Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for your interest in volunteering! On this page you will find answers to commonly asked questions about the ways to get involved at Rosie's Place.
What do individual volunteers do?
Click here to learn about ways volunteers help.
Can men volunteer?
Absolutely! We welcome male volunteers.
Can I complete community service hours at Rosie’s Place?
Yes, please review the Community Service Policy to determine if our program will meet your requirements.
What is the age requirement?
Volunteers must be 12 or older and children aged 12-15 may help out in the dining room if they are accompanied by an adult who is also a registered Rosie’s Place volunteer.
If I’ll be volunteering with my child, do we both need to fill out applications?
Yes. All volunteers must complete an application and sign up for shifts using VolunteerNet.
What is VolunteerNet?
VolunteerNet is an online portal that individual volunteers use to access their service history, update their contact information as well as sign up for volunteer openings in the next 30 days. Volunteers receive access to VolunteerNet after completing the application process.
What are the steps to becoming an individual volunteer?
1. Complete an Application.
2. Receive access to VolunteerNet within 1 business day.
3. Log into VolunteerNet and sign up for a shift or a tour.
Can I apply to volunteer in person or over the phone?
Those options are not available; due to the size of our program, we must rely on an automated application and scheduling system. Volunteers are required to apply and sign up for shifts online.
How long will it take to process my application?
We process applications daily Monday-Friday. Typically, you‘ll hear back within 1 business day.When will I be able to start signing up for shifts?You will have access to VolunteerNet after your application has been processed. You will be unable to sign up for shifts until you have completed a volunteer application and have received your login information for VolunteerNet. This takes about 1 business day.
Why haven’t I heard back yet?
We try to process applications within 1 business day, but sometimes it may take a bit longer. Also:
• Did you check your spam folder?
• Did you mistype or list a different email on your application?
• Did you omit a phone number from your application?
If you are still having problems, please email email@example.com.
What should I do when I arrive for my first shift?
Arrive promptly and use the PIN you received with your VolunteerNet login to sign in on the kiosk in the lobby. Report to your assignment or ask the front desk for directions. Once there, please notify staff that this is your first shift and you’ll get an overview of how you will be helping.
Are there opportunities beyond what is advertised on VolunteerNet?
Of course! These opportunities include friendly visiting, teaching ESOL and leading art workshops and typically require weekday availability and additional training, as well as a regular commitment. The first step in getting involved is to sign up for the “Tour of Rosie’s Place Volunteer Opportunities” on VolunteerNet. Tours are offered on weekdays several times a month.
Are there opportunities to volunteer on nights and weekends?
Yes, but please be aware that these are our most popular shifts and fill up very quickly. Any available evening or weekend openings are advertised on VolunteerNet.
How can I support Rosie’s Place if I work full-time?
Some ways to help whenever you have the time are:
• Subscribing to our email list.
• Organizing a toiletry or food drive.
• Holding a fundraising event.
• Selling Women’s Craft Cooperative products at your workplace or community event.
• Joining our Friends of Rosie’s Place young professionals group.
My friends and family want to serve a meal together. Are we individual or group volunteers?
Catering as a group is the easiest way to volunteer with several people. Catering groups schedule in advance, reserve spots for their group members, and underwrite food costs for $350. If catering is not an option for your group, you are welcome to apply to become individual volunteers and sign up for shifts using VolunteerNet. Although you won’t necessarily be volunteering together, you can experience helping in the dining room.
Do you offer tours?
Yes. Tours are offered weekdays several times a month. These 1-hour information sessions are a chance to visit Rosie’s Place and learn about volunteer opportunities not advertised on VolunteerNet. To attend, sign up for the “Tour of Rosie’s Place Volunteer Opportunities” on VolunteerNet.
Do volunteers serve meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Yes, but please note that holiday shifts fill up very quickly once they are advertised on VolunteerNet. To serve meals, individual volunteers must apply and sign up for an opening on VolunteerNet. To bring a group to cater a holiday meal, click here.
I volunteered before with a group. Can I come back by myself?
Yes. All you need to do is become an individual volunteer.
Can I bring my church group/book club/scout troop to help?
Yes. Learn more about bringing a group to cater here.
Can I do my school paper on Rosie’s Place and/or my volunteer experience?
