You do not have to be a part of a congregation to volunteer your time and services to NPIHN. Listed below are the many ways you may be able to help us:
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 NPIHN staff. This work is only required two to three times a year and based around your schedule.
Cook a dinner for our families:
These volunteers prepare a dinner at home and bring it to the hosting congregation by 5:30-6:00 PM. 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--we are cooking for children and non–adventurous 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 PM. Volunteers are welcome and encouraged to bring their own families and an after-dinner activity for the children. Books, games, and art projects are well received.
The schedule is as follows:
- Arrive by 6:00 PM.
- Prepare (heat up) dinner. Guests can also prepare food, set table, and serve dinner.
- Give 10-minute call to guests. Remind children to wash their hands.
- Eat dinner from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
- Sit down and eat with the guests.
- Parents serve their children. Hosts help parents keep children at the table.
- Set aside portions for latecomers.
- Supervise dishwashing and kitchen cleanup, which is done by the guests.
- Children should be in bed by 9:00 PM.
- Call your congregational coordinator or the NPIHN on-call staff if the overnight host does not arrive by 8:45 PM.
Sleep over as an overnight host:
The overnight hosts sleep over 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. The overnight hosts are linked by phone to the NPIHN on-call staff.
Some guidelines for the overnight host:
- Bring sheets, blanket, pillow, and alarm clock!
- Arrive before 8:30 PM. Children should be in bed by 9 PM. All common areas should be completely quiet by 11 PM.
- Depart 7:00 AM weekdays or by 9:00-10:00 AM when the last guest has left the congregation. Call your congregational coordinator or the NPIHN 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 staples (bread, milk, lunch-meats, etc.). The guests are responsible for compiling their shopping list for you. The congregation usually covers the cost of this food. NPIHN can help out if necessary.
Drive families to the laundry:
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 get-together a month. Mentors have helped heads of households with specific needs such as organizing the 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 Volunteers, will serve as your guide and support. Our Social Worker, will provide any back up social services/systems help as necessary.
NPIHN 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.
Other ways to help:
Even small contributions can make a big difference! You can tutor a family for the GED, help a child with homework, arrange a family play date, visit weekly with the children, help someone with job search and placement, help pick up donated items, and more. We welcome any contribution you can make.
All of the above volunteer opportunities mean so much to a family. Please consider volunteering with us. For more information about volunteering, contact NPIHN, at 215-247-HOME (4663).
“When I first came here, I was lost. Now I know that there are people in this world who have a heart and do things to help without getting anything in return. You bring your family and your children to play with my child. You treat us like your friends or family, not like somebody strange.” – Euscaris, Former Guest