Volunteering at Haley House
Since our doors first opened in 1966, volunteers have truly been the lifeblood of Haley House. We always welcome new friends to come by, share in the warmth of our community, and reflect on the work we have done together. With the diversity and breadth of our program offerings, we believe there is something for everyone here.
If you are interested in joining the full-time Live-In Volunteer Community, click here.
We do our best to accommodate volunteer interest, but we ask for your patience as we process your application. We receive a high volume of requests. Since we rely heavily on volunteers from local colleges during the school year, we are MOST in need of volunteers during school holidays (winter & spring breaks and summer). If you don’t hear back from us, it is likely because your availability is not compatible with our immediate needs. Feel free to reach out to us directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if your availability changes.
Individual Volunteers: Individuals who are 18 or older are encouraged to fill out a volunteer application. Please see a list of volunteer opportunities below. (Individuals under 18 may be considered for some programs but will likely need permission and supervision from a parent/guardian).
Groups: Our hearts are big, but our kitchens and dining rooms are quite small! Generally, we are only able to only accept volunteer groups of up to six people. We welcome groups to volunteer at Community Tables, Dudley Square Clean-Ups, Garden Workdays, and occasional special projects (e.g., cleaning,maintenance, and outdoor projects). If your group fits within these parameters, please fill out a volunteer application (one per group). If you have a larger group, you can email us directly, but unfortunately is often not possible for accommodate.
University Partnerships: Please visit our program-specific pages if you are volunteering through Boston College’s PULSE program or Northeastern University’s Civic Engagement Program. If you represent a university and are interested in setting up a new partnership, please email our Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com.
The dress code applies to Community Tables, the Soup Kitchen, Haley House Bakery Café, and Take Back the Kitchen classes. All volunteers are encouraged to dress modestly. Please note that clothes may be ruined with bleach or food stains. Per health code requirements, volunteers must wear:
• Long pants (preferably jeans/canvas pants; not leggings)
• A shirt with sleeves (short sleeves are okay, but underarms must be covered)
• Closed-toed shoes that have a good grip
• A head-covering (a baseball hat or bandana covering all hair; long hair must be tucked under a head covering or secured in a bun or a ponytail)
• Hairnets and aprons are available here for volunteers to use on the shift
Volunteer Opportunities by Program
Our Soup Kitchen at 23 Dartmouth Street is open six days a week. We serve breakfast for homeless men in the mornings Sunday through Friday. We also serve lunch to neighborhood elders (Elder Meal) on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday afternoons. Volunteers help to cook, serve, and clean up, and are encouraged to enjoy the company of our Soup Kitchen guests by sitting down and partaking in the meals. Each Soup Kitchen shift ends with a brief guided reflection. Our Food Pantry is open on Thursdays. Volunteers help with set-up, food distribution, and clean up.
• Breakfast: Monday-Friday 5:30 am-10:00 am/ Sunday 9:00 am-1:00 pm
• Elder Meal: Tuesday & Thursday 12-3:30 pm / Sunday 1:00-5:00 pm
• Food Pantry: Thursday 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Tasks may include prepping food, cooking, baking, serving, eating with guests, cleanup, reflecting, food distribution, data entry
Community Tables is more than just a delicious meal. It’s a time to share stories and celebrate community. At Haley House, we believe that food should be healthful, locally sourced, and affordable. That’s why we made this meal pay-what-you-can, which means we accept donations for the meal based on what customers can offer—even if that’s nothing at all. Community Tables takes place every Saturday evening at Haley House Bakery Café on 12 Dade Street in Roxbury. Volunteers arrive before the meal to prepare food and set up the space and then are invited to join our guests at the communal table when the meal is served. We encourage volunteers to serve as “conversation facilitators” and engage their table mates in candid conversation. Volunteers finish off their shift by helping to clean up after the meal.
Volunteer Shifts: Saturdays, 3 pm until 8 pm.
Tasks may include set-up, prepping food, cooking, baking, plating, serving, eating with guests, bussing tables, dishwashing, cleaning up.
