Volunteer Opportunities

2019 Point in Time count

The Homeless Point-in-Time Count is a one day, unduplicated count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families in Forsyth County. The data collected is used to plan services for the homeless throughout the year.

The next Point in Time Count will be conducted on the night of 1/30/2019. There are two available shifts (9 pm-midnight or 1 am -4 am on the morning of 7/27/17).  If you are unable to participate in the count but would like to donate items for the goody bags the listed items are below (donations can be brought to the United Way office).

Click to register to volunteer

Items to Donate:

  • hats, mittens, gloves
  • blankets
  • Individual tissue packets
  • Sun screen
  • Chap stick
  • Personal hygiene items (shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant)
  • Bottled water
  • Canned foods with pop-tops or pre-packaged food
  • Plastic utensils

Many of our members rely on volunteers to help serve their guests who are homeless for more information about working directly with a homeless service provider please contact the individual agency for the most up to date information


There are many ways you can help people in our community who are experiencing homelessness. Our Community is home to many organizations that specialize in serving people who are homeless whether they are on the streets or residing in a shelter.  They are always in need of both volunteers and cash donations.   These organizations are in the best position to not only meet the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness, but also to help them end their homelessness by connecting them to permanent housing solutions.

If you choose to engage with people experiencing homelessness on your own here are some tips to help make your efforts mutually beneficial.

Engaging with people experiencing homelessness in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County

  • A friendly hello or simple conversation can make all the difference in the world for those who are experiencing homelessness.
  • Refrain from stereotyping or stigmatizing those who are experiencing homelessness. Not all paths that lead to homelessness are the same.
  • “That Homeless Person” has a name and a reason for being homeless. Taking time to learn an individual’s story helps destigmatize homelessness and shows that you care.
  • It is not personal if an individual does not want your help or responds negatively towards you. Consider giving your contribution to someone else or a local homeless service provider. For a list of places to give refer to the handout below.
  • Encourage them towards permanent housing. No-one wants a bridge to be their permanent home, but they may not want an apartment that comes with lots of strings attached. Encourage them to connect with local providers such as the Empowerment Project or a local shelter that practice housing first.

Alternative to giving out Cash

  • Give gift cards from restaurants or grocery store chains. This will allow people to be able to go into a restaurant or store and get away from the heat or cold and make their own food choices.
  • If a person tells you they need a specific item, buy it for them directly.
  • Give food that gives people energy and nutrition.
  • Give water to prevent hydration.
  • Direct someone to the local food/clothing pantry or to places that serve meals/give away clothes. *Refer to the handout below for a list of places.
  • Supply someone with a bus pass.
  • Donate your money to a local homeless service provider. This enables them to continue serving members of the community who are experiencing homelessness.

Gift bags for people living on the streets for PIT count.

Places that serve Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

There are a few places in Winston-Salem that prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner for members of the community. If you encounter an individual in search of a warm meal you can direct them to one of the locations below.


  • The Salvation Army Center of Hope provides breakfast to members of the community on Monday-Sunday from 7:00 am- 7:30 am


  • Samaritan Ministries provides lunch on Monday-Saturday from 11:00 am- 1:00 pm. Sundays 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm.


  • The Salvation Army Center of Hope provides dinner to members of the community every Sunday from 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

*You do not have to be homeless to eat at the places above.

Seasonal Giving Tips—people experience homelessness year round.

During the Winter

  • Supply warm clothing items/shoes you no longer need and are in good condition to individuals you see on the street.
  • Provide individuals with hand lotion and chapstick to help keep their skin from drying out.
  • Supply water to prevent hydration.

During the Summer

  • Provide clean T-shirts to individuals who are standing outside in the heat.
  • Supply water to prevent dehydration.
  • Give sunscreen.

Things to avoid doing when engaging with people experiencing homelessness

  • Don’t giveaway money
  • Don’t giveaway your address or take someone experiencing homelessness home. Only invite them to stay if you mean it, your home will become their home, become clear about your limits, don’t get mad at them if you are not clear from the beginning about your expectations. It is easy for one night to become one year. Seek support for yourself and your loved one. Know your boundaries.
  • Safety First! Don’t go out alone. It is better to go out into the streets in small groups.
  • Don’t giveaway expensive items. Giving/wearing expensive items can encourage stealing &
  • Don’t wear expensive items when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.

Additional Ways to Give/Support

  • Volunteer your time.  Volunteer at a Shelter or local Soup Kitchen. Shelters and Soup Kitchens have limited staff members and resources therefore, they rely on volunteers to help run their programs. Whether it is sorting through generous donations or helping serve dinner every minute of your time given helps homeless service providers serve those experiencing homelessness more efficiently.
  • Volunteer your professional services. No matter your profession you have a valuable skill or service that you can offer someone. Teaching someone your skills or providing a service can help someone experiencing homelessness obtain a job, manage their money better or have healthier gums.Giving your professional services helps people experiencing homelessness be self-sufficient.
  • Volunteer your hobbies. Teaching someone self-care, how to garden, or how to make a blanket encourages positive interaction… Sharing your hobby with someone can provide motivation, encouragement, and help improve someone’s quality of life.
  • Tutor children who are homeless. If you are interested in tutoring or working with children experiencing homelessness contact The Salvation Army Center of Hope at (336) 777-8611
  • Host a fundraising event. Host a fundraising event at your company, local church or school and donate the proceeds to a local homeless service provider of your choice. (Feel free to involve the organization that you will be donating to in your fundraising event.)
  • Be an advocate. Educate people about homelessness. Help people see the homeless as people. If you volunteer, tell people about your experiences engaging with people experiencing homelessness.
  • Donate items to Shelters/Soup Kitchens. Call a local homeless provider to ask what items they need. All donated items are appreciated but some organizations may be in need of some items more than others.