I started volunteering at Mt. Paran shortly after I moved to New York because I was looking for a way to get involved in my new community. I continued volunteering because I enjoyed working with the other volunteers and talking with the guests. It was great to welcome the guests with a hot meal and in turn feel welcomed by them. -Heidi, volunteer, Mt. Paran Baptist Church
My grandmother's home was always open to people needing a bed, or a hot meal, or even just someone to talk to. For me, volunteering at the CAMBA BHS shelter means keeping my grandmother's hospitality alive, by opening my home to guests in need of comfort and peace for a night. I just wish I could duplicate her doughnuts. -Amy, volunteer, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue
I volunteer at the shelter because it is a way for me to give back to the society in which I live. It is a way for me to acknowledge that while this society provides me and many others with a reasonably comfortable life; it does not take care of everyone. Also, some people simply have a great deal of bad luck. My spending, from time to time, a night at the shelter may help only a little, but, as the saying goes, it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. -Gary, volunteer, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue
I really enjoy [volunteering at] the shelter. It gives me an opportunity to help others who are not as fortunate as myself. It makes me appreciate what I have in my life that other people may be lacking. We should all feel fortunate we have the lives we have… [and] realize that especially in today's economy, many people who lack resources could be there. -Julie, volunteer, Brooklyn Heights Synagogue
Respite Bed Main | Group Opportunities | Host a Respite Bed Site
A room full of beds is not a shelter unless dedicated men and women are there to cook dinner, stay overnight, get guests clean sheets, wash dishes, and lock up in the morning. Volunteers are the backbone of the Respite Bed Program and it cannot function without them.
The Respite Bed Program offers flexible, evening hours, comprehensive training, and a professional support network. There are two major volunteer positions: dinner hosts and overnight volunteers.
- Cook dinner for 6-20 homeless guests
- Serve and share camaraderie with guests
- Clean and help set up the site for sleeping
- Serve 2-5 times per month
- Have basic cooking skills (i.e. the ability to boil water and cut vegetables)
- Set up the site for the evening
- Welcome guests for the evening
- Spend the night
- Wake up guests and supervise morning clean-up
- Serve 1-4 times per month
If you are caring, dependable, friendly, and interested in helping other people you have all it takes to be a great volunteer.