Welcome to the Volunteer Center

Everything you need to be an effective and efficient volunteer!

The Volunteer Center includes downloadable resources and frequently asked questions to help you organize and prepare for the Good Neighbors Homeless Picnic.

Please come back in the Spring to register for the 2017 picnic.

For volunteer-related inquiries, please contact
our Volunteer Chair
via email at volunteers@goodneighborspicnic.org

Volunteer FAQ’s

Q: Who are your volunteers?

A: Our volunteers are composed of people off all ages and backgrounds. Some work as event leaders planning the picnic over an 8-month period. Other volunteers are people who serve the day of the event sharing the common desire of impacting the lives of Central Ohio’s homeless community.

Q: How many volunteers are required to staff the event?

A: It takes some 200-300 volunteers to pull off this event. A planning committee of 40 volunteers works year-long to organize the event. Most volunteers will work as day-of-event volunteers. However, several dozen volunteers are also needed the week leading up to the event to help with sorting clothing or packaging goodie and toiletry bags or the “back to school” backpacks.

Q: How old do you have to be to volunteer?

A: Must be 18 years of age or older. Children between 12 and 17 may volunteer provided an adult will accompany them and supervise them during their volunteer shift.

Q: Can I get community service hours for volunteering?

A: Yes, volunteering at our event is an excellent way to earn service hours. Please bring any and all forms you need filled out with you when you register to volunteer.

Q: Do I need prior experience?

A: Volunteer positions do not require prior experience.

Q: What does a volunteer do?

A: Event assignments include tasks like meeting, greeting, and directing guests, setting up tents, tables and chairs, assisting with children’s activities, serving food, and helping with clean up. Volunteers aim to make the event run as smoothly as possible, and make the picnic a pleasant experience for guests and other volunteers. Some volunteers are designated as Crew Leaders. Crew Leaders are event organizers who have accepted a higher level of responsibility and time commitment than the average volunteer.

Q: What is required of volunteers?

A: We ask that you come with a willing heart and a flexible spirit. In addition, volunteers should report to volunteer check-in half-an-hour prior to the start of their shift and should sign-out at the completion of their shift. There is NO drinking, illegal drugs, weapons, or pets allowed at any time or any place while you are volunteering. Smoking is not allowed in any buildings, around the entrances to buildings, or around children. We ask that you are respectful to others and their beliefs, practices, or standards that might be somewhat different from your own.

Q: Do the volunteers receive training and direction?

A: Yes, day-of-event volunteers are orientated and directed the day of the picnic by experienced Crew Leaders.

Q: What does a volunteer get in return for their work?

A: Volunteers will have a great time, with great people, for a great cause! In addition to having the experience of your life, volunteers will be provided with refreshments the day of the event.

Q: How will I know what my volunteer schedule and assignments are?

A: Prior to the event, you will correspond with the Volunteer Chair to determine the day, and the starting and end times for your volunteer shift. You will also be given a general idea of what kind of work your volunteer shift will consist of.

Q: How will I know what to do?

A: When you arrive at the event, you will first report to volunteer check-in. They will dispatch you to your work-site. When you arrive at your work-site, a Crew Leader or other volunteer will explain your duties to you. If you have any questions, you can ask the person in charge of your site, or you can approach any one of the event staffers (if in doubt, ask at volunteer check-in how to identify event staffers).

Q: Where do I report for my volunteer shift?

A: Upon arrival, volunteers will need to check-in at the volunteer registration booth located near the shelter house on the park grounds. After check-in is complete volunteers will receive an orientation and will be introduced to their Crew Leader who will lead them to their assigned work station.

Q: What time do I need to go to volunteer check-in?

A: Volunteers should report to volunteer check-in half-an-hour prior to the start of their shift. Arriving at volunteer check-in early is important so that you can get your bearings, receive an orientation, have time to ask questions, and arrive at your assigned area on time and ready to work.

Q: What if I have physical limitations?

