Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Seven places looking for volunteers this holiday season

(Courtesy The Hope Center)

WILMINGTON — There are over three hundred people without permanent housing in the Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover County areas, according to a 2015 study done by Carolina Demography. The holiday season can be particularly difficult and, though volunteers are needed year-round, Thanksgiving is a crucial time for many area soup kitchens and shelters.

Below is a list of area organizations that offer volunteer opportunities for the holiday season and beyond.

First Fruit Ministries – First Fruit Ministries provides mentoring for homeless men, transition services for homeless women and families striving for permanent housing, community pantries and soup kitchens. They also have outreach programs to help provide the homeless with food on the street and in several unofficial homeless camps in wooded areas around Wilmington.

Senior Pastor Rick Stoker said that they increase their activity and outreach around the holidays and are always looking for extra volunteers. Interested volunteers can find a weekly schedule of events and register online. The First Fruit campus is located at 2750 Vance St. and can be reached at (910) 794-9656.

Good Shepherd Center – The center relies on volunteer work to run both their overnight shelter and soup kitchen operations. There is no minimum – or maximum – limit to volunteering, but the center does require potential volunteers to fill out an application and attend a 30 minute orientation process.

Volunteer Coordinator Whitney Smith said, “We actually don’t have that much need for volunteers on Thanksgiving, but there’s so much for to do leading up to it. Picking up and sorting food, and helping with prep work for the soup kitchen.”

Smith said the center can work with nearly any schedule and is happy to accept volunteers for any amount of time. Interested volunteers should contact Smith through the website to recieve an application and information about the center’s programs and needs. The center is located at 811 Martin St. and can be reached at (910) 763-4424.

LINC – Homelessness is not the only issue in the Cape Fear Area. Leading Into New Communities is a Wilmington-based program that works to help area men recently released from the correctional system by providing therapy, education, health and employment assistance. They also provide youth educational and outreach programs in a further attempt to break the cycle of incarceration. LINC offers numerous volunteer opportunities, including youth outreach, adult rehabilitation programs, transitional living facility and urban farm.

Information about volunteering and donating to LINC, as well as the application form for interested volunteers, can be found on its website.

soup-kitchenMother Hubbard’s Cupboard – Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is a non-profit organization, founded in 1985, that serves as both a community pantry and soup kitchen. They are completely volunteer-run and neither affiliate with or discriminate against any religious organization; their sole mission is feeding Wilmington’s hungry.

Located at 315 Redcross St. in downtown Wilmington, they can be reached at (910) 762-2199. Those interested in volunteering should visit the Cupboard’s website for information or contact them at volunteer@motherhubbardsnc.org with their name, contact information and availability.

United Way – The United Way provides a wide range of services including schools, shelters, senior centers, food banks, low-income neighborhoods and more. The United Way also works with community organizers to help support and staff locally initiated volunteer projects. Their website provides a volunteer portal which matches individual skills and interests with local community projects.

Wilmington Hope Center – The center offers daytime services, including food, shelter and healthcare for Wilmington’s homeless. Three days a week they offer a community meal and accept both food and financial donations. They also offer opportunities for volunteering at their community breakfasts and day time services. The Wilmington Hope Center focuses on building relationships with individuals, and encourages a particular approach in terms of mindset and even how volunteers talk about and to those being helped by the center.

Those interested in more personal level of volunteering should see what to expect when working with the center. The center is located in the Fifth Avenue Methodist Church at 409 S 5th Ave., and can contacted through their website.

Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Center – The center organizes over 40 local congregations to host families and provide food and support services. The center has a support staff that helps Wilmington’s homeless community acquire employment, healthcare, housing and the other support to become independent. The center provides opportunities for volunteering year round, in particular  they look for volunteers to cook meals for area families in need. Volunteers typically cook for groups of nine or ten.

The center works through congregations across town and their support services are located at 4938 Oleander Dr. where they can be reached at (910) 769-4730 for more information about volunteering time, supplies, food or money, contact the center at 910-769-4730 or online.

Is your agency or organization in the Brunswick, Pender or New Hanover County area and offering volunteering opportunities? Email Port City Daily at PCD@localvoicemedia,com and let us know about it.

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