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Table of Contents Over view ………………………………………………………………………….. 3 Rotating Site Volunteer Information ………………………………………………. 7 General Information for Host Congregations ……………………………… 7 Organizing Your Volunteers ………………………………………………………... 10 Volunteer Coordinator ……………………………………………………… 10 Activity Coordinators ………………………………………………………. 11 Team Leaders………………………………………………………………… 11 Winter Nights Staff Responsibilities ………………………………………………... 12 Volunteer Task Lists ………………….. …………………………………………… 13 Appendices Volunteer Sign-in/out Sheet …………………………………………………... 22 Guest Registration Log……………………………………………………… 23 Stored Medication Log………………………………………………………… 24 Volunteer List ………………………………………………………………… 25 Activity Volunteer Schedule ………………………………………………….. 26 Congregation Evaluation Form ……………………………………………….. 27


The Winter Nights Program is a volunteer effort under the auspices of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, funded by contributions from faith congregations and individuals in Contra Costa County. General Operation of the Program The Program provides shelter for homeless families with children and ambulatory elders capable of self-care. It operates during winter months in congregational facilities that serve as a shelter on a rotating basis and is staffed by qualified paid professional staff and volunteers and will cease operations in early May. Many communities in the county participate in the shelter program. The program is offered to provide protection from the elements for some of the most vulnerable homeless individuals in the County, namely children and elders. Additionally, it is anticipated that support for basic needs will assist these individuals and families to make progress toward their goal of permanent housing. Professional case management services may be provided when available, and referrals are made to appropriate agencies to assist clients in achieving permanent housing. The Shelter hours of operation are 5:30 pm to 6:30 am Monday through Friday, and 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday during winter months. Host congregations provide participants with a hot evening meal, a cold breakfast, and supplies for clients to prepare bag lunches. On weekdays, participants are either working or have other planned daytime activities. They may attend a program oasis site during the facility’s non-operating hours to work on securing employment or permanent housing. Participants are not at the congregational shelter sites during daytime hours. Some congregations may choose to provide weekend activities during the day on-site or in the community for residents who wish to participate. Winter Nights Staff:  Coordinates the Program  Provides screening and overnight operational management  See Program Staff responsibilities for more detail (p. 12 ). The host congregation provides:  Space for shelter of 30 individuals and their belongings as specified in the Client Guidelines.  A Volunteer Coordinator who serves as point person for the congregation and organizes the contributions of the congregation.  Volunteers to staff all program activities, do linen laundry, and set up and take down equipment and supplies.  Meals prepared by the congregation.  See General Information for Host Congregations (p.7) and Organizing Your Volunteers (p. 10)


Early preparation Before a congregation decides to participate in the Program, it should consider: Address Congregational Concerns:  Meet with the congregation/governing body to explain the Program  Emphasize the limited nature of the commitment  Reiterate that this is not a drop-in shelter  Determine the level of interest and likely participation  Program staff can provide a presentation to the congregation/governing body  A few members of the congregation might visit the Program at another location. This can be arranged by the Program Manager Things to consider:  Do you have sufficient space for 30 beds, an eating area, and an area for children’s activities?  Can you provide an outdoor “smoking station”?  Do you have at least 50 volunteers?  You may want to partner with another congregation.  A volunteer coordinator, and activities coordinators to assist should be selected early  Pick a convenient date.  Plan for recruitment and orientation of volunteers Orientation of volunteers  Program staff will provide an orientation for each congregational site in advance  Coordinators should plan on orienting the other volunteers  Coordinators may want to visit another site. Monday evenings are not advised since guests are just settling in to a new site.  Consider the ratio of volunteers to guests so as not to overwhelm guests. Volunteers’ Kids  Volunteers’ kids need supervision. Ordinarily, young children should not be brought to the shelter.  Prepare these children to understand what the homeless children are going through  Be sure they understand the importance of confidentiality, as some may go to the same school as some of the children in the shelter  Being homeless is a painful experience and some of the children may not want to interact with others. They must be respected in this need.  Provide structure for the volunteers’ kids if they participate. Children should have assigned activities supporting shelter operations. They are not there as observers, but to serve others Meals:



It is helpful to have a meal coordinator who plans menus in order to ensure that kid friendly foods are included, and that the guests are served a variety of nutritional foods over the week.

