Come together to help others on their healing journeys.
Because we serve about 400 meals per day from our kitchen, we always have plenty of opportunities for groups to serve! This often means volunteering during a meal shift, or helping behind-the-scenes with simple food preparation or cleaning.
We have a fully operational kitchen and dining facility that serves 3 meals a day to our guests and staff (only breakfast and dinner served on Sundays). Volunteers who sign up to serve during a meal shift may be asked to assist with bussing tables, serving food on the line, simple food preparation (i.e. cutting fruit and vegetables, etc.), cleaning, or may be asked to assist with other kitchen tasks, depending on where help is needed most that day.
Behind-the-scenes opportunities (such as simple food preparation or cleaning/organizing) are also available between meal shifts.
The fall is always a busy season for Water Street! We have additional opportunities available in the kitchen to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and help is needed to sort incoming food donations from our Fall Food Drive. Sign in to your volunteer account to sign up for these opportunities, or contact the Volunteer Office for assistance.
Can’t make it to campus, but would still like to help? Participate in our Rescue Mission Food Drive!
We are incredibly grateful to individuals and groups who offer their time and professional services to Water Street. Please contact the Volunteer Office to see what opportunities may be available in your area of expertise.
In the event that we do not have a project that matches the needs/goals of your group, please let us know if we may contact you at a later date if a project becomes available.
*Due to limited staffing on evenings and weekends, opportunities are currently only offered during weekday business hours.
The Winter Weekend Day Shelter (WWDS) is a safe and warm place for our Guests to stay during the day on Saturdays and Sundays when other options are not available. It is a unique opportunity for a group to come get to know our Guests without a longer-term commitment. Help us create a fun atmosphere where Water Street Guests feel valued. Simply be a presence to connect and engage with Guests, or create activities to have fun together!
Can’t make it to campus, but would still like to help? Consider hosting a donation drive! Your food donations help us serve about 400 hot meals every day, as well as provide groceries to hundreds of Lancaster City families each week. Your donations of essential items meet the everyday needs of our Guests.
If you already have an account with us, you can use the portal login link below. If not, set up a new account today! You can also sign up your group using the links below.
Throughout this season, we have encountered a number of challenges in operating our shelter safely. Thankfully we have been blessed to see no community spread among our guests. This is due not only to the work of our team, but also the ways that upgrades to our facilities came at just the right time.
For example, Providence Shelter, which opened in November 2019, provides additional spacing and a top-tier air filtration system. We have also been able to implement the same air filtration standards in our dining hall prior to the most recent wave of COVID.
Because a high percentage of our guests have preexisting health conditions, we have had to be diligent in our safety protocols, doing our best to ensure their safety. For us that has included implanting all CDC disinfecting, masking and social distancing from the very beginning. This has led to major changes in roles and responsibilities of staff. Staff have taken over disinfecting in shifts all over campus. They have also delivered much of our support services and programs through zoom, hosting counseling sessions and classes virtually and meeting in-person with plexi-glass dividers only when necessary.
For meals, we’ve changed preparation and delivery to help minimize interaction of guests who live in different facilities. At times that has meant delivering meals to certain Residential Floors so we can keep smaller groups in the dining hall. We have also had to restrict guests’ travel on and off campus to only essential trips such as going to work, the doctors, shopping etc., in order to minimize unnecessary exposure.
Another change in this season has been how we do intakes. Currently, the intake process requires new guests to be tested for COVID-19. They await their test results in a separate temporary shelter we have set up, before entering Providence Emergency Shelter.
All of these changes have been made while severely limiting the number of volunteers on campus. At one point, all volunteering was completely put on hold. Now, we are running with a third of our normal volunteers.
And it’s been tiring, for both staff and guests. We have had times where many staff were working remotely due to their own health risks. Other times where staff or guests have been quarantined due to exposures. But even with all of the schedule changes, increased overtime, and cross-shift working, our team has done an amazing job persevering through all of the challenges.
What to Expect This Winter Typically we have over 200 total guests on campus, over 100 in our Residential Programs over and 100 in our Emergency Shelters. Although our Residential capacity remains about the same, we have had to reduce the available beds in Providence Shelter to ensure safe spacing overnight from about 75 to 55.
Winter always presents its own challenges, so we anticipate this year will be no different. Women in our Providence Shelter have moved over to the shelter at St. Mary’s across the street, run by the Lancaster Food Hub. During their stay there they have full access to all of our services, including showers, food and staff support. Not only does having women shift to St. Mary’s enable us to free up additional beds for men, it will help us keep the shelter populations separate and limit the risk of spread.
Thank You We have been so encouraged by the support we have received this year. Without a community coming around us and our guests, we would not be able to keep our guests safe and continue to guide them in their restoration journeys. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you.