FAQs

Please read our Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities.

Find answers to commonly asked questions about the following topics:

Registering to Volunteer
Can I just walk in and volunteer?

No. We are fortunate to have so much support from the community that only volunteers who have successfully signed up for that opportunity BEFOREHAND should plan to arrive and serve. Sign up at http://someinc.volunteerhub.com.

How far in advance can I sign up? 

No more than one month ahead for Dining Room volunteer shifts. It may be possible to be scheduled more than one month ahead when volunteering with other programs. Please contact [email protected] to learn more.

Can I bring family members with me?

Yes. If everyone meets the age requirements AND has their own account in Volunteer Hub AND is signed up for the opportunity in Volunteer Hub. If there is not enough space for the entire family, please find a different opportunity.

Do I have to commit to a regular schedule or can I just sign up whenever there is space?

Volunteers may schedule themselves for any number of Dining Room or Material Donations Help shifts on Volunteer Hub, and they are not required to commit to a regular schedule. Other opportunities may request or require regular scheduling.

Can I/my group be regularly scheduled to serve?

Some opportunities are in greater need of volunteers than others, so being regularly scheduled is possible but cannot be guaranteed.

How do I indicate my skills and interests?

When you create a volunteer account in Volunteer Hub, you will be able to indicate your skills and interests by selecting them from a list of Affiliations. If you already have an account, you can log in and click Manage Affiliations to find that page.


Group Reservations
How do I make a group reservation to serve a meal? 

Visit our Volunteer Hub group leader calendar to create an account for yourself, if you do not have one already. You don't need to create one account for your entire group. Next, log in to your account and sign up for any event with space available. Before you are finished signing up, you will be prompted to choose your group size. If you can't choose a group size large enough for your entire group to serve, please find a different day to serve. Once you complete your sign-up, you will receive an automatic confirmation email. Following the confirmation email, you will receive a custom group sign-up link that has a deadline within 48 hours. Every individual in your group then must add themselves to your reservation using the link by the deadline. 

How large can my group be? 

To serve a weekday meal, we welcome groups of up to 15 people. To serve a weekend meal, groups up to 10 people are welcome. For most material donations shifts, groups of 5-8 are welcome, with some exceptions. 

Occasionally we can accommodate groups larger than 15 to help serve in our dining room or for other, infrequent projects that require many hands. 

How do I make a group reservation to help sort and organize material donations?

Visit our Volunteer Hub general calendar to find a shift with enough space for your group (five-10 people), and then email [email protected] to request a group reservation.

Does everyone in my group need to sign up for our shift, or just the group leader?

Everyone in the group needs to add themselves to the event roster under your group's reservation by using the custom link provided after you make a group reservation, unless otherwise instructed by a SOME coordinator.


Volunteering in SOME’s Dining Room
How can I sponsor or provide a meal?

While most meals in SOME's main dining room are already sponsored and/or provided each month by our current Provide-a-Meal groups, there are a handful of meals each month that are still available to be sponsored/provided. Provide-a-Meal groups may donate the cost of the meal, purchase and donate the food themselves for us to prepare, or even donate, prepare, and serve the meal on-site. The cost of a meal ranges from about $600 to $800 and should include about 350 to 500 servings.

Volunteers are also welcome to provide or sponsor meals for other programs around some, either once or at a regular interval.

What other kind of food besides the main meal can I donate to the Dining Room?

Baked goods, granola, snack bars, chips, fruit, meat-and-cheese sandwiches, and peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches are all welcome additions to our daily meal. Please prepare approximately 300 servings of any of those "treats." We place no restrictions on allergens, but please wear gloves while handling the food. The servings may be wrapped individually, assembled into snack bags, or collected into large batches, when donated. Donations are welcome between 8 am and 3 pm seven days a week at 71 O St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. 

How can someone under 13 support the Dining Room?

Youth under 13 can decorate a dining-room bulletin board that is 45 x 96 inches either on-site or by bringing pre-made decorations. Email [email protected] to learn more. They may also coordinate a non-perishable food drive to collect donations for our food pantry, or a clothing drive to collect donations for our Clothing Room. Please click here for information on needed items.

How do I join the Dining Room Short-Notice List? 

