Volunteer

If you would like to volunteer on a regular basis throughout the fall 2017 semester, apply here!

Run entirely by students and volunteers, HSHS has a very large group of dedicated volunteers who contribute a wide variety of skills and time to the shelter. We normally have 14 directors, 14 supervisors, and around 150 volunteers.

Looking to learn more or get involved? Contact us at [email protected].

Volunteer Opportunities

Weekly Volunteering

The Harvard Square Homeless Shelter’s regular weekly shifts are commitments that run for approximately half of its season, the first part of which goes from November 1st to February 15th (but does not include the college’s Thanksgiving and Winter breaks). The second part runs from February 15th to April 15th (but doesn’t include the college’s Spring break in March). The application for these shifts becomes available here in the weeks prior to their start. Descriptions of the shifts are below! Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Substitute Volunteering

If you’re interested in volunteering with the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter but aren’t able to commit to a regular weekly shift, we would love to have you work in our shelter as a substitute volunteer! HSHS relies on substitute volunteers to fill in intermittently for shifts weekly volunteers aren’t able to attend. A weekly email is sent out on sunday afternoons with available shifts to members of our substitute volunteer emailing list- if an available shift works for you, you can email back to help out! To join our substitute volunteer emailing list click here! If you have any more questions about this process, please email [email protected].

Break Shifts

The Harvard Square Homeless Shelter also relies on volunteers over Harvard College’s breaks, when a large portion of our regular volunteer base isn’t on campus to continue their regular shifts. These shifts are one-time commitments, and can be a great way to experience different shifts in the shelter. It’s also great for the shelter environment to have enthusiastic, caring volunteers in our space over the Holidays. We welcome both individuals and groups to sign up for break shifts, which occur over Thanksgiving week, Winter break from the end of December into January, and Spring break week in March. To receive the sign-up and other information for break shifts, please join our break shift emailing list here. Please email [email protected] if you have any concerns or questions about this process!

Group Shifts

The Harvard Square Homeless Shelter welcomes groups to volunteer with us! If your team, company, or organization of any sort wants to volunteer at HSHS there are two options available: regular, weekly shifts and break shifts. Regular weekly shifts are commitments that run for approximately half of our season, the first part of which goes from November 1st to February 15th (but does not include the college’s Thanksgiving and Winter breaks). The second part runs from February 15th to April 15th (but doesn’t include the college’s Spring break in March). In the weeks prior to our opening on November 1st, the application for our group shifts will become available. You can email [email protected] to request this application.

If your group isn’t able to commit to weekly shifts, we would love to have your group sign up for one-time commitment break shifts (over Thanksgiving week, the college’s Winter break or the college’s Spring break week in March). To receive the sign up for these break shifts, please join our break shift emailing list here. If you have any questions about group shifts, please email [email protected].

 

Shelter Shifts

Dinner (6:45-9:15 PM)

Dinner volunteers have a wide variety of tasks, from food salvaging from the Harvard dining halls, cooking dinner, and preparing the shelter for the arrival of guests, to greeting guests as they arrive, serving dinner, and running plates of food outside to those who are hungry but do not have a bed reserved for the night.

Evening (9:00-11:15 PM)

Although not all fun and games–volunteers of this shift are mainly responsible for helping clean up after dinner–this shift is often cited as the most relaxing and laid-back. Other than maintenance chores such as laundry and dishes, volunteers are free to sit back, chat, play cards or board games, or watch tv and movies with the guests.

Overnight (11:00-8:30 AM)

Often dubbed the hardcore volunteers, overnighters work the longest shift. Other than assisting the breakfast volunteers with morning chores, however, tasks on this shift tend not to be demanding. Awake shifts are drawn up by the overnight supervisors so that everyone has scheduled sleep times. While overnight shifts are perhaps one of the most demanding shifts, many volunteers find them to be one of the most fulfilling. Note: Friday overnight shift runs from 11 PM – 9:30 AM.

Breakfast (6:30-8:30 AM)

Breakfast volunteers, arriving between 6 AM and 6:30 AM, help the overnight volunteers cook breakfast for the guests and clean up the shelter. The shift ends when the shelter has been swept, mopped, and scrubbed down. Note: Saturday morning breakfast shift runs from 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM.