Saint Vincent de Paul Place
St. Vincent de Paul Place
120 Cliff St.
Norwich, CT 06360
Hours of operation:
Monday – Friday 8:00 to 3:30pm
Saturday 8:00 – 1:00pm
Welcome to Our Team from the Executive Director
We value your time and expertise, and we are honored to have you as a member of our team. We hope that this volunteer manual will help you become more familiar with our ministry.
It is important to us that we build a mutually beneficial relationship in which you, our valued volunteer, use your strengths, passions and dedication not only to benefit St. Vincent de Paul Place but to positively enhance your own life.
Volunteering at SVdPP shows that you support the value of our mission, and for this we are very grateful. We look forward to working with you.
About Saint Vincent de Paul Place
Currently operating out of the former St. Joseph's School building in downtown Norwich, CT, St. Vincent de Paul Place (SVdPP), is a loving, caring place that strives to meet the needs of homeless people and families with limited income. Established by the Catholic Diocese of Norwich in 1979, our goal is to provide food, companionship, and advocacy for anyone in need. We seek not only to meet the immediate needs of those who come to us, but also to promote self-sufficiency.
Our primary services include a served-meals program, a food pantry, and a care and advocacy program. The donations of caring individuals and organizations, as well as our affiliation with the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center of New London, provide the food we serve and distribute. Our program is also partially funded by the Annual Catholic Appeal and grants from charitable organizations. Without the support of our generous and compassionate volunteers and donors we would be unable to perform our mission.
About This Volunteer Handbook
This handbook is designed to introduce you to Saint Vincent de Paul Place and to provide a basic overview of the policies and procedures which provide all of us – paid and volunteer staff – with guidance and direction.
Hours of Operation
SVdPP is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We are closed on Sunday. Kitchen volunteer staff may enter the building earlier the mornings they are scheduled.
Breakfast and lunch are served Monday through Saturday. Breakfast: 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.; Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We are open on all holidays, Monday through Saturday, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you are interested in volunteering on a holiday, please see the office for details.
A healthy selection of food is distributed on a weekly basis to families and individuals who do not eat in the dining room; hours are Monday and Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Care and Advocacy Program
St. Vincent de Paul Place strives to promote the dignity, respect, and worth of each person who comes through our door. SVdPP is committed to service and social justice for all. Our ministry recognizes the importance of human relationships and partners with individuals, families, local agencies and the community to create positive conditions for change. We employ standards of best practice to address the complex social issues our patrons face. Some of the struggles people are faced with include but are not limited to homelessness, poverty, mental health issues, unemployment, and/or disabilities.
In order to carry out the Care and Advocacy Program, we provide the following services:
§ Completing an assessment of social, psychological, and biological needs, paying special attention to diversity and strengths that exist in all cultures.
§ Coordinating access and opportunity for individuals to utilize local, state and federal resources such as housing, food, energy assistance, social security entitlements and medical insurance
§ Providing outreach to individuals
§ Advocating for individuals facing social injustice
§ Communicating with community resources and building partnerships
SVdPP continues to build relationships with community agencies. On Monday the Generations Health van comes to SVdPP from 8:30 a.m. -11:30a.m. On Wednesday an employment specialist from Norwich Human Services provides outreach from 8:30 a.m. -9:30 a.m. A representative from the Veterans Administration is also available. Check the front desk for times. On Thursday an outreach specialist from the Eastern Region Service Board is available to discuss substance use resources and assist individuals in getting to treatment; a community outreach specialist from the Southeastern Mental Health Authority is also available on Thursday.
SVdPP also provides
§ A shower facility and personal hygiene supplies
§ A mailroom for those who need an address to receive mail
§ Computer and phone access to facilitate job searches
§ Basic clothing, housewares, baby products and pet food when available
§ Kitchen volunteers help with food preparation, serving and clean up.
§ Pantry volunteers stock shelves, sort donations, and assist patrons during their food selection.
§ Front desk volunteers provide general office assistance, including answering the phone, signing up new food pantry patrons, and answering questions.