Take Back the Kitchen is a cooking and nutrition program for youth and families. Cooking classes emphasize cooking from scratch, trying new foods, and understanding the personal and social impacts of how we eat. Volunteers assist our professional chefs in preparing before the class (e.g., setting up cutting boards, laying out ingredients, etc.), help students during the class, and help to clean up afterwards. Cooking classes take place at both of our sites (23 Dartmouth Street and 12 Dade Street) and may also occur off-site at times; schedules vary. Volunteers may sign up to help with an individual class or for a series of classes, but preference is given to volunteers able to commit to all of the classes in a session, when applicable.
Volunteer Shifts: Dependent on scheduled programming
Tasks may include prepping food, cooking, baking, eating/trying foods, dishwashing, general cleaning, nutritional education, reflecting
Haley House has two urban farming sites: adjacent to our Soup Kitchen in the South End and in the Highland Park section of Roxbury. In the South End, we partner with McKinley South End Academy (a K-12 Boston Public School), to offer year-round classes incorporating garden and nutrition into their normal classroom curriculum. McKinley Collaborative Garden is located adjacent to our Soup Kitchen, on Montgomery Street between Dartmouth and Clarendon Streets.
Our second urban agriculture site is located in Roxbury’s Highland Park community (Thornton Community Gardens & Farm). Since this site is still in development, energetic volunteers are very much needed! Volunteers will help clearing land, constructing raised garden beds, planting, and assisting with regular garden maintenance. All necessary tools and supplies are provided and no prior experience is necessary. Please remember to wear clothing that is garden-appropriate.
Volunteer shifts: Mondays 1 pm until 5 pm at Thornton (weather dependent); Occasional big work days happen seasonally
Tasks may include planting, weeding, seed-collecting, watering, painting/making garden signs, harvesting, planning
The Transitional Employment Program (TEP) strives to break the cycle of incarceration by supporting men and women returning home to the community. The cornerstone of this job and life-skills training program is the TEP Cookie Bake, through which trainees are given real (paid) work experience producing chocolate chip cookies for wholesale. The sale of these cookies helps to offset program costs and sustain the program.
Volunteer Shifts: Mondays, 3 pm – 11 pm (can be any 4-hour slot in that range)
Tasks may include mixing, scooping cookie dough, packaging cookies, preparing/applying labels, washing dishes, general cleaning
Each Thursday evening from 7 pm-10 pm, Haley House offers evenings filled with music, readings, film screenings, and open-mic time. Bring your friends and come early for a delicious dinner and the best seats! Check out AiLi’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date event scheduling.
Volunteer shift: Thursdays, 6 pm – 10 pm.
Tasks include cleaning, organizing, orienting guests, and general event support.)
The House Slam
Every 2nd and 4th Friday evening beginning at 6 pm, the House Slam event offers an eclectic open-mic, a polished featured poet, and a competitive poetry slam. Check out The House Slam’s own website for the current schedule.
Volunteer shift: 2nd and 4th Fridays 6 pm – 11 pm
Tasks include set up, check-in/greeting, answering questions, break down, clean up, general event support
Dudley Square Clean-Up (for Groups)
Join in our “Haley House Loves Dudley” project: this is an excellent way for new volunteers to get to know Haley House and our work and contribute to the beautification of our Roxbury neighborhood. Volunteers pick up trash in and around Dudley Square and help with general maintenance at our Haley House Bakery Café at 12 Dade Street. Volunteer groups are welcome on a case-by-case basis on Saturdays from 9 am to 12:30 pm. Following shift, we encourage groups to purchase lunch at the Bakery Café to further support our programs.
Volunteer Shift: By special request
Tasks depend on specific interests and abilities
Housing Clean-Up (for Groups)
Haley House’s permanent affordable housing program is sometimes in need of volunteer groups to help with maintenance and cleaning. Our housing buildings are located in the South End community. These projects are scheduled on a case-by-case basis.
Volunteer Shift: By special request
Tasks may include sweeping, organizing, scrubbing, dusting, basic repairing/building, basic carpentry
Haley House welcomes volunteers who have special skills to contribute to our mission. We are especially in need of assistance with information technology, graphic design, event planning, and administrative work at our office on 23 Dartmouth Street.
Volunteer Shift: Monday through Friday from 9-5
Note: Haley House does not perform background checks on any volunteers. If you still have questions about volunteering at Haley House, contact our Volunteer Coordinator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.