/ Volunteer

A Day in the Life of the Volunteer Department

As the Director of Volunteer Services and Special Events, I am very lucky to work with thousands of wonderful volunteers that support every corner of the agency. It is no small feat to coordinate 14,000 volunteers in over 3,500 projects each year. I’m also lucky to work with a small team of dedicated staff whose efforts behind the scenes help to ensure each volunteer has an engaging experience.

I have worked with God’s Love for over six years and recently, through a donor contribution, was able to hire Yolanda to join the team. Yolanda is the Manager of Volunteer Engagement and will focus her energy on expanding volunteer projects, kids programming, improving communication with volunteers and ultimately ensuring a one-of-a-kind volunteer experience.

Let me tell you about a typical day at God’s Love and highlight how dedicated the volunteers and my team are.

Before most volunteers arrive, Gerlinde arrives at God’s Love around 6 am. She turns on the lights, gets her computer running and starts the coffee. At 6:30 am volunteers start to arrive for the first project of the day. Shortly after, the next wave of volunteers arrive for Client Meal Delivery. Often these volunteers are new and Gerlinde greets them, as she does every volunteer, with her infectious bright and cheery personality that we all love.

Around 7:30 am the Kitchen Department has heated the ovens, production has started, and the Delivery Department is loading our vans with client meals for the day’s delivery. As our fleet of 23 vans head out to make home deliveries across the city and neighboring counties for the day, Roberto arrives.

Roberto coordinates all of the group volunteering opportunities. He works with over 750 groups each year. He communicates with each group leader to answer questions, schedule shift times, instruct group members to sign up and rearrange as needed before they ever get to God’s Love. On the day of the group project Roberto and Gerlinde team up to navigate the groups through the locker process, restroom stops, and orientation before finally joining the kitchen team.

By 9:30 am  God’s Love is buzzing with activity! Kitchen volunteers are packaging meals, Meal Packaging volunteers start packaging client meals for the next day’s delivery, and the phones start to ring in Client Services, Finance, and Nutrition.

It’s time for Roberto and Gerlinde to stop for a coffee before diving into emails with volunteers and groups.

On Wednesday and Fridays at 11 am, we have groups and individuals for walking deliveries. If you have never made a delivery to clients home, you have to sign up for walking deliveries. We all agree that nothing touches your heart more and connects you to the critical work.  Delivering a nutritious meal to a client who is homebound and in desperate need often leaves you grateful for what you have.

Lunchtime, Shaine arrives, volunteers can’t get into their lockers, coffee needs to be brewed, and volunteers are looking for a sweet snack. As the morning groups leave the afternoon groups start to arrive. Our afternoon volunteers, similar to the morning, consisting of kitchen, meal packing, office, and group volunteers.

I was not kidding when I said volunteers truly support in every corner of the agency. Without everyone, we simply would not get the work done.

By 4 pm the next kitchen projects are underway followed by the 6 pm kitchen project. Shaine works to ensure our afternoon and evening volunteer logged in and are accumulating volunteer hours. Around 7:30 pm the kitchen is winding down for the day. Ovens are turned off, final dishes are cleaned, and the floors get mopped one last time.

As the last volunteers head out for the night, Shaine will unlock lockers, dispose of any uneaten snacks, empty the coffee and turn off the lights. It is now 8 pm, 14 hours after God’s Love opened its doors and time for everyone to rest until it all starts over again tomorrow.