Inter-Faith Council for Social Service

Small Group Opportunities

We primarily can accommodate small groups (3-6 people) with the following opportunities.

Please be sure to register your group with the Volunteer Office–see the volunteer home page under “To Volunteer”

Monthly Meal Preparation:  Groups of friends or from congregations, civic organizations, clubs, schools, and so on, commit to preparing and serving a monthly meal on a regular day (like 1st Tuesday, 2nd Friday, etc.).  Understand that there are notable differences among our kitchen facilities: 

  • The Men’s House kitchen can optimally hold 3-5 people at a time (some flexibility outside of that), can accept supervised minors, and the food for preparation is provided.  The house is home to up to 52 regular residents and may accommodate a number more during emergency (weather) situations.  Service includes breakfast on weekdays, lunch on Sundays only, and dinner Monday through Saturday.
  •  The Women’s Emergency Shelter kitchen is a home-style facility that may accommodate up to 8 workers at a time (and note that there is only one oven).  Family groups with supervised minors can work here, and anyone preparing meals here will need to provide the food for the meal being prepared (maximum 15 women residents at a time—the kitchen coordinator can let you know how many residents there are).  Service includes breakfast and dinner every weekday, and three meals a day on weekends.
  •  The Community Kitchen can hold 4-6 people at a time, is not generally set up to accept minors, and the food is provided.  The kitchen typically serves between 50-90 people at each meal.  Service includes lunch 7 days a week and dinner weeknights only.   There are relatively few openings here, as groups have been established here the longest.

Play Groups.  Small groups (whose members have passed criminal background checks, according to federal rules) can lead weekly outdoor play-time with the children at HomeStart.  When weather doesn't permit, indoor game time or story time may be a welcome substitute.

Game Nights.  The Men's House has started this, and maybe we can get this going at HomeStart:  your small group can bring a stack of board games and devote a couple hours on a Saturday night once a month to engaging residents in some sheer playful and distracting fun. (Games you have at home like Uno, Scrabble, Chronology, have all been hits--a variety is always fun to offer)

Yard Work.  Each of our residential facilities has nice beds of shrubbery and flowers (and should have vegetable gardens!) that need looking after--weeding, mulching, trimming, and so on, on a monthly basis.  

Supplemental Food Preparation:  On an occasional, or periodic, or one-time basis, groups may want to prepare food in addition to that being done by an on-site group.  Supplemental food is prepared at the volunteers’ own kitchen and then delivered to one of the IFC Kitchens to be served at an upcoming meal.  Supplemental food items should be prepared in larger aluminum pans that can be easily reheated or kept cold in the kitchen refrigerator.  Some popular items for preparation include macaroni and cheese, potatoes, chicken casserole, lasagna, vegetable casserole, enchiladas, dessert items, and so on.

Support Circles:  IFC currently sponsors Support Circles, a program that brings individuals and families who are transitioning from homelessness to a permanent home to partner with a group of people committed to providing the support they need for a 12-month period.  Individual circles are formed and trained when needed only at specific times during the course of a year.  Congregational and civic groups with an interest in exploring this commitment should read further at our Support Circles information page.  More in-depth questions may be directed to the Support Circles Coordinator at

Please also see “other valuable opportunitiesfor additional ideas.

 Photography by Jack Benjamin