When you create a volunteer account in Volunteer Hub, you will be able to join the Dining Room Short-Notice List by selecting it from a list of Affiliations. If you already have an account, you can log in and click Manage Affiliations to find that page and join the list. 


General Volunteer Questions
What are the age requirements to volunteer?

In some cases, volunteers must be 18 or older, but generally, volunteers must be 13 or older. Any volunteer from 13 to 15 must be accompanied by an adult, who is signed up for the same opportunity. There must be one adult per every five youth in a group serving a meal, and anyone 16 or older may serve a meal independently. If there is not enough space available in an opportunity for both youth and adults in a group, then please find a different opportunity.

Do I have to wear or bring anything special?

Please wear comfortable, durable, and non-revealing clothing, including close-toed shoes with no significant heel and minimal jewelry. Read our Dress Code.

What if the weather is extremely bad, or there is a potential for my work/school to be cancelled?

SOME serves breakfast and lunch every day, seven days a week, year-round, regardless of inclement weather or cancelled school/work. As with any volunteer opportunity at SOME, volunteers may choose not to serve on days of inclement weather or if work/school is cancelled.

What if I can't make it to a shift? 

Email or call the contact person listed in your confirmation email, who is also listed in the event on the Volunteer Hub calendar itself, as soon as you know you will miss the shift. 

What if I missed a shift? 

If you provided prior notice, your absence will be "excused." If you did not provide prior notice, your absence will be considered a "no-call, no-show." In some cases – such as last-minute emergencies, illnesses, etc. - notice of a missed shift given after the shift begins will be acceptable notice for an "excused" absence. 

Is there a limit to how many shifts I can miss without prior notice? 

If you miss three or more shifts within a 30-day period, or you exhibit a pattern of excessive no-call, no shows, your account will be locked (you will not be able to log in) and you will be removed from all future events that you are registered for. 

Can I take photos when I serve? 

Yes, but only in spaces where there are absolutely no guests or clients, especially the dining room.

What is transportation and parking like? 

SOME's Dining Room and Material Donations Department is a ten-minute walk from the NoMa/Gallaudet/New York Ave. stop on the Red Line (Metro train), and a twenty-minute walk from the Mt. Vernon Square/7th Street/Convention Center stop on the Green/Yellow Lines. The building is within walking distance of stops on the following bus lines: 80, P6, 90, 92, X3, 96, D51, G2.

There are ten parking spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis to volunteers in the SOME parking lot adjacent to the dining room. Street parking is free for two hours (unlimited for Zone 5 permit holders) in most of the neighborhood between 7 am and 8:30 pm, Monday through Friday, and not on holidays. Street cleaning on one side of the street occurs Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 – 11:30 am from March through October, excluding holidays. 

When do I need to arrive, and when should I expect to leave an opportunity? 

The times posted on the Volunteer Hub calendar are the expected arrival and departure times for volunteers. Unless specifically noted in communication with a Volunteer Coordinator, please do not plan to arrive or depart at a different time, later or earlier. 

Do I have to sign a waiver? 

Volunteers are NOT required to sign a waiver to serve in the Dining Room or with Material Donations. Volunteers in other programs or departments will be notified if they need to complete relevant paperwork, such as background or credential checks, or waivers. 

Do I need to go to an orientation beforehand? 

Volunteers in the dining room and helping with material donations will participate in an orientation at the beginning of their first scheduled shift. There is no separate orientation to sign up for and no need to arrive earlier than the listed start time for volunteers in these areas. Volunteers in other programs may need to sign up for an orientation that is separate from their first volunteer opportunity. Please visit the Volunteer Hub calendar for more information. 

Can someone from SOME present to my group or at my event?

Yes! We have a team of ambassadors who can represent SOME at volunteer fairs and giving-focused events. We also have facilitators who can lead an hour-long Social Justice Reflection workshop. Email [email protected] to request a speaker.

What are your youth opportunities beyond coordinating a donation drive?

Some youth may be able to tutor younger students in our Family Housing programs, or they may be able to participate in some Senior Services programs.

How can I help during the holidays?

Holiday opportunities will be posted in October to our Donate Goods page.

Can I do my court-ordered community service at SOME?

