Beginning January 1st, 2019, First Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall will be used as a temporary homeless shelter, a part of the emergency overflow shelter system in downtown Winston-Salem. Due to the dire need of overnight warmth and safety during this extreme winter weather, the city has commissioned emergency overflow shelters to be hosted in churches when there aren’t a sufficient number of beds in the city’s permanent shelters. After an encouraging experience hosting an overflow shelter this past year, we will again be hosting a shelter next January, February, and March! Below you’ll find descriptions of all of the volunteer positions involved in the Overflow Shelter.

“Building relationships with people who I would never interact with on any basis was really really special to me…every night was a favorite memory.”

Volunteer

Every night between January 1st and March 31st, we’ll need 8-10 volunteers to help the shelter run! Keep scrolling for more information about volunteering and volunteer roles this winter, but if you’re ready to sign yourself, your organization, your group, or your church up, click on the button below to go our volunteer sign up page!

Volunteer Needs

Dinner Volunteer (no more than 5 volunteers per night please)
Food for 26
7:45pm-9:00pm
Minimum age for volunteering is 18

Bring food for 26 people to the Overflow Shelter site at 7:45pm. After many of our guests have spent a long and often cold day on the street, we want to offer them a hot and filling meal in an atmosphere of warmth, safety, and peace.  You will need to bring all of the food fully prepared, as well as paper products and utensils, to plate the food so it can be served to guests at the tables, and to clean up after dinner.  You will receive meal guidelines via email a week in advance.

Overnight Volunteer (2 per night)
9pm-6:30am
Minimum age for volunteering is 18

Arrive at the Overflow Shelter site at 9:00pm to stay overnight. One volunteer will stay awake with the City with Dwellings staff monitor while the other sleeps (you will need to bring your own pillow and blanket). The usual shifts are 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.  The volunteer on shift duty will remain with the sleeping guests and the monitor. Most nights are calm and quiet (except for the snoring), and you can use the WiFi or read during your shift. The monitor will ask for your assistance if needed.  Lights are turned on at 5:30am and you can leave by 6:30am.

Guest Reception Volunteer (3 per night)
7:30-9pm
Minimum age for volunteering is 18

Arrive at the Overflow Shelter site at 7:30pm and prepare for receiving guests by moving bins of guests’ personal belongings and laying out sleeping mats.  Assist with the guest site check-in process and act as extra eyes and hands to ensure a welcoming and safe environment during guest reception and dinner.  Engage with guests over their dinner (volunteers are not served dinner).  Volunteers must be able to lift 50 lbs.

Homeless Resource Guide

There are many resources available to the homeless in our city, from financial and housing assistance, to free meals and pantry items, to help with finding jobs. All of these resources and their current contact info have been compiled in a document you can view and download here.