Pillars reopens Appleton shelters, now in need of volunteers

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 5:32 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Even through a pandemic, organizations like Pillars have been working to provide housing for those in need. Despite the work continuing, volunteer numbers in its shelters have dropped drastically.

“For a lot of our clients without the shelter there wouldn’t be a safe place for them to stay,” said Tony Schneider, Pillars Volunteer Manager.

Pillars just reopened its shelters last week after shifting operations to a hotel during the initial months of the pandemic.

“We want to make sure while we’re providing this safe place away from the elements we’re also providing them a safe place from COVID-19 and everything else going on right now,” said Schneider.

In addition to masks being mandatory and hand sanitizers provided throughout the shelters, there is now a detailed entry process.

“When a client checks in on any given day, staff have their N95 masks on and gloves on as well as we do a daily health assessment,” said Pillars Adult Shelter Manager Lauren Moen, “so we take their temperature and really triage them through any symptoms they may have.”

But to run the shelters as effectively as possible, help is needed.

“We really operate off volunteers, and that’s kind of like the glue that keeps us together,” said Moen.

Last year the organization had more than a hundred volunteers each month on average. Now, because of the pandemic, it’s down to about 20.

“We are looking for as many volunteers as we can get,” said Schneider. “We have opportunities as early as five in the morning and as late and midnight, and that’s hundreds of opportunities throughout the week depending on someone’s schedule.”

“Whether it’s answering phones, making lunches, organizing the basement, serving dinner, we have a niche for every person in this community to fit into Pillars,” said Moen. “It’s a great opportunity.”

An opportunity staff hope people will take advantage of considering the health precautions they have in place.

“We just want to make sure whatever your abilities are, or your limitations, that we have opportunities for you to come and serve your community in a safe environment,” said Schneider.

Some of the open positions include meal prep and serving and front desk work. People can prepare a dinner and drop it off or prepare and serve onsite. Volunteers can also help bag lunches or serve breakfast. Front desk work involves general assistance like answering phone calls.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact Tony Scneider at his email or phone 920-419-0928.

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