Your passion can change lives. Whether you love cooking, you're a natural leader, or you've just been looking for a way to give back, our Volunteer & Special Projects Coordinator Chequoya Spearman can help you identify some rewarding tasks and create the ideal volunteer role. You will be taken to another screen to complete an application on our volunteer software "Better Impact," and will need to create an account before submitting the application. Once you've completed our volunteer application, you'll be invited to attend a brief orientation which includes a tour of Haven House and discussion of the volunteer roles available to best suit you. Once accepted, you can log into your volunteer page from your phone or computer and schedule to volunteer as well as track your hours.

Volunteer for a Class, Project or Graduation Requirement

You will have the opportunity to help children in shelter not focus on their homeless situation by becoming an activity leader in our playroom or use your wealth of knowledge to help tutor K-12 core subjects offered on Thursday evenings. Also, preparing dinner our our families, up to 30 people, is a great option as well as you will learn what goes into planning, prepping and preparing a meal for up to 30 people and food insecurities among the homeless population.   

Check with your teacher or professor to be sure that volunteering at Haven House, in a specific role mentioned above, will qualify you for credit. If you have questions or would like any documentation about your volunteerism, contact Chequoya Spearman.

Cook a Meal for Our Residents

Dinner is prepared every night at Haven House for the families staying in our shelter. Making dinner for our residents is a great way to give back with a group or by yourself! You can sign up for one-time opportunities or set up a weekly or monthly plan to prepare meals. Dinner is served at 5:30 pm. A dinner menu is drafted monthly and all the ingredients are here for you.

If you are preparing dinner on a certain night, you have a few options:

Cooking at Haven House:

  • Cook what is listed on our menu
  • Cook what is listed with some of your own changes or additions
  • Cook your own recipe with our ingredients
  • Cook your own recipe with your ingredients

Cooking Elsewhere:

  • Cook what is listed on our menu (take ingredients home with you).
  • Cook what is listed with some of your own changes or additions
  • Cook your own recipe with our ingredients
  • Cook your own recipe with your ingredients
  • Bring in prepared food

If cooking at Haven House we recommend arriving at 3:30 pm. Any menu items needing defrosting should already be placed in the refrigerator by shelter staff before you arrive. If you plan to deviate from the menu, let us know so we do not defrost unneccessary items.

Meals should be prepared and ready by 5:30. We serve dinner buffet style. Sometimes you may encounter residents who are present to eat then. Often residents come in a bit later so you may not interact with all residents at serving time. We do encourage you to join residents for dinner if you wish!

Dinner preparation volunteers are NOT required to do ANY dishes. This is one big reason to cook here instead of at home! Remember, you are cooking for 30 people and we prefer to have too much food instead of too little.

Be sure to let us know if you cannot make your dinner preparation as scheduled, so that shelter staff can be prepared to make dinner that night.

Allergies are posted on the kitchen fridge. Please label anything you prepare that includes foods on the allergy list.

Interested in becoming a dinner volunteer? Apply here!


Supervise Youth Activities

If you or a group are looking to engage with children of all ages, then look no further! During your time volunteering you can take advantage of our games, toys, and arts & crafts supplies, or you may bring your own.

Activities can include:

  • General playroom time
  • Activities or crafts according to volunteer interest
  • Movie nights for children or teens
  • Outdoor fun
  • Much, much more!

Children must be accompanied by a staff member or a regular adult volunteer. The adult is responsible for supervising the children, straightening the room and locking the door when leaving. Want to bring your own kids to volunteer? No problem! Please note all volunteers under the age of 18 must be supervised by a parent, guardian or group leader who has completed our volunteer application and orientation.

This is the only volunteer role which counts toward a class or project requirement. If you are volunteering for a class or project, use the Activity Leader Volunteer application.

Interested in becoming a youth volunteer? Apply here!


Welcome Families to Haven House

The Haven House office is open from 8 am to 8 pm, and either a staff member or volunteer is present at all times to assist the families and visitors who may call or visit. This is a great way to help out, offering you a regular volunteering schedule of one day a week for 2-4 hours.