Volunteers with court-ordered community service hours may serve in the dining room or with the material donations department if they are not serving due to infractions related to vulnerable populations, violence, or drug or alcohol use or abuse. SOME can provide documentation of court-ordered service.

Can I volunteer at SOME if I receive or have received services from SOME in the past?

Any current SOME client—or person who has been a client within six months—who receives any service other than emergency services is not eligible to volunteer in any department at SOME. If a client is receiving Emergency Services, or has received those services within thirty days, they may be able to volunteer in Emergency Services per approval by the Director of Volunteer Services. 

Can law enforcement officers volunteer?

We welcome law enforcement agents as volunteers, and they are welcome to wear clothing that identifies them as such, but we strongly prefer that those agents volunteer while off-duty. In addition, we require that no other equipment—including lethal and non-lethal weapons, restraints, recording devices, etc.—be worn or carried, with very few exceptions. We also ask that any law enforcement volunteers refrain from stings, non-emergency arrests, and “fishing expeditions” while volunteering. 

We strive to create a welcoming environment, free from potential harassment or emotional triggers, for our guests, staff, and volunteers, and we understand that the presence of law enforcement may have that unintended effect. We also endeavor to welcome officers of the law as volunteers to help provide a different kind of service to the communities in which they work to protect while on duty.

Are there volunteer opportunities for inclusion and employment readiness groups?

Yes! Inclusion and employment readiness groups should reach out to the Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected] to schedule regular service, which helps ensure a meaningful and reliable volunteer experience.


Volunteer Hub
What is Volunteer Hub? 

Volunteer Hub is the volunteer database and scheduling system that SOME uses. 

Do I need a Volunteer Hub account to Volunteer at SOME? 

Yes. All SOME volunteers need to have an account in Volunteer Hub. There is no cost to create an account, and you only need to create an account once.  

How do I sign up for an opportunity on Volunteer Hub? 

Visit our general calendar, read the welcome message, and then view availability for an event by clicking the event title. You can view only certain groups of events (e.g., Dining Room) using the drop-down menu under the left corner of the welcome message. When you want to register for an event, click the sign-up button, and either log in or create an account when prompted. Once you are logged in, you can return to the calendar and sign up for any other events you'd like without having to log in again. You'll know you have successfully been signed up for an event when you receive a confirmation email.  

Why didn't I receive a confirmation, reminder or thank-you email? 

If you opt out of receiving emails in Volunteer Hub, you will not receive automatic confirmation, reminder or thank-you emails. 

What happens when I opt out of emails in Volunteer Hub? 

If you opt out of receiving emails in Volunteer Hub, you will not receive automatic confirmation, reminder or thank-you emails. You will not receive updates on new volunteer opportunities, including Short Notice List emails if, either, if you've opted out of emails in Volunteer Hub. 

Why is there no sign-up button for an event?  

If there is no sign-up button for an event, the event is not open for you to register for it. 

What’s the difference when an event shows FULL, RESERVED or REGISTRATION IS CLOSED instead of a sign-up button? 

RESERVED means there are no spaces currently available because some or all of the spaces are being held for a short period of time for a group that has already made a reservation for that day. Most reservations expire one week ahead of each shift. 

FULL means there is absolutely no space left for volunteers to sign up with no chance that any space will become available unless someone who is currently signed up decides to cancel. 

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED means no one else can sign up for the event, but they may be signed up manually by the event contact if there is space. Contact the event contact person to find out more. 

How do I cancel my registration for an event? 

Log in to your Volunteer Hub account, click My Schedule (upper right corner), click the event, and then click the link to cancel. You can also click the cancellation link provided in the confirmation email sent to you immediately after you signed up for the event. 

How do I see which events I'm signed up for in Volunteer Hub? 

Log in to your Volunteer Hub account and click My Schedule (upper right corner). 

What if I can't log in to my account? 

First try to reset the password by clicking "Forgot password?" If that doesn't work, email [email protected]

Can I join the waitlist for an event? 

If an event is full and has a waitlist you can join, you will see JOIN WAITLIST instead of a sign-up button when you view the event from the Volunteer Hub calendar. If you do not see the option to join the waitlist, the event does not have one, and if the event is full, please find a different service opportunity to sign up for.