If you are a returning volunteer, you can sign up to take a shift in the Cafe by clicking the link below. We are so excited to be able to welcome our volunteer family back for in-person opportunities!
Bagged Lunch Donations
One of our consistently needed volunteer opportunities is assembling and donating bagged lunches to support our Meals Program!
Interested in Volunteering?
While we are still continuing to serve meals in a to-go model out of an abundance of caution, we are once again ready to welcome in-person volunteers back to Inspiration Cafe in Uptown! If this is your first time volunteering with us, please fill out the application form through the link below
General Volunteer FAQs:
What are your COVID-19 safety precautions?
To protect yourself and one another, we require that all volunteers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (you may also be asked to share proof of vaccination). We encourage all staff and participants to be vaccinated, but do not require it for program participation or employment. The population we serve is at higher risk for illness, and has challenges accessing the healthcare system. We continue to require that all staff, participants, and volunteers be masked at all times (except for when eating or drinking), and to practice social distancing when possible due to ongoing concerns around spreading and contracting COVID-19.
If you are not feeling well or have been exposed to COVID-19, please reach out and cancel your volunteer shift. Furthermore, we are committed to informing volunteers if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 by close contact with someone who has tested positive.
Who can volunteer?
Anyone 18 or older and fully vaccinated can volunteer in any role at Inspiration Corporation. While we no longer allow anyone under the age of 18 to volunteer in our program spaces for the safety of participants and volunteers, volunteers under 18 can still help by packing bagged lunches, organizing toiletry drives, and participating in group cleaning/maintenance projects with adult supervision.
What should I wear to volunteer?
Volunteers should wear comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes. Those working in the kitchen may be asked to wear a hat, hairnet or cover their beard.
What volunteer opportunities are there?
We have several volunteer opportunities at Inspiration Cafe, our Meals Program, including cooking meals, serving meals, lunch distribution, helping in the kitchen with prep and clean up, and packing bagged lunches. Additional opportunities in other programs or departments exist as well; please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
How do I get there? Is there parking available?
Most volunteer opportunities will be at our main office, 4554 N Broadway Suite 207 in Uptown, Chicago. We share the building with other organizations and businesses, and there is a main door with a white sign and black letters. There is an elevator in the lobby of the main entrance. We also have a door closer to the corner of Wilson and Broadway with our name and logo on a blue awning. This may be locked, but you can call the kitchen phone at (773)878-0981 x210 for assistance.
There is paid parking in front of the building on Broadway and various free parking around the neighborhood (Magnolia, Sunnyside, etc.) We are also located right off the Wilson red line. If you are coming to our Inspiration Kitchens site at 3504 W. Lake, there is a small parking lot, free parking on Lake Street and we are a half-block east of the Garfield Park Conservatory stop on the green line.
Is there a place to put my personal items?
We have lockers for you to store your personal belongings at our Broadway site. For volunteer groups, items can be locked in one of our staff offices.
Can I fulfill mandated community service hours by volunteering at Inspiration Corporation?
Yes! Please mention this requirement in your online application. If informed in advance, we would be happy to sign off on community service hours or provide a letter summarizing your hours.
Can I bring anyone extra who hasn’t signed up?
No. It is important that only those that signed up for the shift come to volunteer. This is for participant, volunteer, and staff safety.
How do I sign up for shifts?
Please sign up through our online scheduling system, Volgisitics. Login with your email and password and click Schedule at the top of the screen. You can click the arrows next to the Today button to navigate forwards or backwards, or choose a month by clicking the calendar icon. If you would rather view opportunities by day or week, you can click the drop-down menu on the right. If you aren’t seeing your scheduled shifts on the calendar, click the filter icon on the right and make sure Openings and My Scheduled Items are both selected. If you have any questions, please reach out to email@example.com or (773)878-0918 x 259.
Do I have to schedule in advance or can I just show up?
It is important that all volunteers schedule in advance through the Volgistics portal. This helps us make sure we don’t have too many or too few volunteers for a particular role or shift.
I can’t find the link to my Volgistics account.
You can login here: https://www.volgistics.com/vicnet/10115.
I forgot my Volgistics login information.
You can visit the link above and click Password Reset, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Why does Volgistics look different?
In August of 2022, Inspiration Corporation switched to using a new interface of the same system. There are some updates to the look of the website, as well as how volunteer openings are posted. We expect this new interface to be easier to use.
Can I take pictures while volunteering?
We welcome volunteers to take pictures of themselves and staff (with verbal permission), but do not allow pictures to be taken of program participants in order to respect their privacy. If you do post any pictures on social media, please feel free to tag us!
group Volunteer FAQs:
How do I sign up as a volunteer group?
You can reach out to email@example.com to inquire about opportunities for your group’s size, desired date, and activities. The group leader will need to fill out our online application and complete the orientation before we can schedule you for an on-site opportunity. The group leader is responsible for communicating with their group. Group volunteering events will be scheduled through our staff rather than through the Volgistics portal.
How many people can be part of a group?
We can accommodate groups of up to 25 people on-site depending on the tasks available. There are often more opportunities for smaller groups. Opportunities like packing bagged lunches do not have a participant limit since they are usually completed in the volunteer’s own space.
What tasks are available for volunteer groups?
We always have a need for volunteer groups to pack bagged lunches. This is done off-site and more information can be found here. In 2022, we relaunched in-person dining for our participants (after two years of exclusively providing to-go meals) and currently serve two breakfasts a week. Each meal only has 6 volunteer slots, so if you have a smaller group, this is an option. We often have other projects for volunteer groups such as organizing, working in Inspiration Kitchens’ garden, and cleaning our Cafe and restaurant spaces. While we have very limited opportunities for volunteer groups to directly serve participants, we hope you understand that these tasks are just as important in making our work possible!
How far in advance should we schedule?
Scheduling as far in advance as possible will help us to better accommodate your group!
Can we post pictures of our volunteer day on social media?
Yes! See above for more details. We would love to share your post as well, so be sure to tag us!