Organization  After deciding to participate you will need to get organized early. See Organizing Your Volunteers (p.10) for more information  After you have selected the Volunteer Coordinator, it is helpful to identify coordinators for each of the activity areas to assist in planning and organizing your contributions and volunteers  Finding volunteers. You might choose to: o Have individuals sign up for a specific activity, or o Have groups sign up, and schedule the volunteers from their members Evening activities  Plan to create a comfortable place for families to relax, e.g. videos, board games, reading material, daily newspapers, etc  Provide tutoring and kids’ activities  It is helpful to have a consistent person there for kids’ activities every evening  Activities should not be stimulating, as bedtime comes early. Sleeping overnight  Two people are needed every night – preferably one man and one woman  Mattresses are provided.  Bring your own sleeping bag or bedding and pillow  Sweats are suggested as sleeping attire  If you want to consolidate jobs you might have the overnight volunteers help serve breakfast or clean up Weekends  Program staff will be available 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday.  At least one member of the congregation must be present at all times, no matter how many guests are present  Consider if having the guests present will work with your spiritual services. You may want to invite the guests to your services  Some guests may have other places to go during the weekends or may choose not to participate in a particular activity, so signups are recommended.  Possible activities include bowling, picnics, movies, etc. You will need a budget for such activities  You do not have to plan off site activities. Guests need some “down time”.  Possible additional services include hair cutting, manicures, sewing machine/mending supplies, showers, supervised youth volunteers to interact with children, or trips to a laudromat.


Evaluation  It is important that an evaluation of your experience as a host site be completed.  We will also be asking your help in completing sign in/out forms, and guest registrations, so we know who participated.  Your evaluation will be combined with others to make an overall evaluation of the program  In that way, we will be able to tell about our success, how we helped the homeless, and we will know what was contributed by all who served. Follow up  It is important to acknowledge your volunteers, perhaps in a newsletter, at a service, or a party  Plan to get feedback from your volunteers. A form can be provided.  It is a good idea to hold a meeting with all your coordinators to complete evaluation forms, share their own insights, and make plans for the next hosting of the shelter.



The host site team will provide:  Safe shelter for up to 30 guests  A crew of 4 to 6 individuals to unload the truck and set up the shelter on the first morning (Monday), and to pack supplies and equipment and load the truck on the last morning of the hosting period (Monday). Breakfast (5:30 – 6:15am), food and drinks for bag lunches (prepared by clients after dinner), and dinner (6:30 pm) for the guests. Volunteers are encouraged to join the guests at mealtimes, not eat with each other. This is an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with the individual guests. Volunteers handling food must wear gloves. Sufficient volunteers to assist children with homework and other activities. Parents remain responsible for children’s behavior. The number will vary depending on the number of children participating. Volunteers to oversee the adult quiet hour (8:30-9:30pm) in conjunction with the Site Supervisor. Two people to stay overnight to assist the Site Supervisor with the physical plant and guest needs. Overnight volunteers will be provided mattresses but provide their own sleeping bag or bedding. Overnight volunteers are encouraged to arrive early enough to meet and mingle with the guests. They are not required to remain awake, but may be awakened if needed by the Shelter Supervisor. We anticipate only minimal “housekeeping” will be needed for the areas used by the guests. Meal volunteers will be expected to clean the kitchen after serving. Volunteers will be needed each morning to clean bathrooms and restock supplies. Congregations will supply the cleaning supplies and equipment. Volunteers on the last morning of the host commitment to launder linens and transport them to the next hosting site. Congregations may choose to use a laundromat. Those handling linens should use gloves as a method of universal precautions. Heavily soiled linen may be disposed of without laundering.



