The following opportunities are intended to give you an idea of the kinds of things you can help with. In general, we appreciate knowing in advance of any donations you may make. We accept donations Monday through Friday between 9AM and 6PM, and on Saturdays between 10AM and 2PM. For questions, or to let us know what you will be bringing, please contact Gin Jackson, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Between 11:30 am and 5:30 pm, 1 to 3 hours weekly on the same day each week. As this job takes two volunteers, coordinating the time is important so that both volunteers are there together. Straighten up the Clothing Closet and restock it to be ready for the next day’s services. Must be able to lift 10 pounds and go up and down stairs a few times each shift to bring down clothing for the racks.
Pick up bread and pastries donated by two nearby Durham businesses any time between 7 and 10 am. Must have vehicle. Regular, weekly commitment.
Community Cafe meal serving group
Group of 8 people needed. Most meal serving slots for the year are booked, but some remain open for:
DINNER – You need to provide the food, as well as prepare and serve for 250 people. Random dates. Mostly weeknights.
HOLIDAYS – Groups serving regularly typically want to take holidays off.
We always need trained volunteers with a great eye for detail to inspect donated clothing. Once trained, you have lots of flexibility in when and how often you come sort. Highly qualified sorters could also periodically supervise a group if available.
Clothing or food drive leader
Collect specific items we request with your faith community, book club, neighborhood association or other group of nice people. Please email Gin Jackson, email@example.com, before you begin or advertise your drive. Clothing items can be new or in excellent used condition (no tears, stains, broken zippers, missing buttons). We most need food drives March through October that collect these items -- in particular fresh fruits and vegetables.
Morning services helper
Help UMD staff serve 26 low-resource households each Monday through Thursday morning in our Food Pantry and Clothing Closet. Various roles require training, so we ask you to commit to working weekly or twice a month.
Enter information about volunteer hours and item donations into our computer database. Accuracy and comfort using a computer needed, and training is required. Ideally, we want a commitment of 2-3 hours every week.
Casserole cook or coordinator
Make and freeze a casserole in a disposable aluminum pan with ingredients and warming instructions on freezer tape on the outside. Our Food Pantry distributes fully cooked family size dinner casseroles (recipes) as a homemade extra meal that can be heated quickly. The Community Cafe needs 9x13 breakfast casseroles (recipes) partially cooked., or you can use your own. Coordinate delivery with Gin Jackson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandwich or bag lunch preparer
We hand out about 250 bag lunches every Monday through Friday morning at breakfast so clients will have their midday meal no matter where work or appointments take them in Durham. Instead of pre-packing a bag lunch, we now let clients select only what they want, reducing food waste. You can help by donating any amount of the following—preferably early in the week. Please email Gin Jackson, in advance so we can coordinate with other donations.
- Sandwich in zip-top plastic bag. Include a protein (peanut butter, ham, cheese, etc.). No condiments on the sandwich, please, so they’ll keep for hours without refrigeration; packets on the side are great.
- Piece of fresh fruit, individual fruit cup OR small bag of fresh, cut vegetables. Dipping sauce/salad dressing in individual 2 ounce soufflé cup with lid is a bonus!
- Snack (pretzels, chips, granola bar, etc.) in zip-top plastic bag.
- Sweet (cookies, pound cake, brownie, etc.) in zip-top plastic bag.
Lunch bag note writer
Encourage and inspire neighbors by inscribing positive or motivational messages and drawings on the paper lunch bags. These need to be non-religious, as UMD embraces all faiths. Fold the bag in half and then write or draw on the bottom half of the bag so your message or drawing will show after the bag is filled and rolled.
Laundry detergent or powdered milk packager
Purchase liquid laundry detergent or powdered milk. Then from home or when scheduled at UMD, put 1-2 loads worth of detergent into a recyclable water bottle; securely attach a large label reading “Laundry Detergent.” Or put the recommended amount of powdered milk into a zip-top bag and label with mixing directions. Any amount of these will be a great help!
We try to hand out hygiene kits to all the clients who visit our food pantry and clothing closet, about 120 kits each week. Any quantity you can make would help. It is important that your kit includes all of the requested items. Here is what goes into each kit. You are welcome to check with Gin Jackson in advance to see if UMD has a surplus of any of these items that you can include. Also, dentists are very open to giving those who ask extra toothbrushes and toothpaste.
- Gallon size zip-top bag
- Soap – 1 regular bar or 2 small bars
- Shampoo – 2 hotel size or 1 small bottle
- Conditioner – 2 hotel size or 1 small bottle
- Lotion – hotel size or larger container that fits in the bag
- Deodorant –1.8 oz. size
- Toothpaste – small tube (2.8 oz.) or full size preferred (tube only; please discard the box)
- Wash cloth
- Disposable razor
- Shaving cream – 6 oz (Barbasol brand generally has the best price)
OPTIONAL additions that are greatly appreciated:
- Dental floss
- Hand sanitizer
- Mints, lip balm
Move-Out kit maker
Clients are moving into their own apartments, thanks to job training programs leading to employment and landlords partnering with UMD. It is a very exciting time, but people leaving homelessness often lack some of the basics to set up their households, and their incomes are limited. You can help by providing any of these things in new or excellent used condition:
- Basic pots and pans
- Dishes and cups (no cracks or chips)
- Glasses (no alcohol logos please)
- Flatware and serving/cooking utensils
- Twin, full and queen size sheets only
- Bed pillows (new in package only)
- Washcloths and towels in good condition
- Working table lamps with undamaged shade
- Countertop appliances such as toaster, microwave, or coffee maker
Custom Group Projects
We may have special, one-time projects such as cleaning, organizing, landscaping. Just let us know well in advance when you'll be free, how many people you’ll have, what time of the day you're available and for how long. If you can provide supplies or resources for your project, you will have many more options.
Contact Gin Jackson, director of community engagement: email@example.com or (919) 682-0538, ext. 125.