The primary tasks include talking with clients, visitors, donors, staff and other volunteers to find out what is needed and how we can help. As an office volunteer, you might provide a dinner volunteer with the keys they need when they arrive, and collect the keys and announce dinner as they depart. Or, you might remind an arriving group of volunteers to sign in before giving them the playroom key and then announcing to our residents that the playroom is open. You might help community service volunteers or residents have access to the supplies they need for their chores.

Morning volunteers will also receive many of the phone calls from families in the greater Lansing area seeking shelter. You will walk these families through a phone intake process to determine if they qualify for our shelter, and provide them with other resources that might help them. This is one of our most interactive volunteer opportunities and will give you great insight into how Haven House is run.

Interested in becoming an office volunteer? Apply here!

Help with Shelter Upkeep

With families moving into and out of Haven House every week, we have to work constantly to keep the shelter looking good. You can help us put our best foot forward by chipping in with routine maintenance inside and out. If you have a technical certification or operate a business, you may even be able to donate your labor for a tax deduction!

Volunteers with specialized skills in maintenance and repair are always welcome. As a maintenance volunteer you will be performing general maintenance tasks of interior and exterior of facility and property. Skills that are desirable include painting, carpentry, grounds keeping, and electrical work. Time commitment is generally once or twice a week for 2-3 hours.

If you have questions about what specific projects or services we need volunteers for at this time, contact Chequoya Spearman or call the shelter at (517) 337-2731.

Interested in becoming a maintenance volunteer? Apply here!


Fundraising/Marketing & Graphic Design

Haven House depends upon the support of the community to help end local homelessness. This can mean anything from large-scale corporate donations to grassroots fundraising, and it's often our volunteers and friends of the shelter who make this happen. If you have experience with business communication, marketing, graphic design, or just have a passion for helping the homeless, then we have an opportunity for you.

Our fundraising and marketing volunteers help coordinate events with local organizations, such as special meals where a portion of the proceeds are donated to Haven House or supply drives collecting urgent needs for the families in our shelter. If you work for a local business, have a child attending school in the greater Lansing area, or have out-of-the-box idea for an event that would help raise awareness and donations for Haven House, please let us know.

Volunteering at Haven House may also qualify you for an internship through your college, university, or professional organization. Utilize your skill with marketing, media, and graphic design to help families in crisis, build your resume, and cultivate your skills.

Interested in becoming a marketing volunteer? Apply here!

Volunteer as a Group

Are you a part of a group or club that's looking for more volunteer opportunities? Haven House offers a variety of options when it comes to giving back. The shelter could always use some extra landscaping, maintenance, and other outdoor help. There is always a need for children's activities and volunteers as well as groups that can help paint, cook dinner for residents, organize, and help spread the word about Haven House.

Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult volunteer or staff member at all times.

Interested in volunteering as a group? Apply here!


Court Ordered Community Service

Haven House also has a Court Ordered Community Service program. Submit an application to see if you qualify.

Haven House accepts applications for court ordered Community Service Volunteers with the following guidelines.

Restrictions on Service of Volunteers

  • Only non-violent infractions accepted. (No assault and battery, armed robbery, domestic abuse, etc.)
  • May not be a sex offender nor have any cases pending.
  • No drug related charges or convictions.
  • No retail fraud charges or convictions.

Application Process

  • Apply online to be a volunteer and answer every question on the application.
  • You will then be contacted to attend an orientation if you are eligible to complete service hours.
  • References will be checked prior to being accepted.

Scheduling Hours

  • Shifts are 2 to 4 hours.
  • Dates and times of service must be arranged and approved by the Volunteer Coordinator


  • The Volunteer Coordinator must be called in advance if you will be absent. In case of illness or emergency, notify staff on duty and leave message for coordinator.
  • More than one no call no show could result in termination of the program.
  • You are to sign in and out on the volunteer sign in sheet. Credit will not be given if you fail to do so. Falsification of hours will result in immediate termination.
  • You are responsible to be on time and complete all assignments. Poor performance may result in your termination.

Have a court order for community service? Apply here.