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 The host congregation may elect to provide planned daytime weekend activities..
Program staff will be on duty. For planning purposes, guests are required to


notify the Site supervisor by Wednesday if they will be present during weekend hours. See section titled “Organizing Your Volunteers” (page 10) for detailed descriptions of duties for volunteers. Additional information:  During each evening shift (5:00pm – 9:30pm), one person should be on duty for the entire time and be designated the team leader. All other volunteers should be aware of this person’s identity. The Site Supervisor must be aware of who is filling the team leader role.  It is important that the program have a record of all volunteers and guests on a daily basis. Everyone – guests and volunteers – will be expected to sign in every day. Common sense, consistency, trust, patience, understanding, and being a good listener may be considered as virtues for the volunteers during this shelter experience. Remember that this is an extremely difficult time in the lives of the guests. Communal living requires that standards are established for behavior and for operation of the shelter site. The consistency that follows ensures an orderly, less stressful experience for all involved. Volunteers should be aware of these standards. So that no favoritism is perceived, it is critical that volunteers do not give rides, gifts, clothes or money, permit use of personal cell phones, or invite guests to their homes for any reason. Transportation problems of guests will be referred to the Site Supervisor. Please do not bring any clothing to the shelter site, due to lack of storage, unless cleared in advance with the Site Supervisor. Anything not used by the clients must remain with the congregations. Donations of disposable supplies and hygiene items may be needed and will be gratefully accepted. The Site supervisor will have a cell phone, but it is helpful if the staff has access to an on site telephone. Clients will not have access to this phone or the cell phone. Every week, the current host site is responsible for ensuring that all supplies and equipment reach the next site in a timely way. The Program will provide a truck and driver to transport these items. If linens are cleaned prior to the truck run they may be included. If not, they must be delivered separately to the next site.









Inform the Site Supervisor about which areas of your facility may be accessed by the guests. All areas used by the guests must be supervised at all times. Be sure to schedule sufficient volunteers to ensure that this is possible. Guest will normally arrive beginning at 5:30pm and must have checked in by 6:30 pm unless an exception has been arranged for a serious reason, such as work requirements. All guests will depart by 6:30am. Guests are expected to have their children in bed by 8:30pm, with lights out for all by 9:30pm. The intervening hour is designated as adult quiet hour, and if possible a supervised area for quiet conversation and reading may be provided. Parents remain responsible for their children during this period. Should you ever provide first aid treatment or cleanup any body substance such as urine or blood, you must wear disposable gloves. This is known as “universal precautions” and is used in any communal living situation for the health protection of all concerned. Soiled items that are disposed of should be placed in a separate tied bag.




NOTE: It is extremely important that all volunteers are familiar with the Client
Participation Guidelines. See separate document by that name.


VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR Each host site will identify a primary contact person, known as the Volunteer Coordinator, to organize the volunteer activities, and to communicate with the Shelter Staff. This is a vital role and requires a clear understanding of the anticipated needs of the program and services to be provided by the volunteers. It is strongly suggested that the Volunteer Coordinator identify a team of others to be responsible for segments of the shelter activities. For example, meals coordinator, setup and takedown crew coordinator, children’s homework and activities coordinator, overnight volunteer coordinator, etc. Volunteer Coordinator Qualifications:  Availability to work closely with the Site Supervisor  Able to coordinate shelter requirements with other congregational activities and personnel.  Able to coordinate and manage scheduling of congregation volunteers Volunteer Coordinator Duties (using the team of activity coordinators):  Identifies a team of Activity Coordinators to assist in planning and coordinating. For example, Meal Coordinator, Kids’ Activities Coordinator, Setup/Take down Coordinator, etc.  Works with Program Manager and Site Supervisor to coordinate shelter operations with the needs of the congregation  Works with Activity Coordinators to ensure that sufficient volunteers are recruited and substitutes are provided when necessary to staff shelter activities.  Ensures that all volunteers are oriented to shelter policies and procedures, including boundaries of relationships with guests.  Assigns one volunteer each day to be the evening Team Leader  Informs the Site Supervisor on a daily basis of the names and phone numbers of all volunteers who are scheduled and what duties they will perform.  If any daily site arrangements must be accomplished, ensure that sufficient volunteers are available in a timely fashion so that everything is prepared for the arrival of the guests.  Working with Meal Coordinator, coordinates on site preparation of meals.  Working with Kids’ Activities Coordinator, ensures that homework supervision and activities for the children are planned, and all necessary supplies and equipment are available. Tutoring is an extremely valuable service and should be provided.  Arranges for daily cleaning of the shelter facilities after departure of the participants  Schedules volunteers to transport shelter equipment and supplies to the next hosting site.


