The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and regain control of their future. The IRC in Salt Lake City works with over 1,000 volunteers each year to help refugee families positively integrate into their new community, remain stable, and strive toward upward mobility and a brighter future.
What engagement opportunities are available to group volunteers?
The IRC in Salt Lake City offers several group volunteer opportunities, though these have been limited because of COVID-19. We are starting to have some group volunteer projects available again, with protocols in place to maintain physical distancing and safety. All volunteer groups must participate in COVID-19 safety orientation, wear facemasks, and confirm all members are symptom-free at the time of volunteering. In accordance with IRC’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, IRC requires all volunteers who are interested in providing in-person support for our work to be vaccinated against COVID-19. We will be restricting groups to no more than 20 people at a time at one of our outdoor spaces that allow distancing: the New Roots Farms and Gardens. Volunteer groups with a maximum of 5-10 participants may be held inside. Learn more about the group volunteer opportunities available and the process for getting your group involved below.
Group Volunteer Process
- Review the volunteer opportunities below, and check out our group volunteer FAQs.
- Please email DonateSLC [at] rescue.org or fill out our Group Volunteer Request Form outlining details about your group, including the size, availability, and project interest. An IRC development team member will follow up with you in 5 business days.
- After submitting the form, our development coordinator will reach out to our program staff to check their availability to host your group at your preferred volunteer activity.
- If they are able to host your group, the development coordinator will connect you to program staff to arrange details and provide logistics prior to the event. Volunteers are sometimes asked to supply their own tools or purchase them for the project.
- If your preferred program is unable to facilitate your group, the development coordinator will reach out to additional programs to check availability. The more your group is flexible, the better chance we have of connecting you with a volunteer opportunity.
- If you are interested in learning more about individual volunteer opportunities please visit Rescue.org/VolunteerSLC
Questions? Please contact Caitlin Fellows, our development coordinator, at DonateSLC [at] Rescue.org, or via our shared Google Phone number: 385-424-0527.
Group Volunteer Opportunities in Salt Lake City:
Number of Volunteers: up to 20
Time: One day (3-6 hours)
Opportunities: Many projects available, actively looking for groups.
Description: Volunteers will meet at either a New Roots farm or community garden site to dig in with beautification efforts, infrastructure projects and/or large-scale maintenance projects. Projects might include weeding garden plots, helping with wildflower and perennial planting, maintaining irrigation systems, organizing tools, managing compost and much more depending on the project budget. This is a great activity for a group that is comfortable with a bit more labor-intensive work in a garden. Volunteers with New Roots directly support the nutrition of refugee communities.
Donations to this project directly support the New Roots program, including infrastructure improvements, purchases for garden or farm sites, and materials for refugee gardeners or farmers who are growing food for their families or to sell at market. Monetary donations ensure volunteer activities are impactful and sustain the project.
Number of Volunteers: 1-100
Time: On your schedule!
Opportunities: 3-4 projects available, actively looking for groups
Description: The IRC in Salt Lake City gathers much-needed items throughout the year for newly arrived refugee families and individuals. From laundry detergent to gift cards and bicycles, support our efforts by organizing an in-kind donation drive of your own with your family, friends, neighborhood, office, etc. To organize your own donation drive, please review the information provided on our donation page at Rescue.org/DonateSLC and contact us to learn about our current needs by emailing DonateSLC [at] rescue.org.
Deep Clean at Spice Kitchen Incubator
Number of Volunteers: 5-10
Time: One day (2-4 hours)
Opportunities: Monthly or as needed
Description: Volunteers help scrub the IRC in Salt Lake City’s Spice Kitchen Incubator’s commercial kitchen! Spice Kitchen is a business incubator that brings together refugees and other low- to moderate-income community members interested in starting a full- or part-time food business by providing technical assistance and training, affordable access to commercial kitchen space, and teaching steps to establishing a successful food business. Volunteers will primarily mop the kitchen, warehouse, and walk-in floors; clean the ovens, broilers, stove tops, and grills; and sanitize the sinks, table tops, prep fridge, and storage areas
Spice Kitchen Incubator is currently in the process of moving to a new location. Donations will support the build out of the new space, program purchases, and support refugee and New American entrepreneurs as they strive to open a food business and realize their American dream.
