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YOU are the Mission. Union Rescue Mission wouldn’t be able to serve so many precious men, women, and children without the generosity and dedication of friends like you.

There are so many opportunities for individuals or groups to help — both at our main building in downtown LA and at our Hope Gardens Family Center in the foothills of Sylmar, California. No matter what your skills, we can find a way for you to share love and hope with those in need.


URM (Downtown LA) »

You can choose from a variety of volunteer opportunities at our main campus, located in the heart of Skid Row.


Hope Gardens Family Center »

You can see current volunteer needs at our sanctuary for women and children, located in the foothills of Sylmar, California.


Thrift Store

You can see current opportunities and special volunteer needs for our Thrift Store, located in Covina, California.

URM (Downtown LA) Volunteer Opportunities

To find out when the next URM (Downtown) orientation for new volunteers will be held, please email

Serve a Meal

Every day, we serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We average about 2,300 meals per day! But we can’t do it without friends like you to help prepare and serve meals for guests.

Our greatest needs are:

  • Volunteers to serve breakfast
  • Volunteers to serve weekday lunches

Kids Freestyle — Gym Activities

Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5 to 6 p.m., come connect with our kids in the gym. There are about 60 kids living at Union Rescue Mission. Get to know them over basketball, jump rope, or a game of freeze tag. Feel free to come by yourself or with a group.

If you are interested in offering something more organized than free time in the gym (such as a basketball tournament or an “Olympics Day”), let us know. We would love to work with you to set up something fun for our kids!

(Please note: a background check is required. Email for more info)

Little Steps

If you love working with kids, you may be interested in helping with Little Steps, our program for children ages 2-6, and their moms. There are opportunities to help Monday through Friday, from 10am-2pm. Activities include reading, arts and crafts, play time and organizing our kid’s library. We are looking for volunteers who are willing to make a commitment of at least two times per month for three months.

(Please note: a background check is required. Email for more info)

For more information please contact

Day Room Visits

Our men’s and women’s day rooms are open to the public from 12:00 to 2:30 p.m. daily. We would love for you to stop by to make new friends and encourage people who are looking for a safe shelter from the streets. Feel free to bring cards, dominos, board games, books, or other items to that might brighten someone’s day. The Day Room is open to our residents from breakfast until evening; if you are interested in setting up a class or an ongoing activity, please send us your ideas!

Interested in scheduling a day room visit? Please email and include the words DAY ROOM in the subject line, or call (213) 673-4860.

Learning Center

We are always looking for volunteers who can donate their time to help in our learning center. Opportunities are available for people who can:

  • Tutor guests and residents
  • Help with resume writing
  • Teach basic computer skills

Interested in volunteering at our learning center? Please email and include the words LEARNING CENTER in the subject line, or call (213) 673-4860.

Ice Cream Social

If you or your group is interested in sponsoring an ice cream social, we would love to talk with you about creating an event. An ice cream social can be held any time of the year in our San Julian Lot, or in one of the day rooms. With your help, we are able to get ice cream with all the toppings to serve to people in the community!

Interested in sponsoring an ice cream social? Please email and include the words ICE CREAM in the subject line, or call (213) 673-4860.

Water Walks — Summer Only

Anytime it’s 85 degrees or hotter, we walk the streets of Skid Row and pass out cold bottled water. Water Walks take place Monday through Friday at 3:00 p.m.

Want to sign up for Water Walk Text Alerts to be notified when walks take place? Email and include the words WATER WALK in the subject line, or call (213) 673-4860.

Thrift Store (Covina, CA) Volunteer Opportunities

Clothing Sorter

Each week, we sort, tag and place on the floor over 1200 new articles of clothing, while rotating out older items in order to keep a steady flow of fresh merchandise for our customers! We are currently in need of up to 7 volunteers each Monday for approximately 5 hours. We welcome individuals or small groups, one-time volunteers or those wanting to help out on a regular basis. If you are interested, please contact Troy at

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Hope Gardens Family Center Volunteer Opportunities

Have questions about volunteering at Hope Gardens? Please contact Kerri Budwine at or (213)-316-2768. Volunteering is by appointment only, so please contact us to arrange the details.

Saturday Work Days

Once a month, we host a Saturday work day at Hope Gardens to help our community stay safe, clean, and well-maintained. Projects may include: painting, gardening, seasonal safety and holiday preparation, or general cleaning of common community spaces or residential rooms for incoming families. Shifts typically last 3-4 hours. Volunteers of all ages are welcome and volunteering in groups of 10 or more is highly encouraged. Work Days are by appointment only so please contact us to arrange the details.

Provide Childcare

We need volunteers in our PEEPS department, which involves caring for children aged 3 months – 5 years while their mothers are onsite taking Program classes. This is a perfect position for volunteers who are looking to hold, rock, sing, read, play, and love these little kids. Shifts are from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday. We also need Youth Helpers to volunteer with children 5 and older.  Youth Helper shifts are from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday. We prefer that volunteers make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment to help.

Tutor Youth

We are looking for volunteers who are able to tutor children and teens after school, Monday through Thursday, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Volunteers will help these kids complete homework and provide guidance on subjects that are particularly challenging.

Meal Service

We are in need of volunteers to help prepare and serve meals to the women, children, and senior ladies at Hope Gardens. Volunteer(s) must be able to drive or coordinate a ride to the property, as there is no buss access or shuttle service, and must be 14 years or older. We need up to 10 volunteers per shift, Monday-Saturday. Shift times are 7:00 am – 11:00 am, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, and 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm,  7 days a week.

Operations & EVS Assistant

We are in need of volunteers to help out in our Operations and EVS (Environmental Services) Departments every Wednesday from 9am – 3pm.  Volunteers must be 18 years old or older, and must be prepared to work outside in all kinds of weather, get dirty, use tools, paint, and learn new things. This position will shadow a staff member and will directly influence our ability to renovate new rooms for  mothers and children in need of a place stay, and to keep our campus safe and clean. Up to 8 volunteers are needed; there is no long term commitment required, volunteers may come individually or as part of a small group. For more information or to schedule a volunteer date, please contact Kerri Budwine at or (213)-316-2768

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Have an Idea?

If you have a volunteer idea you didn’t see listed, let us know. We would love to hear how you would like to serve URM and our guests. Please email and include the word IDEA in the subject line, or call (213) 673-4860.

Want to learn more about volunteering? Read our Volunteer FAQs.