Yes. You can find extensive personal stories, videos, financials and information regarding poverty and homelessness at www.rosiesplace.org that should prove helpful with your project. Also, if you honor the Press Policy and Sanctuary Agreement, you are welcome to become an individual volunteer and share your experience with others. Please note that, due to an overwhelming number of inquires, we are unable to accommodate interview requests or assist with projects.
Can I volunteer as part of my class requirement?
Please review the Community Service Policy to determine if our individual volunteer program will meet your requirements. We are unable to accommodate students with larger service requirements.
Can I complete my high school internship at Rosie’s Place?
Unfortunately, we do not currently offer high school level internships beyond the summer Social Justice Institute.
Can I park at Rosie’s Place?
Rosie’s Place is located at 889 Harrison Ave in Boston, close to the intersection of Mass. Ave and Harrison Ave near the BU Medical Center. While we do have one small lot adjacent to our building, most days it is filled to capacity. Taking public transportation or carpooling is definitely your best bet, but there is limited on-street parking as well as pay parking garages in the area. If you do obtain a spot in the Rosie’s Place lot, please sign your car in at the front desk. *Do not park in the Boston Water & Sewer or CVS lots as you will be towed. Directions are available here.
Social Justice Institute
What is the Social Justice Institute?
It is a hands-on, service learning program for high school students ages 16-18 that combines community service with exposure to larger social issues such as poverty and homelessness.
What are the benefits of this program?
Along with building an understanding of social justice in our community, your participation in the Social Justice Institute contributes to your high school community service requirements and offers volunteer experience that you can include on your college applications. Graduates of the program receive a certificate of completion and a Community Service Verification form that details your service. Your final reflection paper could possibly be the start of a college essay!
How old do I have to be to participate?
You must be between 16 and 18 years old by June 30th to apply to the Social Justice Institute.
What does the program entail?
All participants complete:
• A group training session
• 12 volunteer shifts
• An educational seminar
• A self-guided service project
• A reflection paper
What will be my responsibilities?
Participants volunteer in the Dining Room preparing, serving and cleaning up meals or in the Food Pantry escorting shoppers in selecting fresh produce and non-perishable food items.
When does the Social Justice Institute take place?
This is a summer program that happens in July and/or August. When you apply, you will select volunteer shifts that work with your summer commitments. Shift times vary, with potential availability seven (7) days a week during morning, afternoon and evening hours.
When can I apply?
Applications are available starting April 15th and stay open until the program reaches capacity.
How do I apply?
Visit our page and complete the application.
How long will it take to process my application?
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and you are notified of the status of your application within a few days of submission.
Is attendance at the training mandatory?
Yes. The Social Justice Institute Training is an important kick-off event where participants will get to meet other Social Justice Institute participants as well as Rosie’s Place interns and staff. We’ll talk about program expectations and start the conversation about social justice issues.
I have a lot of things planned this summer. How do I select shifts that work around my schedule?
When applying, you will be able to see which shifts are available. We ask applicants to identify 15 shifts that will work with their summer schedule. You’ll receive notification of the 12 shifts assigned to you if you’re accepted into the program.
Do I have to attend the training and/or seminar if I can make my volunteer shifts?
As both the training and seminar are integral components of this educational program, attendance is required.
What will we be talking about in the training and seminar?
Participants will be discussing social justice issues that affect the women Rosie’s Place serves as well as those who are facing poverty and homelessness in Boston. Some of the topics we will discuss include inequality, domestic violence and food insecurity. Along with gaining a better understanding of some of these issues, we will talk about ways in which you can make a difference.
None of the volunteer shifts work with my schedule. Can I still participate?
We require all participants to commit to 12 shifts. If you can not find spots that work for you, please consider volunteering as an individual applicant. Visit our Individual Volunteer page for more information.
How do I get to Rosie’s Place?
Rosie’s Place is located at 889 Harrison Ave in Boston, close to the intersection of Massachusetts Ave and Harrison Ave near the BU Medical Center. We are accessible via Boston public transit. You can visit www.mbta.com or use Google Maps to plan your transportation.
Can I park at Rosie’s Place?
While we do have one small lot adjacent to our building, most days it is filled to capacity. Taking public transportation or carpooling is definitely your best bet, but there is limited on-street parking and pay parking garages in the area. If you do obtain a spot in the Rosie’s Place lot, please sign your car in at the front desk. *Do not park in the Boston Water & Sewer or CVS lots as you will be towed.
Can we cater without having cooking experience?
