Volunteer

Volunteers are essential to the work we do at Care for Real. Volunteers help with packing groceries, distributing food to our clients, working in our warehouse, sorting our clothing donations, providing administrative support and so much more.

New Volunteers

  • Start with filling out an application 
  • You will be contacted to schedule a Virtual Volunteer Orientation Call. We will schedule your first volunteer shift during this call.  

Existing Volunteers 

Current Volunteer Opportunities

We have many different types of volunteer roles available with both weekday and weekend shifts.

  • Sorting and packing groceries
  • Assisting clients
  • Shopping during food distribution
  • Unloading trucks and stocking shelves
  • Assisting drivers with grocery store pickups
  • Sorting clothing donations
  • Staffing reception area and answering phones
  • Group opportunities

Frequently asked questions

What do I need to do to become a volunteer?

To get started volunteering, please fill out an application at careforreal.org/volunteer. After you apply, we will email you with information on how to get started volunteering and orientation materials. All volunteer shifts must be scheduled in advance.  

Can clients serve as volunteers?

Clients are welcome to volunteer with us, but it is not expected or required in any way. We ask that clients do not serve during the shifts they typically receive services.

Can I secure my belongings?

Care for Real provides lockers for volunteers to store their belongings.

Can I complete required volunteer hours at Care for Real?

We welcome students, athletes, and members of other programs that require service-learning hours. Please fill out an application to get started.   For volunteers in need of court-ordered community service, please send us an email to find out if we have space available in our court ordered program. Please note, we cannot accept volunteers in need of community service hours for violent crimes or theft.  

How old do young people need to be to volunteer?

Volunteers aged 16+ can volunteer without a parent or guardian after completing a Volunteer Orientation and a waiver. Younger volunteers can come to select shifts with parents when scheduled in advance. Email us at volunteer@careforreal.org for more information and availability.

What do I need to know for my first shift?

When you arrive, be sure to let someone know you are there for your first shift. They will show you how to sign in and help you get a nametag. If you need a locker, please ask for one. We ask volunteers to limit what they bring with them (especially valuables), as locker space is limited. When serving a morning shift, we ask that volunteers do not arrive earlier than 8:30am.  Please wear a mask a properly fitting mask, comfortable clothing that you can bend and lift in, and closed-toe shoes. Be sure to dress for the weather. Please be aware that some shifts take place outside, and that we often have doors propped when we are distributing groceries or unloading deliveries. Dressing in layers can be helpful.   Feel free to bring your own bottled water, coffee, or whatever you like to have along with you. We also have beverages and snacks available. If you’d like to bring a lunch with you for days when you are serving a longer shift, feel free to put your lunch in the volunteer fridge. Ask a staff member if you are not sure where this is.   All training will take place during your first shift.  

Where can I park?

There is no parking available at our sites. Please do not park behind the Edgewater location to avoid being towed. Street parking is available at both locations are easily accessible via CTA. 

Can my group volunteer at Care for Real?

We love volunteer groups! Please get started by sending us an email at volunteer@careforreal.org. 

What COVID-19 policies are currently in place?

For everyone’s safety, all volunteers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Boosters are highly recommended. Volunteers will be asked for verbal confirmation of vaccination status. Please be assured that staff have already been fully vaccinated. This is for the safety of all volunteers, staff, and clients.   We continue to require masks covering the mouth and nose inside Care for Real facilities. We ask that volunteers cancel their volunteer shift if they are not feeling well. 

Where do I go for my volunteer shift?

Care for Real Edgewater – 5339 N Sheridan  When you are facing the building, you will see a driveway on the left  (north) side of the building. Walk this driveway to the back of the building and come in through the gray double doors marked Care for Real.     Care for Real Rogers Park- 1545 W Morse at the United Church of Rogers Park  Enter through the church’s entrance on Morse and head down the stairs to the basement. 

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