How Your Time Impacts Our Mission

Roast Beef Night!

DESK is powered by a corps of dedicated volunteers who prepare food, set up the dining room, serve meals, clean up, operate our weekly pantry, stock our shelves, transport donations, and assist with a variety of administrative tasks and fundraising efforts.  With a limited staff, we cannot do it without our amazing volunteers … and that’s how we like it!  When more people meet and interact with those in need, we are building community.  When volunteers shake the hands of our guests and give them a smile and sympathetic ear at dinner, we are forming connections.  The path to recovery, health, and equity is paved with understanding.

Volunteer Opportunities

Are you ready to volunteer?  Here’s what to do:

  1. Scroll down and take a quick look at our guidelines on this page below, especially those regarding age restrictions and community service hours.
  2. Click on the button below to go to our page.  There you can browse around and find a date and time that works for you.  You can even sign up multiple volunteers at once!   If you’d like to sign up a group of more than six, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator.  If you’re having trouble with the page, please contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, or call us at (203) 624-6426.

    Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on

  3. Once you’re signed up, please fill out the online Volunteer Release and Waiver of Liability form.  It’s quick and easy, and it will save you a few minutes when you first arrive at DESK.
  4. A few days before your scheduled shift, you’ll receive an email reminder.
  5. On the day you’re scheduled, come to 311 Temple Street in New Haven.  We’re located in the basement of the Center Church Parish House.  Enter through the basement stairs on the north-side of the building (to the left when you’re facing the building).  Ring the bell, and you’ll be greeted by other volunteers or our Program Manager, Meagan.

Community Service & Court-Appointed Hours

If you need documentation as part of a credit-based community service program or court-appointed hours, please be sure to notify us about this via email at [email protected]. We will make every effort 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.

A Few Guidelines and Rules

Southern Connecticut State University’s Muslim Student Association, helping to paint DESK’s dining hall for their service event.  The event was a community service event at SCSU called, “The Big Event”.

DESK is committed to the health and safety of both our guests and our volunteers.  To that end, we ask that all volunteers follow the guidelines laid out below.

  • All volunteers must be at least 12 years-of-age, and those who are under 16 years-of-age must be accompanied by an adult.
  • All volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes.
  • Those who are working with food, either in preparation or serving, must wear a head-covering of some type.  (Close-fitting hats that contain hair are acceptable.) We can provide head-coverings, if needed.
  • Volunteers working in the kitchen or stock room cannot be current Food Pantry clients.  Former clients must wait 30 days from last date-of-service to volunteer in either the kitchen or stock room.
  • We cannot accommodate court-appointed volunteers whose service is related to any kind of theft infraction.

For more information.  Contact [email protected] or call (203) 624-6426.

Volunteer Bill of Rights

DESK maintains the following rights for all our volunteers:

  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 be engaged in meaningful work and be actively included regardless of any physical limitation.
  4. The right to be told what impact your work has on the community.
  5. The right to ask any staff member about the organization’s work.
  6. The right to provide feedback about 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 upon in any way, s/he should notify the Executive Director, Steve Werlin, at [email protected], or the Board President, Dan Scholfield, at [email protected].