Community Volunteer Opportunities

Soup Kitchen
Shelters
Office
Sign Up to Volunteer
Soup Kitchen

Community Volunteers help Franciscan Outreach serve nutritious meals to men and women at our shelter at 2715 West Harrison St. in North Lawndale.  We rely on our community volunteers to help us serve dinner onsite, and prepare and drop off dinner for our guests. We welcome both individual volunteers and small groups.

Responsibilities include:

  • Setting tables prior to the meal
  • Greeting guests
  • Serving coffee
  • Filling trays
  • Carrying trays to the guests

After the meal, volunteers clean and put chairs back on the tables.

Volunteering begins at 4:30 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. If you would like to be an emergency contact in case of cancellation for the soup kitchen, please add a note in the notes section. Thank you!

No previous experience is necessary, only a willingness to be friendly and helpful. All volunteers are encouraged to talk with the guests and join them for dinner once most of the guests have finished.

We welcome individuals, corporate volunteer corps, and church groups. We also welcome students, however they should be at the high school level, 14 years of age and chaperoned. Due to limited space both in the kitchen and on our volunteer calendar, we limit the number and frequency of high school and youth volunteer groups. This is to ensure that everyone has something to do for the evening as well as allow a broad range of adults to become involved as well.

I enjoy volunteering because not everyone has it made and I like to remember and include all people since we’re all in this world together.

Amy Tracz ,

Things to Remember!

Calling the Kitchen

During regular business hours call the office at (773) 278-6724. If you need directions or wish to call the kitchen on the weekend after 4:00 PM, call the office and dial extension 27.

Sign In

When you arrive, please make sure to have all members of your group sign in. We need to know who’s on our site and we want to make sure everyone has the chance to receive our communications.

Please Bring Only…

…the number of volunteers that are signed up for that day. If there are too many volunteers, some will not be able to fully participate in the experience. If you bring too few, it’s hard to serve our guests properly. If you find that you will be bringing fewer volunteers than you’ve signed up, please call us and let us know as soon as possible even if it’s at the last minute.

Shelters
FRANCISCAN OUTREACH SHELTER ON HARRISON ST. IN NORTH LAWDALE
2715 W. HARRISON

Every night of the year, our shelters on Harrison St. in North Lawndale and on Sacramento Blvd. in East Garfield Park shelters feed, house, and help more than 300 individuals get off the street. Our community volunteers play an important role in making this possible. We are currently using volunteers at the Franciscan Outreach as detailed below.

Dinner Volunteers

We need 2-3 volunteers nightly (18 years and older) to help serve dinner to the guests as they arrive in the evening. You must be picked up and dropped off or drive your own vehicle to volunteer. Times change with daylight savings time. Summer hours are from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. Winter hours are from 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. to serve guests.

We need dinner serves at Franciscan Outreach on Sacramento Avenue as well. Volunteer times are from approximately 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Not only do the dinner volunteers provide the food to the guests, but they greet our guests and make them feel welcome. For some of our guests, this is their home—for others, it may be the only human contact they receive all day. No previous experience is necessary to be a dinner volunteer, just the desire to be helpful and friendly.

We welcome individuals, workplace groups, corporate volunteer programs, and church groups. Please remember that we only need 2-3 dinner volunteers an evening. If you have a larger group, perhaps you may consider helping in our soup kitchen.

Things to Remember!

Make Sure You Have the Right Address

When you sign up to volunteer at the shelter, you’ll be going to our shelter address at: 2715 W. Harrison. Our soup kitchen and offices are at a different location. Be sure you’re headed to the proper location. Click here for a map to the shelter.

Franciscan Outreach is also located at 200 S. Sacramento Ave. Parking is either on the street in front or across the street in the fenced in parking area for Walls CME Memorial Church.

When You Arrive

When you arrive, please park on the street in front of the shelter and ring the white doorbell on the eastern-most door. It may take a moment before someone answers, as they are preparing for the evening. Let the person know that you are a volunteer and the position you have signed up for. They will show you where you need to be, where another staff member will help you get started. If no one answers the door, you can knock on the door by the garage or call the main number at 773-265-6683. The staff members are busy at this time of day, so please be patient and allow several minutes for them to answer the doorbell.

