Volunteer Opportunities

“The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.” ~Helen Keller

My friend Joe. Formerly homeless and now an HG volunteer!!

My friend Joe. Formerly homeless and now an HG volunteer!!

There are a number of ways that you or your organization can volunteer with Homeless Gear:

  1. Organize food, clothing, gear, or hygiene drive at your work, neighborhood, school, church, etc.
  2. Help at monthly Sam’s Club Food Collection Event
  3. Help at a distribution event
  4. Help out (distribute supplies, sort/stock items, etc.) at our Gear Room in Fort Collins
  5. Deliver & pick up donations throughout the state
  6. “Shop” for donations at local garage sales
  7. Sort, organize and stock donations
  8. Participate in Street Outreach
  9. Volunteer with the Dedicated Navigator program
  10. Become an advocate in the Hand Up program
  11. Form or join a village in the One Village One Family program

For additional information about any volunteer activity that is listed above or below and/or to sign up for an event, please call Chelsey Mandell, our volunteer coordinator, at 970-587-3556 or e-mail Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.

If you are volunteering for the very first time, please read, print, and sign the volunteer release form (HG Volunteer Release & Liability Waiver) and bring it with you to the event.

HG Volunteer Release & Liability Waiver

Organize an Outdoor Gear/ Clothing/Footwear/Hygiene/Non-Perishable Food Drive

Organize a gear, clothing, hygiene or non-perishable food drive within a group that you are associated (school, business, work, club, church, neighborhood etc).  This is a perfect volunteer activity for an individual, group, scout troop, business or other community organization.  We have marketing materials, best-practice strategies and more information that can help you get started! Call us and let’s talk about the possibilities.

“Shop” for Donations at Local Garage Sales

One of our long-time volunteers — Pat — spends her weekends touring local garage sales: she spreads the word about Homeless Gear, shops for supplies and asks garage sale hosts to consider donating to the cause. Every Monday, she arrives at our warehouse with (literally) a car-full of donations. This is a fun (and hugely-helpful) way to get involved. You can learn more about Pat’s efforts here. If you are interested in joining the fun and touring garage sales near you, please email us at info@HomelessGear.org.

Children in Need Service Events

Once per quarter, we host supply distribution and service events for children and families at the Matthews House Community Life Center (220 N. Grant Avenue in Fort Collins).  We distribute gear, outerwear, hygiene items and other supplies, and numerous partner organizations join us to provide attendees with a wide range of services and support: eye exams, health screenings, children’s books, art supplies, haircuts, resource information and pet food, among others. Attendees are referred to the events through the McKinney-Vento program in the local school district and/or through agencies that serve children and families in Larimer County.

Events run from 9 AM to 11:30 AM. Upcoming dates are:

  1. September 19, 2015
  2. December 12, 2015
  3. February 20, 2016
  4. May 14, 2016

Volunteers are the driving force behind our Children in Need events. As many as 150 volunteers participate in each event, serving as “personal shoppers” for attending families, distributing supplies and managing event logistics, among other tasks. We ask volunteers to sign up for “shifts” (8:30 AM to 12:00 PM and  11:45 AM to 1:00 PM). The first shift participates in the event and the second shift cleans up after the event. Bilingual volunteers needed!

Please know that you can still just drop in if you didn’t get a chance to sign up.  We will never turn away volunteers.  To sign up for a shift, please contact Chelsey Mandell by phone at (970) 587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.

Sam’s Club Collection Events

Fort Collins

One Saturday per month (11 AM to 4 PM), we collect donations, fire up a BBQ and interact with customers outside of the Sam’s Club in South Fort Collins. This is a fun and effective way for us to collect much-needed food-and-drink items, engage with the community and recruit new volunteers.

Events run from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. There are two volunteer shifts: 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Upcoming dates:

  • August 8
  • August 22
  • September 12
  • October 10
  • November 7
  • November 14
  • December 12

If you are interested in helping out, please contact Chelsey by phone at (970) 587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.

Loveland

Once per month, volunteers stand in front of the Loveland Sam’s Club (1200 E. Eisenhower Blvd.) and collect food/drink items from customers. Everything that we collect is distributed to children and families in the Thompson School District via (a) the McKinney-Vento program for homeless children and (b) the Loveland Rotary Kids Pak (a hunger relief  program that sends food bags home each weekend to families-in-need in the Thompson School District).

Events run from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM. There are two volunteer shifts: 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Upcoming dates:

  • August 29
  • September 26
  • October 24
  • November 21
  • December 5
  • December 19

To sign up for a shift, contact Chelsey Mandell by phone at 970-587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.

