Through pandemics and power outages, our dining room has been providing free meals since 1981!

Hundreds of bag lunches are distributed each day at our 820 B Street location in San Rafael. Any individual or groups that want to volunteer to make a minimum of 50 bag lunches should email volunteer@vinnies.org to coordinate and meet this need.  Check back here for updates on our Dining Room volunteer policy – thank for your support and patience!


Prevention Desk volunteers are a critical piece of St. Vincent’s ability to respond to folks in crisis. They are the first line of people who retrieve requests for assistance from precariously housed Marin residents from our voicemail and forward the information to our conference volunteers. Sometimes, if people leave incomplete information, they need to be called back. A volunteer shift is equal to a day and most volunteers check the voicemail more than once during the shift. At the end of each shift the volunteer sends an email listing the calls that came in and what action was taken. This is a remote volunteer job.

A Prevention Desk volunteer must be able to:

  • Retrieve voicemails remotely
  • Read a map and understand geographical boundaries
  • Email or phone in the caller information to the appropriate conference
  • Represent St. Vincent de Paul appropriately and treat all callers with dignity and respect


Our conferences are comprised of volunteers who field calls from people in their neighborhood who need some sort of assistance. Our conference volunteers might offer food, some help with bills or rent, referrals to other resources or just an ear and a shoulder to lean on. This is open to adults only and involves an ongoing commitment (as opposed to a one-off event), but the length of time is negotiable. You will also need to pass a background check. If you are interested, contact the person below and you will be connected with the conference volunteers in your neighborhood.

If you are interested in either of these volunteer opportunities, please contact Meredith Parnell, Director of Homelessness Prevention, at mparnell@vinnies.org.


Volunteer Opportunities

The St. Vincent de Paul Society is proud to be a volunteer-driven organization. We depend on capable volunteers to assist us with delivering critical services to the people who come to us for help.

Why are volunteers important?

  • We serve more than 500 meals every day of the year
  • Handle about 50 requests per week at our homeless prevention Crisis Help Line
  • And assist more than 75 homeless clients each week at our Housing Help Desk.

Volunteer FAQs

How do I apply to volunteer?

Step 1: Fill out our online Volunteer Application

Step 2:

Send an email to volunteer@vinnies.org to schedule a personal orientation.

Our orientation provides more information about our services as well as the various volunteer positions and you’ll learn how you can schedule your time online.

What hours are available for volunteering?

Volunteers are welcome in our Free Dining Room from 6:30am-1:30pm, seven days per week; and in our administrative offices upstairs from 9am-3 pm from M-F.

What are the best parking options?

The best public parking garage is located on the corner of 3rd and B Streets.  We strongly suggest that you park in this garage, because it is easy to forget about a parking meter while volunteering and can result in a costly parking ticket.  Metered parking is available, but is limited to 2-hours. Free 4-hour on-street parking is located nearby, if you drive past Safeway on B Street to the Albert Park area.

What rules apply to volunteers?

1. All volunteers must sign in and out each day to comply with our record keeping requirements.

2. Volunteers are subject to the same rules of conduct and confidentiality which apply to paid staff, including those that apply to non-discrimination, sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. We require all volunteers to act in a responsible and professional manner when providing services to our clients.

3. While we encourage you to be a compassionate listener, agency rules do not allow staff members or volunteers to give cash or other material aid to our clients. Staff members and volunteers are also prohibited from giving clients a place to stay, even for one night. Instead, staff members and volunteers are trained to help guide guests to the appropriate resources available to them that will ensure they receive the best long-term solution that is possible.

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