Time of Arrival

The posted times for volunteers have been set to allow people the time to get settled before the guests arrive. There is no need to arrive sooner than the posted time.

Sign In

Please have all members of your group sign in when you arrive. It is important for the security of the shelter to know who’s on site, and we want to make sure everyone has a chance to receive our newsletter and e-news. Look for the clipboard hanging on the wall.

For information on what to expect before you arrive click here.

Unaccompanied Youth

We do not allow anyone under 18 years old  to volunteer at our shelter at any time for safety and security reasons.

Parking

Parking is available on the street in front of the shelter. Feel free to ask a volunteer or staff member to walk you to your car after volunteering.

Public Transportation

The CTA Blue Line stop on Western Avenue is close to the shelter. Do not confuse this with the Western Avenue stop on the northern leg of the Blue Line. We do not encourage people to walk to the train after volunteering.

Office
Franciscan Outreach Administrative Office

We frequently need help in our office with various projects. During our office hours 9AM to 5PM on Mondays through Fridays. volunteers can work as much or as little as they like as the current range of projects dictates.

Some of the roles that an office volunteer may have are:

  • Providing assistance with mailings and electronic information distribution
  • Soliciting products and services for auction and raffle prizes at fundraising events
  • Maintaining RSVP lists, prize commitment list, etc.
  • Researching grant possibilities
  • Updating lists of various types
  • Sorting and assembling information kits, filing and shredding materials
  • Data entry
  • Providing IT support

Some of these tasks require specific knowledge within a given skill set. If you are able to share your abilities for a few hours a week, you can help us do even more to help the men and women in need whom we serve.

How to apply and sign-up to volunteer

Before you can be scheduled to volunteer with us you will need to submit an application. Please give our staff up to 48 hours (especially on weekends) to approve your application before you are able to sign-in.
This is the link to the volunteer application.
https://www.volgistics.com/ex/portal.dll/ap?AP=1968595543

Below is the volunteer sign-in link to schedule volunteer days and times (it can only be used after the application has been approved.) Once in the system you will use this link to sign-in to schedule days you would like to volunteer. This link will also allow you to sign-in and remove yourself from any scheduled days in the system. You can do this by going to the scheduled date, clicking on it and then clicking remove when the next page comes up with the date, duty and time. We will then be issued an alert so that we can fill the vacant space. Remember your username to sign-in will be your e-mail address.
https://www.volgistics.com/ex/portal.dll/?From=126345

Due to the nature of the work in our main office (near Ashland and North) we are not permitting volunteers to sign themselves up to help. We ask that you contact our Volunteer Coordinator directly at volunteers@franoutreach.org to inquire about duties, dates, needs and any other helpful information.

It is my privilege to help Franciscan Outreach in any way I can. Working with Franciscan Outreach has given me much more than I can ever give back: humility, compassion, deeper understanding of the Gospels’ teachings and a greater desire to ensure they play a role in my everyday life.

Moira Cahill ,
Sign Up to Volunteer

How to apply and sign-up to volunteer

For open dates to serve dinner at the shelter on Harrison Street, please take a look at the online calendar to see if the date you are seeking to volunteer is open before you submit an application. View calendar dates at the shelter here.

Before you can be scheduled to volunteer with us you will need to submit an application. Please give our staff up to 48 hours (especially on weekends) to approve your application before you are able to sign-in. If you are a group – please submit application as a group and add the number of volunteers in the “members” section. Please do this even if the volunteers are not the same every time.

Click here to fill out a volunteer application.

Once your application is approved (1-2 business days), you can use the link below to sign-in to the volunteer portal. Here, you can schedule yourself to volunteer, check your hours, and communicate with the volunteer coordinator. This link will also allow you to sign-in and remove yourself from any scheduled days in the system. You can do this by going to the scheduled date, clicking on it and then clicking remove when the next page comes up with the date, duty and time. We will then be issued an alert so that we can fill the vacant space. Remember your username to sign-in will be your e-mail address.

Current volunteer? Sign in here! 

Questions? Send us a Message
For more information or questions regarding the Volunteer Program please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@franoutreach.org.