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 grateful to our volunteer family for all they do to make our work possible! Click the button to sign up for shifts, or download the VicNet app (see FAQ section below for more information).
Bagged Lunch Donations
One of our consistently needed volunteer opportunities is assembling and donating bagged lunches to support our Meals Program!
Interested in Volunteering?
Most of the volunteer opportunities available are in our Meals Program. We now serve seated breakfast 5 days a week and will have dinner shifts later this fall. If this is your first time volunteering with us, please fill out the application form through the link below. If you are interested in more information about skills sharing, committees, the Governing Board, or Auxiliary Board, please check out the FAQ section below!
General Volunteer FAQs:
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, helping in the kitchen with prep and clean up, and packing bagged lunches (see details above). You can also help out with our Resource Room, providing support for participants as they navigate the computer, internet, and basic applications. Additional opportunities in other programs or departments exist as well; please reach out to email@example.com to learn more.
In addition to volunteer opportunities supporting our programs, we have several ways to get involved with our work.
Board of Directors: Inspiration Corporation seeks individuals with a diversity of experiences, expertise and skills sets to help governs the organization and further our mission. Board members are expected to attend quarterly Board meetings, committee meetings, and events as well as to make connections to external resources and support.
Committees of the Board: Volunteers can share their skills and support the work of the organization by participating on a Committee of the Board. Committees meet regularly and focus on specific areas of governance including Finance, Resource Development, Program and Social Enterprise. We also welcome members to the committee for our annual event, One Inspired Evening.
Auxiliary Board: Young professionals interested in learning more about serving on a Board are encouraged to join our Auxiliary Board. Members have the opportunity to volunteer in our programs, participate in planning fundraising events, and meet network and socialize with individuals who share their interest helping to address the issue of homelessness in their community.
Skills Sharing: Whether you have experience with interviewing, finances, art, health/wellness, we are always looking for fun and educational programming opportunities.
Anyone interested in learning more about these opportunities can contact Mary Coy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are you located? Is 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, VicNet from Volgisitics. You can access this from your internet browser or download the app to your smart phone more information about using the app can be found here. 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 VicNet/Volgistics account.
You can login here: https://www.volgistics.com/vicnet/10115/login.
I forgot my VicNet/Volgistics login information.
You can visit this link and click Password Reset, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Why does VicNet/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!
What are your COVID-19 safety precautions?
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has entered a different phase, the safety of our participants, staff, and volunteers remains one of our highest priorities. To protect yourself and one another, we encourage that all volunteers, as well as staff and participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (and consider getting your annual flu shot). The population we serve is at higher risk for illness, and has challenges accessing the healthcare system.
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.
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, help with meals, and support cleaning/organization/maintenance projects! Breakfast and dinner shifts are available and can accommodate groups of up to 8-10 people (max). Each meal has several cook, server, and kitchen assistant shifts, which may have different start and end times. 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!