Select Page



               GOLDEN SIGN UP


                         FIRST TIMERS

                                   VOLUNTEER RIGHTS



Meal prep, receiving deliveries, organizing our stockroom, distributing pantry bags or dinner, hosting at our Drop-in Center: DESK has a variety of volunteer opportunities!  Activities take place in three different locations in Downtown New Haven — 311 Temple Street, 266 State Street, and 57 Olive Street.  DESK’s Volunteer Coordinator, Ryan, is available by email or phone to answer your questions.  If you’d like to organize a group, please reach out to Ryan first.


Can’t find a shift to match your schedule?  Consider organizing a food, clothing, or toiletry drive!


When you’re ready to sign yourself up for a shift, go to our Golden page.  If you need help, check out this Registration How To video or watch below.                                                                                                                                                                                               





  • Age: In general, all volunteers must be at least 12 years old, and those under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult (unless prior arrangements have been made). In some cases, we allow younger volunteers, but this must be arranged in advance with our staff. While we encourage all children to learn about the work we do at DESK, most volunteer opportunities and the general environment of our program may not be appropriate for very young children. If you’re interested in arranging a tour, which might be more appropriate for school groups, please contact us.


  • Dress: Dress appropriately for (1) serving the public, (2) working in a kitchen, and (3) working in an environment that can be very cold or hot depending on the weather. Also, expect to get a little dirty. Tank tops with wide straps, shorts (midthigh or longer), jeans, and sweatshirts are fine. And everyone must wear closed-toe shoes. Make sure your clothing is comfortable and the type of clothing in which you can move easily. Volunteers who are not dressed appropriately may be asked to leave.


  • Head Covering: Those who are working with food, whether in preparation or serving, must wear some type of head covering. (Fitted hats that contain hair are acceptable). We provide hair nets.


  • Reporting Your Hours: If you need documentation as part of a credit-based community service program or at a court-appointed time, be sure to notify us of this by email at upon completion of your hours. We will do our best to provide electronic verification letters within three business days or hard copies within seven business days. Requests for documentation must be made within six months of the last volunteer shift.


  • Court Appointed: We are unable to accommodate court-appointed volunteers whose service is related to any type of violent crime. If you have any questions about what constitutes a violent crime, please contact us.


  • Use of multimedia: Please don’t take photos of the people your serving. DESK strictly prohibits the use of any multimedia recording device (audio, video, photography, etc.) to capture information about our Guests and clients without written consent. We consider this to be as much a matter of privacy as it is of dignity. However, we encourage you to take photos of yourself and fellow volunteers so you can show off the amazing work you’re all doing on social media!


  • If you have any physical or other restrictions that may affect your work here at DESK, please let us know in advance so that we can do our best to accommodate you. For more information, contact or call (475) 238-6170.



  1. The right to work in a safe environment.
  2. The right to be treated with respect by all staff members.
  3. The right to participate in meaningful work and be actively included regardless of any physical limitations.
  4. The right to be told what impact your work has on the community.
  5. The right to ask any member of staff about the work of the organization.
  6. The right to provide feedback on your experience.
  7. The right to receive financial information or an annual report.

If at any time a volunteer feels that the above rights have been infringed in any way, they should notify the Executive Director, Steve Werlin at or the Board President at