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Schedules volunteers to launder linens and transport to the next site. If your congregation is able to provide a weekend oasis, ensure that activities are planned and preparations are completed, and sufficient volunteers are assigned.

Activity Coordinators (see above)
Activity coordinators are responsible for:  Scheduling sufficient volunteers each day to complete the particular area of responsibility.  Finding substitutes if necessary.  Notifying the Volunteer Coordinator of the names and phone numbers of volunteers as scheduled on a daily basis  Ensuring that any necessary preparation is completed and all required supplies are available.

Team Leaders
Evening Team leaders are responsible for:  Being fully oriented to the procedures and client participation guidelines.  Works with the Site Supervisor to resolve questions related to the physical plant and site requirements.  Ensures that all volunteers sign in and out  Answer questions from other volunteers  Makes sure that all volunteers on duty are aware of any new information that may affect their activity.


Winter Nights Program Staff Responsibilities
The Winter Nights Program Staff consists of an Executive Director, a Program Manager, and several Site Supervisors working various shifts. Program staff will:  Be present and awake during all hours of operation  Work with the host site Volunteer Coordinator and the daily team leader to ensure that all necessary arrangements at the host site are completed. Receives a daily list of volunteers (names, shift, and phone number) from the Volunteer Coordinator. Work with the Volunteer Coordinator to ensure that all volunteers are oriented to shelter policies and procedures. Screen all guests and approve for entrance into the program. Orient guests to the Client Participation Guidelines and witness their signature on the acceptance form. Maintain operational control of the host site during the scheduled hours of operation. On occasion, the site supervisor may accompany the majority of clients to an off site activity, leaving volunteers at the shelter site. If any clients are present at the congregational site, two volunteers must be in attendance. Establish and maintain a positive and healthy shelter environment. Ensuring guest compliance with program guidelines. (See Client Participation Guidelines). Program staff has responsibility for accepting, keeping, or dismissing shelter guests. Manage stressful situations (prior to occurrence if possible). Respond appropriately to contingency situations

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See the Winter Nights Business Plan – Rotating Site Model for detailed job descriptions of Program staff. This document may be accessed online at

VOLUNTEER TASK LISTS The lists on the following pages may be copied and given to volunteers so that they are clear about their responsibilities.


Set up Team Job Description  On the day the shelter opens at your site, arrive promptly at the designated time in      
the morning. The time of arrival of the truck may vary. Your Volunteer coordinator will be notified of estimated time of arrival. Perform any duties required to prepare your site, such as moving room dividers, etc. Set up tables and chairs for 40 people (30 guests and 10 volunteers). Unload the truck. Guests will make their own beds. Store supplies for the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Set up a Kids’ Activities Center. All arrangements must be completed prior to the arrival of the guests at 5:30pm.

Remember, we are here to serve. Be respectful of our guests at all times. Thanks for your loving contributions!!


Evening Team Leader Job Description
      Arrive promptly at 5:00pm to help prepare for the arrival of the guests. Put on a clearly printed nametag. Assist in arranging of space and equipment as required. The Volunteer Coordinator will have made plans to have sufficient help available. Assist guests to sign in and settle for the evening. Be sure all volunteers sign in. Your job is to: o relieve the other volunteers serving dinner, or conducting kids’ activities. from unnecessary distractions o assist the Site Supervisor as needed o handle any communications with your congregation o answer questions about your facility, operational plans, etc. o find substitute volunteers if necessary. When dinner is ready, sit down, mingle with guests, and enjoy dinner. Feel free to join in wherever you can be helpful, but remain available to handle. any questions that arise, or to assist the Site Supervisors as requested.

