Volunteer with Us

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Sharing some of your time with PIHN is one of the most valuable gifts you can give us.  You do not have to be part of a congregation to volunteer your time and services to PIHN. Depending on your area of expertise, you could:
Become a coordinator for your congregation:
The coordinators serve as the key congregation contact with our staff for the hosting period. They recruit volunteers from their congregation to provide meals and companionship to the families. They also coordinate preparations to welcome and orient the families to their congregations. The majority of the work is done two weeks prior to hosting. This job requires an organized person and can be shared with a small committee. The coordinator will be fully trained and supported by the PIHN staff. This work is only required two to three times a year and based around your schedule.

 

Cook a dinner for our families:
Volunteers prepare a dinner at home and bring it to the hosting congregation by 5:30-6:00 p.m. Dinner cooks are informed by the coordinator how many people will attend the dinner, usually about 10-14 people, including the host volunteers. Please keep the meal simple–something appropriate for children and unadventurous eaters. If someone else is serving the dinner, please leave heating/serving instructions. Beverages and condiments are already at the congregation.

 

Host a meal and provide companionship after dinner:
The host volunteers share the meal with the families and provide companionship after dinner until the overnight host arrives at around 8:30 p.m. Volunteers are welcome and encouraged to bring their own families and an after-dinner activity for the children, like books, games, and art projects. This is a general timeline for the evening:
  • Arrive by 6:00 p.m.
  • Heat up dinner and set the table, or give instructions for guests to do so.
  • Eat dinner with the families from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (Set aside portions for latecomers)
  • After dinner, oversee dishwashing and kitchen cleanup, which is done by the families.
  • Spend time with the families after the meal, talking or doing fun activities.
  • Children should be in bed by 9:00 p.m.
  • Call your congregational coordinator or the PIHN on-call staff if the overnight host does not arrive by 8:45 p.m.

 

 Stay as an overnight host:
The overnight hosts spend the night in the overnight host room at the congregation and ensure that the families are comfortable and safe. In the morning, the overnight hosts supervise the families as they leave and secure the building. Overnight hosts are linked by phone to the PIHN on-call staff. Some guidelines for the overnight host:
  • Please bring your own sheets, blanket, pillow, and alarm clock.
  • Arrive before 8:30 p.m. Children should be in bed by 9:00 p.m. All common areas should be quiet by 11 p.m.
  • Depart 7:00 a.m. weekdays or by 9:00-10:00 a.m. when the last guest has left the congregation. Call your congregational coordinator or the PIHN on-call staff if you need to leave before the last guest has left the congregation.

 

Volunteer to food shop:
These volunteers stock up the kitchen with breakfast, lunch and snack foods before the hosting period. They also check in with the families mid-week to ensure that there are enough staple food items. The guests compile their shopping list for you. The cost of this food is covered by the congregation, or by PIHN.

 

Drive families to the laundromat:
This volunteer drives the families to a nearby laundromat as needed, usually once a week. The volunteer works with the coordinator to arrange a convenient time.

 

Become a mentor:
The mentor commits to at least one phone call a week and one in-person meeting a month. Mentors have helped heads of households with specific needs such as organizing a new home, grocery shopping and learning how to prepare meals, and making important purchases. Mentors have also helped children and youth with schoolwork and recreational outings. Mentors are usually assigned based on their skills and interests as matched with families’ needs. Our Director of Family Services will serve as your guide and support and will provide any additional social services help as necessary.

 

Fundraising:
PIHN relies on grants and fundraising to operate and is looking for volunteers who have some experience in fundraising, marketing, grant-writing, and communications. Volunteers in the past have researched funding prospects, worked with the development team to draft proposals, and developed strategies for brand management. If your company offers a donation matching program, we also greatly value such contributions.

 

Other ways to help:
The smallest contributions can make a big difference! You can mentor a teenager or child in our program, help our families with moves, tutor an adult for the GED, offer homework help or private tutoring, give private music lessons, babysit children in our program, arrange a family play date, help someone with job search and placement, more. We welcome any contribution you can make.

 

PIHN could not continue to offer its services without the support of concerned citizens who want to help their neighbors without homes. Please consider volunteering with us. For more information about volunteering, contact Rachel Falkove, at 215-247-HOME (4663) x136.
Here you can read what volunteers and former families of our program have said about us and our work.