Homeless Gear is a volunteer-driven organization. Every year, more than 1,000 individuals contribute thousands of hours (more than 10,000 in 2015!) to Homeless Gear… collectively, those volunteers make possible all that we do. As an organization, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide anyone with a way to get involved: groups, classes, individuals… anyone who wants to make a difference!
Below is a list of our primary volunteer activities, arranged by program. To get involved, email us at Volunteer@HomelessGear.org or call us at (970) 658-9878.
If you are volunteering for the first time, please read, print, and sign the volunteer release form (HG Volunteer Release & Liability Waiver) and bring it with you to your first volunteer shift, experience or event.
We distribute supplies–outdoor gear, outerwear, hygiene items, non-perishable food and more–directly to individuals and families who are homeless in Fort Collins and to other organizations throughout the state (those organizations distribute what we send to the people whom they serve). Volunteer opportunities include:
- Organize a donation drive (help us collect supplies)
- Help out in our Gear Room at the Murphy Center (distribute supplies, interact with clients, etc.)
- Sort and stock donations at our warehouse
- Pick up and/or deliver donations throughout the state
- Help at a Sam’s Club collection event in Fort Collins (upcoming dates here)
We host service events for children and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We distribute basic-needs supplies (clothing, hygiene products, etc.), and other organizations/companies join us to provide additional services: health screenings, haircuts, pet food, art supplies, children’s books, legal advice, resource referrals, etc. We also collect and distribute food to children in the Thompson School District (in Loveland). Volunteer opportunities include:
- Participate in a service event for children and families (upcoming dates here)
- Help at a Sam’s Club collection event in Loveland (upcoming dates here)
Three nights per week, we send volunteers, staff members and representatives from partner agencies onto the streets of Fort Collins to engage directly with people experiencing homelessness. We distribute supplies, share resource information, build relationships and help connect people to other services in the community. Volunteer opportunities include:
- Join the Street Outreach team
The Dedicated Navigator program helps individuals and families fill out forms and apply for benefits (Food Assistance, Medicaid, TANF, etc.) for which they may be eligible. Volunteer opportunities include:
- Become a Dedicated Navigator
The Hand Up program provides employment-search support to job seekers who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Our staff and interns provide program participants with employment-focused case management, resume-writing assistance, job leads, interview practice, employment/interview clothes and more. Volunteer opportunities include:
- Join our Career Closet team (help us shop for and/or solicit donations)
- Become a Hand Up business partner (hire/consider hiring our program participants; click here for a list of current business partners)
The One Village One Family (OVOF) program empowers families who are homeless to regain stability, secure permanent housing and achieve self-sufficiency. OVOF matches families experiencing homelessness with volunteer mentor teams, or “villages.” Those villages raise money to help families get into housing (e.g. security deposit) and then provide about six months of ongoing, structured mentoring. Volunteer opportunities include:
- Join/form a village
- Sponsor a village
- Rent a property to one of our participating families
Every Friday at the Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope (“Murphy Center”), a team of volunteer bike mechanics provides a free repair-and-maintenance clinic. The service is available to registered guests of the Murphy Center. Volunteer opportunities include:
- Become a bike mechanic (all skill levels welcome)
- Build/rebuild bike trailers (we will show you how)
- Donate bikes or trailers
The Murphy Center for Hope is a resource center for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Larimer County. The Murphy Center is an initiative of Homeless Gear, but more than a dozen agencies, including Homeless Gear, provide a wide range of services at the building: everything from basic-needs supplies to mental health, employment counseling and housing assistance. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Murphy Center, click here.