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Remember, we are here to serve. Be respectful of our guests at all times. Thanks for your loving contributions!!


Dinner Preparation/Serving/Cleanup Team – Job Description
                  Designate someone to be Team Captain for each day. Set arrival time for all volunteers. This will vary depending on how much cooking your congregation will be doing on site, and what your menu is. If you are cooking the meal on site, be sure that all necessary food and supplies are available. If necessary, someone should be designated to shop Dinner must be ready to serve at 6:30 at the latest. Wear disposable gloves when handling food. When volunteers arrive, they should put on a clearly printed nametag Be sure coffee and tea water are turned on in plenty of time You may want to put out healthy finger food, such as vegetables, during the hour prior to dinner. Carry everything needed for dinner into the serving area, including condiments, tableware, dishes, and napkins. Set out food and drinks for bag lunches at the same time dinner is served, so that clients can prepare their lunches when they have finished dinner. Lunches should be labeled with names of guests, and refrigerated. Sit down (with the guests, not each other), mingle and enjoy dinner. Cleanup, putting garbage in cans or other receptacles provided. Place all recyclables into appropriate containers Leave the kitchen as you found it – or better! Notify the Meal Coordinator of any supplies that are low Do not leave any leftovers unless they are snack foods that can be left out. Wash tables and restock supplies for meals.

Remember, we are here to serve. Be respectful of our guests at all times. Thanks for your loving contributions!!


Kids’ Activities Volunteers – Job description
         Plan to arrive by 5:30pm. Put on a plainly written name tag. Each evening, a Team Captain will be identified by the Kids Activities Coordinator. Activities planned will vary depending on the age of the children involved at any given time. Older children and teenagers are acutely aware of the stigma attached to their situation, and sensitivity to this fact is critical. All kids’ activities must be conducted in full view of others. Set up the VCR for the smaller children and those without homework. School age children should begin homework during this time period. Those who do not have homework should be encouraged to read. Play games on the rug with the smaller children. Tutoring is a much needed and very valuable service. Volunteers should be assigned each evening to assist with homework for school age children. It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that homework assignments are known. Homework should be completed before children engage in group activities, etc. You may read a story to a child at any time, if their homework is completed. Share dinner with the guests. After dinner, plan group activities for younger children and for school age children who have completed homework, and obtain any supplies that are needed. Your role is to provide a cheerful, productive, and disciplined environment and encourage good use of time by the children. Remember that they will retire at 8:30pm, so over stimulation is not desirable. Parents remain responsible for the behavior of their children Before leaving, be sure all supplies and equipment have been put away, and any craft activity has been cleaned up.

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Remember, we are here to serve. Be respectful of our guests at all times. Thanks for your loving contributions!!


Sleepover Volunteers - Job Description
        Arrive by 9:00pm to allow time to meet some of the guests. Bring your sleeping bag or bedding and pillow. An air mattress will be provided. You may be most comfortable sleeping in sweats. Put on a clearly printed nametag. Assist the Shelter Coordinator in locking up for the night. Feel free to join in wherever you can be helpful. Be prepared to be awakened if the Shelter Coordinator, who will remain awake, deems your assistance necessary. Help guests prepare for departure. Join the guests for breakfast if you wish.

Remember, we are here to serve. Be respectful of our guests at all times. Thanks for your loving contributions!!


