Amanda Wolfe joined the New Life team in March 2020 as our full-time Volunteer Coordinator. Amanda attended Roanoke College in Virginia, where her studies emphasized social inequality, community engagement, and community development. During her time at Roanoke, she traveled to both Nicaragua and the Republic of Palau for real world experience examining social issues and was a contributing author on a book using Palau as a case study. After graduating from Roanoke College in 2018 with B.A. in sociology and a concentration in anthropology, Amanda sought an opportunity to apply her degree in her own backyard. She returned to her home state of Connecticut to serve in AmeriCorps – a federal volunteer program designed to eradicate poverty in which service members are given a poverty-level living stipend while serving full-time at an organization for up to a year. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, Amanda was tasked with developing Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County’s volunteer program that engaged over 7,000 volunteers per year ranging in age from five to 95 years old. Upon completing her year of federal service, she knew she wanted to keep working with volunteers. Recognizing that shelter is more than having a roof over your head, Amanda identified with the New Life’s mission of providing a bed on which to sleep and a table at which to eat and do homework. While the past few months have been an unconventional start to her new role given COVID-19, Amanda has enjoyed getting to know the New Life community (mostly virtually) and looks forward to growing the volunteer program.
As things change we will keep this page updated
For the next three months, New Life will continue to serve clients virtually. Clients call in to a conference line where client hosts walk them through our online store. We hold appointments on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Orders are gathered together ready for professional movers to deliver on Fridays. We are looking to expand, but at the moment we are only able to serve 9 clients per week.
We are working to onboard more agencies to our virtual model. We ask that agencies be patient.
Unfortunately, at this time we are not able to serve self-moving/ U-Haul clients. As volunteers return to New Life, we will reevaluate. Agencies can still submit referrals for self-moving clients, but will not be scheduled until we are back to normal operations.
Since our process has moved online, many of our volunteer opportunities have also moved online.
Our Volunteer Coordinator, Amanda, will be present to supervise select shifts in the warehouse moving forward – therefore, opening up opportunities for first-time volunteers again. Experienced volunteers will also lead some shifts. Keep in mind that we are still asking volunteers to complete specific tasks in isolated shifts rather than resuming our usual operation. Examples include cleaning the warehouse, restocking inventory, or making dish packs. You will be required to wear a mask when with other volunteers, unless you’ve been quarantining together. Opportunities are gradually be added to our software in the coming weeks, though will be limited to a small number of volunteers each shift.
As usual, volunteers must be at least 14 years of age and anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Shifts led by a volunteer will be closed to minors for safety reasons. These shifts will be labeled “(must be 18+)”.
If you have any questions about volunteering, contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are not accepting groups at this time.
Household goods and Furniture Drop-offs
06/25/20 – We have moved to a new system to schedule drop-offs. The form requires more information, but it will help us better plan storing and quarantining of donations.
06/25/20 – Starting in July, donations will be at the dock. We ask that every enter through the entrance on West Street. Please sign up here. One slot per household.
Drop off appointment process:
- Please have your items in the back of your vehicle clearly marked as a donation, and wear a mask when you enter the parking lot for your appointment. It is important that you review our “What We Accept” page and ensure it is free from scratches, stains, rips, pet hair, and is in good working order and appropriate for the clients we serve.
- A volunteer will greet you and check that you have a scheduled appointment that day. All others will be turned away and asked to make an appointment for another day. In fairness to all, there will be no exceptions.
- Our volunteers will direct you to stop in a designated space and will unload your vehicle for you. Please remain in your vehicle if possible. If you cannot do so, please wear a mask and maintain a 6’ social distance from our volunteers.
- We will email you a receipt after your appointment.
- Please be patient. To maintain social distancing, we will have fewer volunteers on-site than in the past and the drop-off process may take longer than usual.
Thank you for helping people make a home. We appreciate your support and patience during this time.
We have suspended pickups for the foreseeable future.
When we announced that we were closing back in March due to COVID-19, we were as unsure what to expect as everyone else. Our operation had far from stopped though, as we immediately began brainstorming how we could serve clients and keep everyone safe while the demand for our services continues to grow. That’s when we began experimenting with a virtual furniture bank. Partnering almost exclusively with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, we have built up the capacity to serve as many as nine veteran clients per week.
The virtual furniture bank would not be possible without the hard work and ingenuity of our volunteers in every step of the process. Virtual Client Hosts guide clients through furniture selection over the phone while browsing our inventory online in a similar format to online shopping. Still guaranteed an hour of uninterrupted selection, clients are not given access to the website until the start of the appointment to prevent multiple people vying for the same items. To ensure there are plenty of choices, volunteers upload inventory to the online store in between each block of appointments. At the end of the week, a small group gathers the orders to be delivered by movers the following day. In between all of this, even more volunteers working in isolated groups have begun helping out at New Life with various needs – meaning no two groups of volunteers are in the warehouse at the same time and groups are made up of people already in quarantine with one another.
While we’ve had our fair share of challenges, the virtual furniture bank has been a success – serving 32 clients in May. This model allows New Life to serve some of the most vulnerable populations. Those with physical disabilities, no access to transportation, or other factors that limited them from going to New Life can now be served with the same dignity from home. For this reason, we are exploring adapting the virtualfurniture bank as an option in addition to in-person appointments when we resume normal operations. Implementing both models would allow us to guarantee an hour to two clients simultaneously.
Nevertheless, we do not foresee being able to safely serve clients in person for at least the next three months. We will continue to develop the virtual furniture bank and increase volunteer opportunities that are either remote or at New Life with restrictions. Our priority is the safety of our volunteers. We understand if you do not feel comfortable returning yet and will welcome you with open arms when you are ready. If you are ready to return, email Amanda Wolfe, Volunteer Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Special thanks to the volunteers that have dedicated their time to developing the pilot:
|Laura CromartyLaura Stanton|
Jane & Ned Hackett
Andrea O’ShaughnessyWendy Carlson
Randy KargRob BabsonBob Rich