Non-Perishable Food

We collect and distribute non-perishable, readily-consumable food-and-drink items to individuals and families who are homeless across the state.
You can help in several ways: 
  1. Collect and provide food & drink items
  2. Provide cash or grocery store gift cards for us to purchase food & drink items
  3. Provide completed ready to eat “take-away” meals
  4. Deliver meals to facilities in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and Denver

In addition, you can assemble meals at your home! If you are interested in helping out, just give us a call (970) 658-9878 to find out more; we can provide you with supplies or help you collect on your own.

If you would like more detailed information on our Non-Perishable Food sub-program, including a list of the items we collect, please click here or contact Chelsey by phone at (970) 587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.

Street Outreach

Through our Street Outreach program, we send volunteers onto the streets of Fort Collins three nights and one afternoon per week; volunteers distribute life-sustaining supplies, share information about resources and provide hope and companionship to our most vulnerable neighbors.

Shifts: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evening; Wednesday or Friday afternoons

Hours:  7 PM to 10:30 PM on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; 1 PM to 3 PM on Wednesday or Friday

Want to join the team? This is a wonderful opportunity to serve your community, interact with and offer companionship to homeless men and women, and provide basic — and potentially life-saving — supplies to those who need them most. Volunteers must be 18+ and commit to at least one shift per month, approximately 3.5 hours per shift (or 2 hours for afternoon shifts). Contact David by phone at (970) 682-3193 or by email at David@HomelessGear.org.

Dedicated Navigator Program

As a Dedicated Navigator, you will receive a formal training and then work alongside another volunteer (volunteers always work in pairs) to help individuals and families apply for benefits. Volunteers must be competent with computers and be able to commit to at least one two- or three-hour shift per month. Email Anne at Anne@HomelessGear.org or call her at (970) 779-4060 to find out more!

Hand Up Program

Looking to help your individuals obtain employment and regain self-sufficiency? As a volunteer in the Hand Up program, you would provide guests who are homeless/near-homeless with one-on-one, employment-focused case management: searching for job leads, refining resumes, honing interview skills, communicating with potential employers and helping participants overcome barriers to employment. In some cases, we pair individual volunteers with individuals in our program who are in need of more focused, long-term, individualized support; those volunteers provide mentorship, emotional support and more, under the guidance of our professional staff.

The Hand Up Program requires a significant time commitment, relative to many of our other opportunities. There are also fewer opportunities for involvement. Volunteers must be 18+, willing to commit to at least six months of service and a minimum of four-hour time slots at least once a week (preferably on the same day each week).  This commitment is important because our goals are to develop long-lasting, meaningful relationships with the people we serve and to deliver a continuity of services.

One Village One Family

Want to help a family get off the streets? Look no further! Through our One Village One Family program, we pair mentor teams (4 to 8 people) with families who are homeless… Those mentor teams raise funds to help their assigned family get into housing (security deposit, etc.) and provide about six months of structured, ongoing mentoring. Interested in learning more? Visit the OVOF page of our website or email one of our Program Co-Coordinators to find out more: Ken John (Ken@HomelessGear.org) or Nancy John (NancyJ@HomelessGear.org)

Gear and Clothing Sorting

We hold special group gear & clothing sorting events each month to process and organize many of the donations that we receive.  Sorting is done at our warehouse headquarters,  located at 1305 Duff Drive, Unit 5, Fort Collins, CO 80524.  Call Chelsey Mandell at 970-587-3556 to schedule a date and time for your group to help with a sorting event.  If you would like to volunteer to sort on a regular and ongoing basis, that would be wonderful!!!

Class Projects

  • Organize a Hygiene Drive
    • Deodorant
    • Disposable Razors
    • Shave Cream
    • Shampoo
  • Assemble Individual First Aid Kits
  • Create “Snack Packs”
  • Help out at a Children in Need event
  • Organize a Diaper Drive

Join Our Team

Looking for something different? If you would like to get involved, but don’t see anything on our list, give us a call and we can chat about the possibilities. Here are some ways that people have gotten involved already:

  • Grant Writing
  • Bulk Product Purchasing Research
  • Marketing For Gear Drives
  • Media Research & Contacts
  • Gear & Clothing Sorting
  • Delivery or Pick Up
  • Manufacturer/Retailer/Wholesaler Contacts

For additional information about any volunteer activity or to sign up for an event, please call Chelsey Mandell, our volunteer coordinator, by phone at 970-587-3556 or by email at Chelsey@HomelessGear.org.