Volunteer Opportunities – Encampments

Moving Tent City 3. Photo © Marc Weinberg.

Greater Seattle Cares is growing! In fact we are expanding so quickly, we could use your assistance with several ongoing projects. With additional support from our community, we have the ability to do even more for the homeless. We are now looking for caring individuals who are interested in joining our team as we make this happen. Contact us to volunteer and to learn more about current opportunities. We also have a great need to fill Volunteer Opportunities for Operations / Administrative support.

Volunteer Support for Encampments Direct

Cooking/delivering/serving a meal

  • Description: Greater Seattle Cares helps support hot meal programs at several camps. We offer comprehensive guidelines with suggestions and tips for cooking for large groups.
  • Level of Commitment: One time event or as often as you like
  • When/Where: Check location of camps and encampment-specific meal calendars to sign up for a date that works for you!
  • Skills/Tools: Cooking skills, facilities for preparing a large meal. Camps generally appreciate some leftovers but have no facility for washing dishes; disposable pans and utensils are advised.
  • Committee Chair: Must sign up on the meal calendar of the appropriate camp.

Help with move-day

  • Description: Willing hands to take down tents, tarps, and load a trailer; help with setup. Moves typically cover two full days with breakdown and loading the first day and setup at the new site the 2nd day. Also clean-up of the area vacated. Help purchasing supplies for the moves such as nails, large lawn & leaf bags, duct tape, twine, zip ties, etc. Review our list of typical move supplies.
  • Level of Commitment: One time/ parts of day ok
  • When/Where: Encampment move days, locations and contact information
  • Skills/Tools: Work gloves, pliers, hammer, and screw drivers can be helpful
  • Committee Chair: The camp Move Masters, who are campers named a month before each move.

 Clothing and other donations

  • Description: We often get donations of clothing that needs to be sorted and delivered to the camps. This requires use of a vehicle. We request that donated clothing is clean but sometimes we get items that need laundering; that could also be part of a volunteer job. Folding by gender, size and season to store items for future delivery. Other items that come in need varying types of help. For example, tents that need poles or holes repaired, or zippers replaced. Blankets and bedding for off season storage. Plywood, pallets, and building materials usually require a truck for delivery.
  • Level of Commitment: Can be a regular commitment, or a one time commitment as needed.
  • When/Where: Varies, sometimes picking up off season items from the camps where they were donated; sometimes picking up from a church or business or individual residence.
  • Skills/Tools: Ability to sort, organize, label and launder, as needed. Vehicle for transport is desirable but not required.
  • Committee Chair: Independent, or coordinate with Cindy Roat

Sponsor a drive in your community

  • Description: Especially in the winter months the tent cities are in dire need of coats, blankets, boots, rain gear, tents and tarps. If you sponsor a drive to collect clean, lightly-used items and deliver to the tent camps, that is a much appreciated help. Another popular idea is a drive to fill the non-perishable food larder.
  • Level of Commitment: One time event or as often as you like
  • When/Where: Best to check the location of the camps and see what items are needed. They may NOT be able to accept all your donations at one time (limited storage space), so coordinate with GSC to store excess.
  • Skills/Tools: Be a communicator and advocate within your faith community, work group or neighborhood. Be sure to take photos (while respecting camper/s privacy), and let us know so we can include an article in our newsletter, blog or on social media. Please review photography submission guidelines.
  • Committee Chair: Independent, or coordinate with Cindy Roat

Join the Gleaning team

  • Description: At this time we have several routes for pick-up on both sides of the lake.  What this entails is to pick-up the donation, deliver it to a camp or other locations. This job requires a vehicle and ability to be flexible with donation locations.
  • Level of Commitment: Regular weekly commitment
  • When/Where: Generally, east side routes and west side routes, but this can vary according to what is gleaned.
  • Skills/Tools: Vehicle is a must. Schedule a regular time, such as “Thursday mornings”. Must be dependable, self-disciplined, friendly and resourceful.
  • Committee Chair: Leslie Nodtvedt

Host a camp

  • Description: Most of the tent encampments in the Puget Sound region are temporary; they must move every three months in order to conform with zoning regulations. Would your church/synagogue/mosque/organization be willing to provide a space for a camp for a time? Some camps are large (100 residents), while others are smaller (35 residents). The camp needs access to electricity, water, and needs to be near public bus routes.
  • Level of Commitment: Two months of preparation, 3 months of hosting
  • When/Where: Your organization’s property.
  • Committee Chair: If you think there might be an interest in your organization, contact Greater Seattle Cares (info@greaterseattlecares.org) so that we can help you connect with the administrators of the camp in question.

Volunteers lending a helping hand