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Volunteer Opportunities

Many Ways to Get involved

In 2018, our volunteers gave more than 123,800 hours to reach out a loving hand to a neighbor in need. Some helped out around the holidays. Some helped in the food pantry. Some helped as part of their work or school group.

There are many ways that you can volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul. Whether you would like to serve once, coordinate a group project or get involved on a regular basis, we are grateful for your time and talents.

(NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these volunteer opportunities are currently unavailable. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, please reach out to Rachel Nartker, our Volunteer Coordinator, to see what help is needed.)

Find something you’re interested in?

Great.

The next step is filling out our volunteer application.

 

Interested in going deeper?

Join a Conference, or become a mentor in our Getting Ahead program.

 

Still have questions?

Please contact Rachel Nartker, Volunteer Coordinator, at 513-562-8841, ext. 211, or rnartker@svdpcincinnati.org.

Individual Volunteer Opportunities

Food Pantry
Volunteers are needed during pantry hours (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to noon) to help stock the shelves, sort donations, and accompany neighbors around our choice food pantry. We have a special need during the week for volunteers who are available over lunch (11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.). Please note that neighbors receiving services from our pantry are unable to volunteer in this role. Contact Rachel for other available opportunities.

Help Line Advocate
Every day an average of 200 struggling neighbors call St. Vincent de Paul for assistance. We need volunteers to return calls and assist people through the application process. We ask for a two-hour time commitment per week, but the day/time is flexible during the hours that the Outreach Center is open (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. to noon).

Gardening
Volunteers are needed to help maintain our gardens by watering, weeding and harvesting.

Hospitality
Volunteers are needed to serve coffee to neighbors. For an added touch, feel free to bring a healthy breakfast/snack to make and serve those waiting for services.

Welcome Room Advocate
We have volunteer opportunities in our Welcome Room to engage with our neighbors who are seeking assistance, to holistically assess their overall situation, eligibility for assistance, and to provide St. Vincent de Paul assistance and referrals for resources from community partners as necessary.

Home Visits
Every Wednesday morning we send pairs of volunteers out into the community to visit the homes of our neighbors in need. These home visits allow us to better understand the needs of our neighbors and provide them help when necessary.

Thrift Stores
Volunteer help is needed each week to sort donations, create displays, straighten and stock shelves at our seven St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores. All our thrift stores have evening and weekend hours, so this is a great opportunity for individuals who work or go to school during the week.

Maintenance
Volunteers with maintenance experience are needed to do basic maintenance and facility upkeep at our outreach centers and offices.

 

Group Volunteer Opportunities

St. Vincent de Paul offers volunteer opportunities for school, business, church and family groups. To sign up your group or find out more about these opportunities, contact Rachel Nartker.

Hospitality
Small groups can bring in supplies to make breakfast/a light snack for our neighbors who are waiting for services at the Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center. Our Teaching and Hospitality Kitchen has two stoves and two microwaves, as well as mixing bowls and serving utensils. Volunteers can also serve coffee and pastries (provided by St. Vincent de Paul).

Food Pantry
Groups of less than 10 can sign up to help stock shelves and accompany neighbors around our Choice Food Pantry. Volunteer groups are needed daily from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Volunteers must be high school-aged or older in order to accompany neighbors around the pantry. Younger volunteers can push the shopping cart or hold bags for an adult volunteer.

Gardening
St. Vincent de Paul has a community garden where we grow fresh produce to distribute in our Food Pantry. During the warmer months, volunteers are needed to help maintain the garden by watering, weeding and harvesting.

Off-site Projects
We have a number of off-site opportunities that larger groups can participate in:

  • Hygiene Bags: Collect travel size hygiene items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) and put together hygiene bags for us to give out to our neighbors. These personal care items are a huge need for us because our neighbors cannot use food stamps to buy hygiene items and they’re not donated as frequently as other items.
  • Kids’ Bags: These are given to kids who are waiting for services with their parents. They could include a small snack (granola bar, fruit snack, etc.) and something to occupy the child (coloring page with crayons, Play-Do, a small toy, etc.).
  • Birthday Box: Collect and assemble bags with cake mix, frosting and candles for us to share with neighbors celebrating birthdays.
  • Recipe Kits: Collect items used to make a specific recipe and put the ingredients in a bag (recipe included) to be given to a neighbor (for example, a bag with a pie crust and pie filling or a bag with beans, tomatoes, spices and a recipe to make chili).

Annual Events

Our seasonal events and distributions require extra volunteer assistance before, during and after the event. We ask that volunteers sign up in advance so that we can be certain that we have the amount of help we need to facilitate these events.

 

“Prescription Fore Fun” Golf Outing & Wine and Bourbon Tasting
Join St. Vincent de Paul for our annual golf outing, and wine and bourbon tasting benefiting the Charitable Pharmacy. Volunteers are needed during the afternoon to assist with golfer registration, as well as in the evening to help with raffle sales, silent auction table monitoring, and registration for the wine and bourbon tasting.

RetroFittings
Thursday, October 19, 2020
RetroFittings is annual fashion show fundraising event featuring the designs of University of Cincinnati’s Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) program. Students from DAAP shop in any of the seven St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores with a budget of $50, turning items they find in the stores into runway fashion. RetroFittings also features an on-site boutique with items from SVDP thrift stores, as well as a silent and live auctions and raffles. Volunteers are needed in the following capacities: greeters, registration table, silent auction table monitoring, raffle ticket sales and guest escorting.

Event Planning Committees
Volunteers are also needed on the planning committees for these events, specifically to help solicit auction items and sponsorships. The golf outing, and wine and bourbon tasting committee meets monthly from March-July, and the RetroFittings committee convenes on a monthly basis from June-October. In addition to attending monthly gatherings , committee members are expected to solicit in-kind donations and/or sponsorships  between the meetings. If you are interested in a committee role and/or for more information, please contact Renee Berlon at rberlon@SVDPcincinnati.org or 513-562-8854.

 

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

St. Vincent de Paul hosts several coat, toy and food distributions throughout the holiday season. These programs would not be possible without the volunteers and donors who give their time, talent and treasure. Contact Rachel Nartker with any questions or to sign up to help.

Coat Distributions
Volunteers needed for registration, hospitality, sorting and stocking, as well as assisting neighbors as they pick out coats. Distributions are held at various locations.

 

Thanksgiving Food Distribution
Volunteers needed to sort, bag and carry food.  At the Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center.

Christmas Food Distribution
Volunteers needed to sort, bag and carry food. At the  Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center.

 

Angel Toy Distribution
Volunteers needed for registration, shopping assistance, watching children, carrying packages and wrapping presents. At the Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center.

Christmas Together
Volunteers needed in the morning to receive presents from sponsors and in the afternoon to load presents into the vehicles of the families receiving them. At the Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center. Help is also needed to receive presents from sponsors.

 

Looking for a more immersive volunteer experience?

Ozanam Center for Service Learning
The Ozanam Center for Service Learning offers day, weekend or weeklong immersion experiences that challenge participants to see those who are struggling not as “the poor,” but as neighbors. The Center custom designs retreats, offers both faith-based and secular retreats, and engages diverse individuals in service, education and reflection on spiritual values. Contact the Ozanam Center at 513-562-8841, ext. 231, or ozanam@SVDPcincinnati.org.

Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati
Rooted in St. Vincent de Paul’s mission and tradition, Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati is a faith-based, yearlong, residential service program. The program provides young professionals in their 20s an opportunity to grow in faith, friendship and service by giving deeply of themselves to their neighbors in need. To find out more about Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati, contact Charissa Qiu at 513-562-8841, ext. 239, or cqiu@SVDPcincinnati.org.

Join a Conference
The core of our Society’s work is done by more than 1,100 members in 56 St. Vincent de Paul Conferences across Hamilton County. A conference is a small group of volunteers, typically associated with a parish or school, who visit those in need to assess their situations and help however possible. For more information, please contact Margaret Rahn at 513-562-8841, ext. 234, or mrahn@svdpcincinnati.org.

Getting Ahead
The causes of poverty are many, and each individual’s story is different. Personal choices and decisions certainly play a role. Equally possible is that there is a combination of causes for their poverty: they may have a lack of support systems or role models, or they may have been exploited by the many businesses that prey on people in poverty. Lastly, they may be trapped by political decisions and policies that are far beyond their control. Looking at poverty as more than a financial condition is part of the “whole person” approach that St. Vincent de Paul takes. Integral to our mission are the face-to-face, one-on one relationships we create with those we serve. In this spirit, the Cincinnati District Council offers ongoing sessions of “Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World.”

This program, developed by Aha! Process, is a 15- to 20-week process that invites people in poverty to build the resources they need in order to create a more stable and prosperous life. Vincentians and Social Services staff recruit “investigators” for the program. These participants are individuals previously assisted by the Conferences or the Don and Phyllis Neyer Outreach Center. The curriculum focuses on four goals:

  • Accurately assessing where the investigator and family are right now in terms of resources and stability.
  • Evaluating what barriers exist that keep them “stuck” in poverty.
  • Educating themselves about resources that are available to them within themselves and in the community.
  • Creating a SMART action plan that uses those resources to meet individually identified needs.

Mentorship is another component of the program. Each investigator is assigned a Vincentian or volunteer mentor who follows up with them at least twice a month for six months after the conclusion of the program.

For more information, contact Sunnie Lain at slain@svdpcincinnati.org or 513-345-4966.