Ask any organization that relies on volunteers, and they’ll tell you that volunteers greatly augment the impact an organization can have in the community. It’s a win for volunteers too, who gain a sense of connection to others while helping people.
West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM), an organization devoted to serving people with nowhere to turn, needs more volunteers devoted to its cause. WHAM’s mission has become more paramount as COVID-19 has deepened the financial crises families face. Further, the pandemic has permanently changed the way WHAM conducts its food pantry and registers clients in its Client Services department.
No limits: volunteers can serve WHAM all year
WHAM volunteers are often college students who serve when they’re on a break from classes, or those who are between jobs who feel a need to serve the community while they are not working. But WHAM, which needs volunteers year-round, finds that its most stable group of volunteers are retirees who have a desire to keep busy, make new friends, and give back.
“We are committed to excellence and going the extra mile to assist those who come to us for help,” said Mark Brown, WHAM CEO. “We need volunteers and community partners to go the extra mile with us. Many people are struggling to put food on the table. Others are in dire circumstances and cannot meet their basic needs. WHAM is here to relieve their suffering. We need more volunteers to help us spread hope to Houston families.”
“As a WHAM volunteer, you are special because of your dedication to the mission of spreading hope,” said Ella Clark, WHAM’s volunteer coordinator. “You will serve everyone who comes to us for assistance as if they are members of our family. Our volunteers are amazing people!”
WHAM uses several ways to recruit volunteers. Brown often mentions WHAM’s needs in his regular web updates and on Facebook. During speaking engagements at churches and other venues, Brown encourages audiences to consider volunteer opportunities. WHAM posts ads for specific volunteer positions its website, VolunteerMatch, and Volunteer Houston.
Volunteering: the happiness effect
Halina Koziell has volunteered in the WHAM Resale store since 1996. “I enjoy volunteering here very much,” said Koziell. “The work we do here helps to feed those that are hungry. I am pleased that the work I do here contributes to the needy families in our community.”
Jim Kilmoyer has been a WHAM volunteer for four years. “It’s been a good experience for me,” said Kilmoyer. “We stock shelves and support the food distribution. We make a lot of friendships here and we do a lot of work together. Volunteering at WHAM has been a very positive thing in my life.”
If you are interested in supporting WHAM’s mission, here is a list of volunteer opportunities. All are located at WHAM’s Westchase District headquarters, 10501 Meadowglen Lane, unless otherwise noted. Please contact WHAM for specific time commitments.
Food Distribution Intake Volunteers – Needed Monday through Friday, intake volunteers go car to car for one hour and/or sit in the lobby to register clients for food assistance by using a tablet to record demographic information.
Client Services Intake Volunteers – Needed Monday through Friday, these volunteers sit in the client lobby to register clients for various services, including, food, rental and utility assistance, and other assistance based on WHAM’s ability to meet their needs.
WHAM Food Distribution – Needed Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, this volunteer opportunity requires three hours per day and is also available for groups.
Second Blessing Store – Volunteers are needed for various retail positions Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm. The store has a minimum commitment of four hours per day and is available for groups.
WHAM Satellite Pantry Food Distribution – Held at Church at the Cross, 3835 S Dairy Ashford Road, this volunteer event takes place the second Saturday of each month. Minimum commitment is three hours per day. This opportunity is available for groups.
WHAM Satellite Pantry Clothing distribution/Office Assist – Needed every Thursday, this volunteer commitment is for two hours.
Backpack Buddy Food Distribution – Needed on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, this volunteer opportunity is for students and has a minimum commitment of fours hours per day.
West Houston Assistance Ministries
10501 Meadowglen Lane