Number of Volunteers: 1-10
Opportunities: 1-2 upcoming projects
Description: Be part of a growing list of volunteers who will respond to help the IRC with events throughout the year. You could be called upon to help with an apartment set up, our annual Warm Winter Clothing Drive, fundraising events and more!
How will volunteer groups be kept safe during COVID-19?
All staff and volunteers will wear a face mask and practice physical distancing. All current group volunteer projects will be held in capacities and spaces that allow for physical distancing, and hand sanitizing stations will be available. Groups will be limited to no more than 20 people at this time.
How far in advance do I need to plan a group volunteer event?
Our group volunteer opportunities take a significant amount of time to plan and organize with our programs. Please allow at least three weeks advance notice to schedule a volunteer day with New Roots, East African Goat Project or Spice Kitchen Incubator. If you are a corporate group interested in hosting a workshop, please allow for six weeks preparation to ensure an engaging experience for all involved. If you are in doubt of your timeline, please still fill out our Group Volunteer Request Form to begin the conversation.
Will there be refugees present during the volunteer day?
While you may interact with refugee individuals during your volunteer work day, the main purpose of your efforts is to complete the agreed project. We do not guarantee interaction with members of the refugee community during any of our group volunteer projects. To ensure we protect the privacy and confidentiality of the refugees we serve, we have a rigorous volunteer onboarding process, including a background check, before volunteers learn more about specific refugee individuals or families.
If refugees, or program participants, are present at a garden site, farm or in the commercial kitchen space at Spice Kitchen Incubator, we ask that you do not request their personal information, including exchanging contact information, or take photographs of them. Many program participants are working hard to reach their goals—from owning their own business to growing their own nutritious food. We ask that you focus on your group volunteer project that day and request more information from the IRC staff members present.
Can a refugee speak to our group before/after our volunteer day?
While we do not schedule refugee speakers to attend events, our Speakers Bureau offers a trained group of IRC staff and representatives to speak about the work of the IRC and the refugees we serve. Speakers are trained to educate small groups on the basics of refugee resettlement, the definition of a refugee and the process required for all refugees before arriving in the U.S., the services offered by the IRC, etc. To ensure we protect the privacy and confidentiality of the refugees we serve, we do not ask them to speak at events and we do not share specific stories about refugee families. Learn more about our Speakers Bureau by visiting Rescue.org/SpeakerSLC.
Will lunch be provided?
We do not provide lunch for group volunteer opportunities. We can accommodate a catered lunch at most of our sites, should you choose to bring lunch for your volunteers. We recommend reviewing boxed-lunch options available through our Spice Kitchen Incubator program to double your support of our work and the New Americans we serve.
Do you offer youth group volunteer days?
We do not offer volunteer days for anyone under the age of 15. We do, however, occasionally arrange fieldtrips to the New Roots Farm or Goat Ranch. We require a donation to be made to cover the cost of staff time.
Additionally, with advanced notice, small student or youth groups—between 10-20 total with chaperones—can schedule a brief tour of our office and learn more about our work. We cannot always guarantee availability of tour times or site visits. Contact us at VolunteerSLC [at] rescue.org to check availability of tours and site visits.
Why do group volunteer opportunities require a donation?
Group volunteer opportunities, while impactful, require a lot of time for us to set up and usually require supply purchases. With your help, we complete large-scale projects in just a few hours, but planning for the project, gathering supplies and ensuring staff support incur direct costs for our programs. Your donation will directly support the project with which you volunteer—for example, purchasing mulch or perennials for a garden or farm. We are grateful for the volunteer support from your group to improve and enhance our programs. We will provide a donation acknowledgement for any monetary donation provided—both in-kind and monetary donations are tax-deductible.
What if we can’t provide a donation?
Please still submit the Group Volunteer Request Form, and we will work to connect you with a no-cost group volunteer project, such as the On-Call Volunteer opportunity. Kindly note that projects of this nature may take longer to plan and there may be fewer dates available.
Are there individual volunteer opportunities with the IRC?
Yes! Please visit Rescue.org/VolunteerSLC to learn more.
Contact our volunteer coordinator, Jen Dean, by email at VolunteerSLC [at] rescue.org