A: Let us know if you have physical limitations. Some assignments are more physically-demanding than others.

Q: How far in advance do I need to sign-up to become a volunteer?

A: At least one week’s advanced notice is preferred. Deadline for volunteer registration is Sunday, September 18, 2011.

Q: Typically, how many hours will I work at the event?

A: There is a section on the volunteer sign-up form that allows you to indicate which hours you are available to work. Typically, shifts are broken down into 3 or 8 hour increments.

Q: Can I bring my friend(s) or family?

A: Yes, but we ask that you sign-up each individual who is attending. In order for us to plan volunteer tasking and the number of Crew Leaders required to guide volunteers and maintain a safe event, we need to have an accurate volunteer headcount. Children must be at least 12 years of age or older to volunteer.

Q: Can groups volunteer together?

A: Absolutely! For example, there are specific areas where groups can be beneficial such serving food and assisting with setup or cleanup efforts.

Q: Is there day care for my kids while I volunteer?

A: Unfortunately, Good Neighbors doesn’t offer day care for the children of volunteers attending the event.

Q: What if it is raining or snowing on the day of the event? How will I know if it is canceled?

A: Our event is held rain, snow or shine! However, the event will be canceled on the infrequent occasion when there is a severe snowstorm or thunderstorm predicted or in progress. To find out if we canceled the event, check back on the home page of this site.

Q: Where can I park?

A: Click here to view a list of parking locations. All parking areas are a short walk to the event site. No parking is allowed inside the park to allow room for guest transportation. We suggest that volunteer groups car pool to avoid parking hassles.

Q: Is parking free?

A: Depending on where you park, most on-street parking is available free of charge on roads bordering the park. However, some fees apply if you choose to park at a meter, parking garage, or lot. Click here to view a list of parking locations.

Q: When my shift is over what should I do?

A: All volunteers will need to sign-out at the volunteer registration booth.

Q: What happens if I’m signed up to volunteer and I need to cancel?

A: Contact the Volunteer Chair as soon as possible so that a substitution can be made.

Q: What happens if I need to leave early?

A: If you know you are going to need to leave earlier than your scheduled time, please let someone at volunteer registration know when you check-in or as soon as possible.

Q: What happens if there is an emergency?

A: If there is an emergency of some type, please notify the Crew Leader who is in charge at your work station or Emergency personnel at the event.

Q: What should I wear?

A: Be aware that much of the event is outdoors, so dress appropriately for rainy, windy or cold weather. The most important item to wear is sturdy closed toe shoes. Dress in layers and in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Other items to consider wearing or bringing are gloves and a hat. Leave personal items in your car such as purses and backpacks. Good Neighbors will not be responsible for misplaced items.

Q: Should I bring something to eat and drink?

A: You don't need to bring food (unless you are sticking to a specific diet). Plenty of food will be provided during the event, along with sodas, water, and hot drinks. Volunteers are encouraged to eat and socialize with the homeless guests.

Q: What happens to my e-mail address if I supply it?

A: Good Neighbors maintains a general volunteer’s e-mail list which is used to send out announcements about volunteer opportunities for the homeless picnic. If you volunteer for the Good Neighbors Homeless Picnic and supply an e-mail address, we will add you to our list. This list is never given, sold, or lent, or used for any purposes except to send out volunteer notices about the Good Neighbors Homeless Picnic. Unfortunately, our system is somewhat low-tech. You can be either OFF the list or ON the list (we aren't able at this point to accommodate any other preferences or filters). If you no longer wish to receive notices, please let us know and you will be removed from the list. If you want to go off the list at the end of the event, you will need to notify us. If you want to be back on the list in time for the next event, you will need to re-volunteer and supply an e-mail at that time. To go ON or OFF the volunteer e-mail list, send an e-mail to our Volunteer Chair at volunteers@goodneighborspicnic.org

“Extraordinary people make an extraordinary event happen! Thank You!”