help our guests use the leftovers to prepare a meal for the next day.
- Giving Thanks: If you're comfortable, please plan on offering thanks by saying "Grace" during your time with our guests.
- Engage our guests: sometimes it can be hard to find things to talk about. Be interested in finding out their story by asking things like "Where did you grow up?", "What do you like to do?" Find something in common and talk with them about that.
- If you are delayed or unexpectedly unable to serve:
- Call the Center (803.324.5141) and let the Staff member know of your situation. If you can drop-off the food for the night, it will be most appreciated.
- Encourage others to serve NOW:
- Help others begin serving in this important ministry. E-mail your friends, give them our web site and and tell them about your service. Encourage them to e-mail us and volunteer to serve.
- Use the tools on this page to share this information on Facebook or Twitter.
- Simply, tell your story. Talk about your experience. That will do more to get people interested than you can imagine