Catholic Charities sounds call for volunteers - Catholic Courier

Catholic Charities sounds call for volunteers

Want to find that perfect gift for Catholic Charities of Chemung/Schuyler? No need to visit stores: The agency’s greatest wish is your gift of time.

Volunteers are needed for Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services Center in Elmira to fill such roles as receptionist, interviewer, clothing and pantry worker, and food pick-up driver. Anybody who has even a couple of hours to spare per week would be welcomed and appreciated, said Thea Sobkowski, the center’s program coordinator.

The Emergency Services Center provides individuals and families with emergency assistance related to food, clothing, shelter, prescriptions, rent and utilities. As the Samaritan Center, it has been located the last nine years at 380 S. Main St. In 2009, Second Place East Homeless Services moved to that location as well.

“As we’ve grown, we’ve seen more individuals coming into the center and accessing more than one service. That increases our clients, and in turn we need more volunteer people,” Sobkowski explained.

Sobkowski noted that this need is especially profound during the winter months due to a sharp increase of clients who require help with their heating bills. In addition, she observed that most of the center’s volunteer base is senior citizens with some heading south for the winter, so “we need individuals around the Elmira area to fill in and pick up the slack.” For example, the food pantry is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. but has extended hours on Tuesdays until 6 p.m., so Sobkowski suggested the Tuesday-afternoon slot for potential volunteers who may just be getting off their work shifts.

Volunteer duties at the Emergency Services Center might range from greeting clients, looking over applications to make sure they’re filled out properly, sorting food and clothing, or picking up food at area bakeries and grocery stores in their own vehicles. Anybody who can help out should contact Sobkowski at 607-734-4898, ext. 201.

Catholic Charities has provided these types of services for more than 30 years to the Chemung County area, but Sobkowski said that’s not possible without a strong volunteer base of folks who work short weekly shifts and others who offer more extensive commitments.

“Whatever fits into someone’s schedule, we’re more than happy to have them,” Sobkowski said. She added that tax season is just around the corner and so beginning in late January, Catholic Charities will need volunteer tax preparers one or two days per week to assist with the free service it provides.

Tags: Catholic Charities, Faith in Action
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