Breakfast Preparation Team – Job Description
               Designate a team captain for each morning. Meal Coordinator should inform team captain about the location of food and supplies to be used. Arrive at 5:00am. Put on a nametag with your name clearly printed. Immediately be sure the coffee pot and tea water have been turned on. Wear disposable gloves while handling food Carry everything needed for breakfast into the area where breakfast will be served. This includes cereal, milk, juice, sweetener and sugar, dishes, bowls, tableware, and napkins Breakfast must be ready by 5:15am. If your congregation has provided food for bag lunches, place refrigerated lunches (labeled with the guest’s name) out to be picked up. Sit down (with the guests, not each other), mingle and enjoy breakfast. Cleanup, putting garbage in cans or other receptacles provided. Place all recyclables into appropriate containers Leave the kitchen as you found it – or better! Notify the meal coordinator of any supplies that are low Wash tables and restock supplies for meals. Assist guests to prepare for departure.

Remember, we are here to serve. Be respectful of our guests at all times. Thanks for your loving contributions!!


Morning Cleanup volunteers – Job description
        Arrive at 6:30 am . Put on a clearly printed nametag. Clean bathrooms and restock toilet paper and towels. Inspect kitchen and complete any cleaning or restocking that is required. Meal crews will generally take care of this before leaving. Sweep floor and rearrange any furniture if needed. If your congregation will need any of the space used by the shelter during the day, complete any required activities to prepare. Launder any soiled linens or dispose of them if appropriate. Wear disposable gloves while cleaning bathrooms or handling linens.

Thanks for your loving contributions!!


Laundry volunteers – Job Description
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Arrive promptly at 6:30 am on the last Monday of the Shelter at your congregation. Take all linens and launder them at home or at a laundromat depending on the decision of your congregation. Fold and sort them. Place them in plastic bags for transport. Deliver them to the next site by 3:00pm that afternoon.

Thanks for your loving contribution!!


Take Down Team – Job Description
    Arrive promptly at the time designated by your Volunteer Coordinator Pack all Shelter supplies for transport, including mattresses, disposables, food, and linens. Load truck Rearrange furniture, room dividers, etc that have been used by the Shelter. Ensure that the space has been returned to the condition preferred by your congregation.

Thanks for your loving contribution!!


Host Site _________________________ Day/Date ______________________________

Please complete a separate form for each day. Please record all Volunteer Activities associated with planning and preparation prior to guests arriving, as well as for hours of operation. Activity categories: planning, coordinating, meal preparation, meal serving, activities for children, loading/unloading truck, set-up/clean-up, sleep over, transportation, other supervision.



Start Time

Finish Time




**Clearly indicate all family members departing. List all departures and re-entry times for the day. Enter FAMILY NAME with all first names in family listed.. NAME
Number of Family Members Leaving the Facility


Winter Nights Program Stored Medication
All prescription and over the counter medications must be stored with staff daily. Medications will be counted and noted on this form daily when received by staff and when returned to the client. If the client accesses the medication while in the shelter, that will be noted as a log-out and a new log-in. Client Name: ___________________ Medication Name Strength/ Quantity Date Filled Date/Str/R (Stored/ Removed) Client Signature Counting Staff Signature Witness Signature



Congregation ____________________________ Dates ___________________________
Name Phone Activity Comments


VOLUNTEER SCHEDULE FOR ____________________________
(activity – meals, sleepover, etc) Activity coordinator __________________________________ Ph ________________


Name (* designates daily lead volunteer)



WINTER NIGHTS PROGRAM EVALUATION FORM CONGREGATION______________________ DATES_______________ Please rate the following
excellent good fair poor

Sleeping area:

Convenience Appearance Eating area: Convenience Appearance Play/study/downtime areas: Convenience Appearance Throughout the week, how well did we do? Treated our guests with dignity Provided a cheerful atmosphere Offered appetizing and nutritious meals Maintained confidentiality Maintained a safe environment Provided tutoring and activities for kids Please rate Winter Nights Staff Courtesy Helpfulness Dedication and interest Knowledge of Program Please rate our volunteers Courtesy Helpfulness Dedication and interest Knowledge of the Program Please rate your overall satisfaction with the Program What did you like best about the Program? What can we do to improve? Use reverse side if necessary.