Volunteers at the San Diego Rescue Mission are some of the warmest, kindest, most generous people we know.

Donate Your TimeOur volunteers provide valuable services to our clients. In return they receive the satisfaction of knowing they are personally helping homeless and poor people create positive, lasting change in their lives.

Please note that we are unable at this time to work with court-mandated volunteers.

Due to insurance restrictions, volunteers must be age 16 and older. Are you part of a youth group under this age? We welcome your help with donation drives for urgently needed material items and are very happy to provide a tour of the Mission so you can find out more about our work.

Group Projects

Here are more ideas for your group

Groups (corporate, church, school and others) are always welcome to help with our meal service, assisting in the warehouse, and helping with special events. Please call 619.819.1897 for other ideas or to schedule a specific date.

  • Groups of no more than 5 are welcome to serve lunch or dinner here on site.
  • Larger groups can schedule weekday morning shifts in our warehouse.

Not able to start volunteering immediately? Host a Drive (Urgent Needs, Food, or Hygiene Kits): You can hold a drive and collect needed items at your school, church, place of employment, community center, or neighborhoods-it’s an easy and very significant way to support the Rescue Mission! Thank you for doing your part to help the men, women and children here at the Mission.

Volunteer Process for Individuals

All volunteers, with the exception of those participating in a special event or one-time group volunteer opportunity MUST attend a volunteer orientation and submit an application and go through an on-line background check process at an $18 cost to the individual. Orientations will be held on January 20, March 16, May 18, July 20, September 21, and November 16. All sessions are from 5:00-6:30PM and space MUST be reserved ahead of time. For non-food service opportunities we ask a 3-6 month commitment, interview, orientation, application and background check. Please call the Volunteer Coordinator to start the process.

Due to the large interest in our volunteer program, volunteer needs and opportunities change monthly and may include:

  • Easter Meal Outreach

    Come join us Saturday, March 19 and help with outreach for our early Easter community meal. Volunteers will meet at the Rescue Mission at 8:30AM for a quick training, divide up in groups with flyers to walk the streets of downtown or Balboa Park and invite the homeless to our meal later that day. Great for individuals and groups. You’ll be done by 10:30AM. Free parking available. We’ll be open at 8:00AM for coffee/snacks before dividing up to walk. Sign up here.

  • Volunteer Runners

    Volunteer runners needed! Do you enjoy running? Have you always thought about starting to run or training for a ½ marathon?

    The men in our program are soon to start training for the Rock n Roll Marathon that will be held in early June.  “Up and Running Again provides a program designed to bring hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak through the relationships, achievements, and discipline of a group running program”. Participants will train 4 days a week for 14 weeks and will finish off with running a half Marathon (13.1 miles). Each day will consist of training runs, a devotional at the end of each run, and a time of prayer in order to seek God and  to pray for one another and fellowship. Some of the benefits of this program is the benefit that comes from the feeling of accomplishment. If a client can reach their goal of 13.1 miles on a run, it will boost their overall confidence in life. It also offers benefits in the areas of holistic health, where not only will their physical health improve, but mental, emotional, and spiritual health will grow as a result of the camaraderie  of the coaches, volunteers, and other participants. One of the last benefits, and probably most important, is their opportunity to grow spiritually.

    We would love to have a volunteer run at least once a week with the men and we’ll be running Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday from 6:25-7:25AM. This is going to be a holistic approach where we are not only trying to get them physically active but also to have them thinking on spiritual matters as well. It would be great if we could have some volunteers who are willing to lead some devotions as well. We would also want volunteers who would be willing to be liaison for any emergencies that might come up so it would be imperative that they have their cellphones handy in case someone needed medical attention and had to call 911.

  • Groups Needed in Warehouse in City Heights

    • Volunteer hours are between 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday. We ask for a minimum 3 hour shift.
    • Maximum of 20 volunteers per day
    • Youth groups  need one adult supervisor from their organization for every 5 teenagers

    Tasks include:

    1. Sorting and hanging clothes
    2. Sorting housewares
    3. Price Tagging
    4. Folding linens and bed sheets

    So many wonderful donations are coming in at year-end and we certainly need your help getting items sorted and to our clients and our  stores  as soon as possible!

  • Nueva Vida Haven

    Assist with bed set up and handing out linens, clothing, hygiene items, 7:15PM – 8:30PM. Women only.

    Dinner service help needed between 6:30PM – 7:15PM.

  • Women & Children’s Center

    • Church or individual to lead Sunday morning chapel services
    • Children’s chapel weeknights 6-7pm
    • Administrative assistant weekday daytimes
    • Exercise class
    • Class for moms/kids under 2
    • Teach a class in American Sign Language or cooking
    • Teach a class in: Women’s Self Defense, beading, NA/AA or Relapse Prevention
  • Recuperative Care Unit

    Dinner help weekdays at 4PM.

  • Women’s Transitional Housing

    • Help with dinner service daily 4:45-5:45
    • Tutor / homework help for children
    • Zumba instructor
    • Arts & crafts class
    • Resume writing help
    • Tutor needed to assist adult with basic Spanish class
  • Development Office

    Assist with telephone calls to thank donors for their support and inform of upcoming events. You ARE NOT asking for money. Weekday daytime.

  • Aftercare/Alumni

    • Tutors for adults with limited reading skills
    • Finances/debt classes
    • Computer classes
    • Self-esteem, self -worth, self sufficiency
    • Goal setting