SEARCH HOMELESS SERVICES
What Is It?: A nonprofit organization that helps men, women, and children move from the streets into jobs and safe, stable housing. SEARCH “meets clients where they are and gets them back on their feet through services that engage, stabilize, educate, employ, and house.”
Help Needed: Make snack packs, assemble hurricane kits, make welcome-home mugs or keychains for clients, decorate grocery bags and write notes, or collect needed items.
Minimum Age to Volunteer: No minimum age to make or collect items. Minimum age to serve onsite is 12. Volunteers age 12-17 must serve with an adult chaperone unless cleared with Volunteer Coordinator Molly Martin in advance. Volunteers must be at least 18 to volunteer onsite without an adult chaperone.
PREPARE SNACK PACKS
“Our Mobile Outreach team members distribute snack packs as they meet individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Our case managers also distribute them. Easy-open protein items provide a great food source for our clients. Volunteers consult the list below and choose three or more of the items to package in Ziploc bags. Clients often find it most helpful when snack packs contain a mix of no-chew (e.g. applesauce, pudding) and chewy items to accommodate all levels of dental health. Volunteers are welcome to add encouraging notes/cards to the bags to lend a personal touch. We ask that the notes not include last names, dates, contact information, or seasonal or religious references.”
- Bumble Bee Snacks on the Run (tuna, chicken salad, ham, etc.)
- Vienna sausage
- GoGo Squeeze fruit pouches
- Pudding packs
- Planters mixed snack pouches/trail mix
- Fruit cups or applesauce cups
- Peanut butter or cheese cracker packs
- Dried fruit crisps packets
- Raisin snack boxes
- Granola bars (crunchier varieties like Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey, please)
- Jif to Go/Nutella to Go
- Sunflower seeds
- Non-chocolate protein bars (chocolate melts!)
We can comfortably accept up to 300 snack packs at one time. Thank you!”
ASSEMBLE HURRICANE KITS
“During hurricane season (June-November), people living on the streets face an elevated risk of displacement and unsafe conditions. We’d really appreciate your help assembling “hurricane kits” to enhance their disaster preparedness. For this project, we recommend that volunteers place the following items in a plastic container or large Ziploc:
- Bottled water
- Flashlights plus compatible batteries (no candles, please!)
- Non-perishable snacks
- Hand-cranked radios
- Backup lighting batteries
- Ziploc plastic bags for important documents
- Toilet paper
- First aid kit
- Bug spray
For your reference, storage constraints allow us to accept up to 300 hurricane kits at one time. No minimum number required!”
MAKE KEYCHAINS FOR CLIENTS
“Newly housed clients need a place for the keys to their new apartments! We welcome volunteer help creating simple keychains that SEARCH can include in the “Welcome Home” gifts clients receive. Ideas for key chains include this wooden bead keychain and this cork keychain.”
DECORATE MUGS FOR CLIENTS
“Volunteers can visit a pottery studio (such as Mad Potter) and paint mugs to donate to newly housed SEARCH clients. We say mugs because most of our clients love coffee! Volunteers can include a package of instant coffee with each mug as part of their contribution. Volunteers can also work on this project at home or work using craft store mugs and paint, as long as the mugs get a coating of Krylon Crystal Clear or Modge Podge sealer. Encouraging messages like ‘Welcome Home’ make a great decoration.”
DECORATE BAGS & WRITE NOTES FOR FOOD PANTRY
“SEARCH is always looking for grocery bags for clients shopping in our food pantry! Clients can visit with their case managers and select 15-20 items as they prepare to move into their new homes. We invite volunteers to decorate simple paper grocery sacks donated by a local store or their personal networks and to include encouraging notes in those bags. As with all encouraging notes for SEARCH clients, we ask that notes not include seasonal/religious information like references to holidays, volunteer contact information or last name, and date.”
COLLECT NEEDED ITEMS
SEARCH welcomes donations to help its clients! Adult clients’ needs include:
- Clothes hangers
- Nutritional beverages such as Equate, Ensure, and Boost
- Radios (especially clock radios)
- Novels and other books for the Welcome Center library
- Bike locks (ones with codes are preferred, because keys can get lost)
Please feel free to reach out to Volunteer Coordinator Molly Martin or visit SEARCH’s in-kind needs page for other suggestions. Please coordinate deliveries with the Volunteer Coordinator before dropping off donations.
Katy Youth Cricket volunteers assembling sack lunches.
NCL Bayou Villages created hygiene kits for SEARCH.
A Devon Energy volunteer, 2016.
First Unitarian Church volunteers sorting donations of hygiene items after serving a meal.
Austin's Reach Beyond Mission did power-washing and other cleaning at SEARCH.
Closet of donated clothes for clients.
SEARCH's new building on Congress Avenue, 2016
Since 2011, sisters and softball players Jordan & Peyton Howard donated more than $6000 to Search via their Hits for Homeless fundraiser.
Congregation Brith Shalom & United Orthodox Synagogue served meals in December 2016.
Results of a Halliburton water drive.
Chevron volunteers helping with a meal.
MFuge campers sprucing up the exterior.
Katy Youth Cricket members with completed sack lunch donations.
Emma & Emily donated activity packs to entertain children in the Resource Center.
NATH members with donated holiday stockings, 2016
NCL Helping Hands West Houston collected more than $1000 worth of pantry items donations, 2012
NCL Bayou Villages members with hygiene kit donations
The Hess Corporation conducted a blanket and coat drive.
Insperity volunteers packed backpacks and donated supplies, 2012
St. Agnes Academy students donated blankets, 2016
Volunteers Kit Klaes & Davis Hance making sandwiches, 2017