United Caring Services’ Volunteer Fair Dispels Myths Surrounding Homelessness

Volunteers assisting in kitchen for homelessIt takes many hands and hearts to create a community of caring. For United Church of Christ-related United Caring Services in Evansville, Ind., that means taking volunteer recruitment up a notch through its first-ever Volunteer Fair, to be held March 14 at the UCS facility (324 NW Sixth Street).

The event promises to be both educational and meaningful, and will include guided facility tours and a chance to talk with other UCS volunteers and guests.

UCS runs its day, night, and transitional shelters through its mission and vision to “accept God’s invitation to respond to the needs of those who are homeless with gracious hospitality, respect, kindness, patience, trust and support.” To that end, it relies on volunteers for many day-to-day needs.

“Volunteers are important to the services provided at UCS, but opportunities and needs … are not easily communicated,” said Jason Emmerson, executive director. He hopes that fair will not only help potential volunteers learn about the variety of opportunities at UCS, but will also increase awareness of the services UCS offers and the need for such services in the local community.

“We have dozens of volunteers at UCS each week,” Emmerson said. “We want to broaden the appeal. We want to engage current and new volunteers by sharing some one-and-done opportunities, monthly opportunities, and even daily needs.”

He hopes the fair will remove some of the stumbling blocks to volunteering. “Breaking stereotypes and having a chance to know someone and love them for who and how they are is always a great benefit” to both the person who is homeless and the person volunteering time and talents, said Emmerson.

And the talents can be varied: preparing meals, sorting clothes, helping with repairs, serving on committees, even simply offering kind words. All are valued volunteer opportunities.

Founded in 1991, United Caring Services is a CHHSM-member ministry. In addition to its shelters and transitional housing, UCS also runs an apartment program that provides life skills training to help transition its guests to independence and regular housing. It is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness by championing those who are marginalized, and empowering them to lead hopeful and productive lives.

Read more about the Volunteer Fair on UCS’ Facebook page.

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