Yes! Our dining room runs like a well-oiled machine under the experienced eye of our professional staff. We plan, prepare and serve lunch and dinner for 150 people every day with the help of a volunteer crew. You’ll get clear instruction throughout the shift and the end result will be delicious.
Can men volunteer?
Absolutely! We welcome male volunteers.
What is the age requirement?
Volunteers must be 12 or older. Groups with youth aged 12-15 require a high ratio of adults to children.
Does my group have to make a donation to cater a meal?
Catering involves underwriting, as well as preparing and serving the meal. It enables Rosie’s Place to help support the costs of providing 100,000 meals a year including:
• Healthy menu and beverage selections
• Pantry staples like milk, butter and condiments
• Disposable goods including napkins and gloves
• Professional kitchen equipment
• Trained food service professionals
When do groups cater?
Catering is available for lunch and dinner every day.
How do I coordinate a date for my group?
Decide how many people will be attending and what days and times work best. Then:
1. Review the Catering Calendar and identify possible dates.
2. Request catering dates via the Date Request Form.
How far in advance can I book a catering date?
We are able to book catering dates as far in advance as you like. Typically, groups schedule about 30 days in advance but we can have last minute openings as well.
Can you hold a date for me while I double check with my group?
Unfortunately, due to the volume of inquiries and interest, we are not able to hold dates. Please only list dates on the Date Request Form that work for your group.
Does completing a Date Request Form reserve a date for my group?
No. A date is reserved when you receive a Catering Reservation email directly from Volunteer Services.
Is it possible that a date on the Catering Calendar is already filled?
Yes. We work to keep the calendar as accurate as possible, but there can be delays in updates. That’s why we ask that you list several dates on the Date Request Form.
How many people can come with my catering group?
Catering groups can be as few as 3 people or as many as 15.
Do you have opportunities for groups of more than 15 people?
Our group capacity is 15 volunteers. Often larger groups will choose to cater several dates or hold drives or events to engage more members.
My friends/family want to serve a meal together. Are we individual or group volunteers?
Catering as a group is the easiest way to volunteer with several people. Catering groups schedule in advance, reserve spots for their group members and underwrite food costs of $350. If catering is not an option, you are welcome to apply to become individual volunteers and sign up for shifts using VolunteerNet. Although you won’t necessarily be volunteering together, you can experience helping in the dining room.
Can I cater with my family on the holidays?
We welcome caterers every day of the year! On Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, catering groups are limited to 5 people.
Can my artistic group perform at Rosie’s Place?
Yes. Musical and dance performances are held in the dining room Monday-Thursday, 5:00-5:45 p.m. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Service Policy
Thank you for considering Rosie’s Place as a possible community service site. As part of your decision-making process, it is important to understand the limits of our individual volunteer program.
Volunteer Shift Policy
• Volunteers help out with up to 3 shifts per month, which is often not more than 9 hours of service per month.
• Volunteers sign up using VolunteerNet, our online scheduling system. Available shifts are advertised 30 days in advance.
• Some shifts are very popular with our large pool of volunteers and fill up very quickly.
• Since individual volunteers self-schedule, they are not guaranteed a regular schedule or a certain number of hours.
Depending on how many hours you need and when you are available, you may not be able to find enough shifts to complete your service requirements. Some people volunteer at more than one organization to complete their required hours.
Service Hours Verification
• With advance notice, Rosie’s Place can provide volunteers with a Rosie’s Place Community Service Verification letter documenting the hours they have logged and how they have helped.
• Rosie’s Place is unable to verify hours that were not logged or hours that have not yet been completed.
• Due to the size of our volunteer program, Rosie’s Place is unable to provide personal references, recommendations or evaluations for volunteers providing less than 250 hours of volunteer service.
Volunteers are welcome to share their Community Service Verification letter with a third party, but Rosie’s Place does not disclose the details of a volunteer’s service to other organizations.
Student Projects, Papers and Service Learning Requirements
• You can find extensive personal stories, videos, financials and information regarding poverty and homelessness at www.rosiesplace.org that should prove helpful with your project.
• If you honor the Press Policy and Sanctuary Agreement, you are welcome to become an individual volunteer and share your experience with others.
• We are unable to accommodate students with larger service requirements than what is listed above.
• We do not currently offer high school level internships or service experiences beyond the summer Social Justice Institute.
Please note that, due to an overwhelming number of student inquires, staff is unable to accommodate interview or job shadowing requests or assist with projects.