Volunteer FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About
Volunteering at Grassroots


What kind of volunteer opportunities are available at Grassroots?

Grassroots is extremely grateful for all support we receive from the community. Individual volunteers prepare and serve lunches or dinners for the shelter residents, organize the pantry or storage areas, provide mentoring or tutoring to shelter residents, or serve as a “Special Friend” to children in the shelter. Groups or individuals can also organize a drive for needed items such as food, personal hygiene items, cleaning or supplies, or new toys for presents for children in the shelter.

Can my large group volunteer at Grassroots?

Grassroots can accommodate large groups up to a maximum of 15 people for on-site projects. The availability of on-site activities for large groups varies depending on the season. Volunteer activities might include making lunches or meals, organizing the pantry, landscaping, creating food boxes for the motel program, or hosting parties for children and adults. Larger groups are welcome to do other activities outside the shelter such as making motel boxes, conducting a food drive, etc. Please contact our volunteer coordinator, Monteith Mitchell at 410-531-6006 or mont@grassrootscrisis.org, with additional questions.

What is the minimum age you need to be to volunteer in the shelter?

The minimum age to volunteer in the shelter is 15 years old. Individuals or groups under age 15 can help out the shelter by collecting items that are needed by our residents. Please contact our volunteer coordinator, Monteith Mitchell at 410-531-6006 or mont@grassrootscrisis.org, or see Shelter Needs List on our web site.

Whom do I contact if I want to volunteer at Grassroots?

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Monteith Mitchell, at 410-531-6006 or mont@grassrootscrisis.org.

What are the requirements to volunteer at Grassroots?

For direct service shelter interaction, an orientation and training session with the Volunteer Coordinators along with 3 reference letters are required. A minimum commitment of one evening a week for three months is required.

When do you use volunteers?

On-site shelter volunteer hours are primarily in the evening Monday through Friday. Sometimes other arrangements can be made. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator for more information.

Does Grassroots take volunteers with court-ordered community service requirements?

It depends of the circumstances. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator for more information.


Do your needs change depending on the time of year?

Yes. Our shelter needs list is a general list of items that we can use year-round. However, please check our Immediate Needs list for our most pressing needs each month. Our volunteer needs also change as our resident population changes. For more information, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Monteith Mitchell, at 410-531-6006 or mont@grassrootscrisis.org.


How can my group or family help Grassroots this holiday season?

Grassroots puts out a Holiday Wish List in the fall of every year. This is a general list of items that will be holiday gifts for residents in the shelter. Please feel free to contact our volunteer coordinator during the holiday season for last minute gift items.

Can I adopt a Grassroots family in the shelter?

No. We do not formally participate in that practice. However, we do assist families in our motel program and former clients who are in need of assistance. Please feel free to contact us regarding specific needs of these families.

Is there anything you don’t accept?

We do not accept used toys, books, puzzles, clothing, paints, or used arts and crafts materials.

Meal Volunteers

Whom should I contact if I would like to prepare a lunch or dinner meal for the residents in the shelter?

Please call Grassroots at 410-531-6006 and ask for our Kitchen Manager, Dottie Howard. She is the keeper of the master calendar for all meals.

What is the minimum age for a volunteer to serve food?

For individuals who wish to serve a meal as part of a group, the minimum age is 15. An individual who is not part of a group need to be 21 years old.

Can I or my group come and cook the entire meal in your kitchen?

No. Due to health department regulations, anyone working in the kitchen needs to be Health Department Certified.

I am making a dinner for the shelter. How many people should I plan to cook for?

Please plan on cooking for 50 people. As a rule of thumb, two full size aluminum pans or 5 half size aluminum pans will serve 50 people.

What are some suggested meals?

Suggested meals include:

  1. Pot roast with potatoes and gravy, veggies and desert
  2. Roasted, grilled or fried chicken with fixings
  3. Spaghetti and meatballs with salad and bread
  4. Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and veggies
  5. Lasagna, bread, and salad
  6. Baked Ziti, bread, and salad
  7. Beef, turkey, or chicken hot dogs with Mac & Cheese and broccoli
  8. Barbeque beef or pulled pork sandwiches with sides
  9. Burgers and fries for Grassroots staff to prepare, with salad
  10. In the summer, garden salad with chicken salad and crackers
  11. Your grandmother’s favorite casserole

Do I have to prepare a full meal?

No. You can prepare a part of a meal, such as an entrée, and our kitchen staff can supplement a salad or dessert.

How many people can I bring to serve the meal?

Due to limited space, the maximum number of people for serving is five.

Can I make and bring in lunches?

Yes. You can make 50 individually wrapped bag lunches or you can prepare/provide the ingredients for a lunch that can be set out for residents to eat in the dining room.

Do you take leftovers from a catered event?

Yes, we usually take leftovers. Please call the shelter office at 410-531-6006 to confirm just in case.

Do you take donations of expired food?

We cannot accept expired food. We must follow health department regulations and discard any food that is past its expiration date.

Click here for a copy of our Volunteer Opportunities.