§ Additional volunteer tasks include food pick-up and delivery to SVdPP, general maintenance, writing newsletters, and special project support.
Please note that volunteers are not allowed to transport patrons nor give them any money. If there is an emergency that requires you to give someone a ride, please first discuss the situation with Jill.
§ Food: Non-perishable items are always welcome (canned goods must be prior to expiration date). Prepared food (such as food left over from a function) is accepted ONLY if the dish has not been opened or served. Acceptance requires approval of SVdPP paid staff.
§ Hygiene products: Unopened toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant) are always needed.
§ Clothing: Small quantities are accepted and must be clean and in good condition. Warm winter clothing is especially welcome.
§ Furniture and Housewares: Household goods and kitchen utensils in good condition are accepted. Furniture is usually not accepted due to absence of storage space. However, if we are aware of a patron who needs the item, we can sometimes pick up and deliver.
§ Cat/dog food is accepted.
In general, volunteers cannot directly give gifts to, or receive gifts from, our patrons (monetary or otherwise). If there is a special circumstance and you want to give something to a specific patron, please get approval from Jill. There are also times when a patron may want to show their appreciation to you by giving you a small gift or making something for you that is of no significant value (i.e., flowers or a bracelet); it may be appropriate to accept this gift. Please let Jill know if this happens.
We respect the confidentiality of our patrons. Due to the nature of the work you may be doing as a volunteer, you will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Pictures/videos will not be taken of the patrons without their permission and permission from Jill. Cell phone images of the patrons will not be shared / transmitted without permission of the patrons. See attached to review a copy of the agreement. See the administrative assistant to sign off on your copy of the agreement.
Information contained on any electronic or digital device is the property of SVdPP. Volunteers may not add, run, download or install any computer software without prior authorization from Jill.
Removal of Items
Do not take any donated or purchased items from SVdPP premises or off-site locations without permission from Jill.
Pets (dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, and any other types of live animals), are not allowed in the building due to health regulations. This rule does not apply to service animals.
In response to state and local laws and building code, smoking is not permitted in the building. Smoking is only permitted in the designated outdoor area. This area is marked with appropriate signage.
Substance Abuse Drug and Alcohol Free
The possession, use, or sale of illegal or prescription drugs and alcohol is never acceptable. We are a substance free environment.
SVdPP provides patron services and volunteer opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual preference, age, or disability.
SVdPP is committed to an environment that fosters mutual respect among patrons, volunteers, staff, and visitors. Harassment of any nature, including behaviors and/or remarks based on age, gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or any other statutorily protected reason, will not be tolerated.
If a patron becomes threatening or abusive, alert paid staff at the front desk. Such situations should be handled by a paid staff member.
In Case of Fire
Evacuate the building in the event of fire. Our gathering area is by the statue on the lawn to the right of the building. Please see the attached floor plan that shows all the building exits routes.
Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement
The patrons we serve come to us in need of basic human needs and housing. Each one has a different story that has led them to Saint Vincent de Paul Place for help. At times you might see a former classmate, neighbor or friend, or you may overhear information about our residents/clients.
All records and information relating to SVdPP or its patrons and staff are considered confidential. No SVdPP records or related information including, but not limited to, documents, notes, files, records, oral information, computer files, or similar materials (except in the ordinary course of performing duties on behalf of SVdPP) may be removed from SVdPP without permission of the executive director. Additionally, the contents of the records or information obtained in regard to business may not be disclosed to anyone, unless given permission from the executive director.
What this means for you as a volunteer at SVdPP is that you may not disclose any confidential information, purposefully or inadvertently through casual conversation, to any unauthorized person unless given permission from the executive director. You should not discuss any information related to our patrons with friends or family. If you see any of the patrons out in public, you will not acknowledge them unless they greet you first, thus respecting their privacy and the confidentiality of their status.
By my signature below, I indicate that I understand and agree to abide by these confidentiality standards while volunteering at Saint Vincent de Paul Place.
Volunteer Signature Date
Volunteer Printed Name