Compassionate volunteers eager to make a difference in women's lives


Our organization was founded by a volunteer, Jill Halverson, and our efforts have been defined by generations of extraordinary volunteers since 1978. 

The more than 5,000 active volunteers in DWC’s community provide over 30,000 hours of support annually: by joining us, you’ll be making a difference in partnership with women on their journey out of homelessness.

We welcome volunteers who share a commitment to DWC’s core values of safety, respect, stewardship, social justice, and community, and invite you to join us in our mission to end homelessness for women in Los Angeles. Volunteers are integral to this work!

Due to the impact of COVID-19 virus on our participants, residents, and frontline staff, all on-site volunteers are required to adhere to DWC’s COVID-19 Policy. Our policy is available to read here

Did you know?

DWC was run entirely by volunteers for the first 14 years of its existence.

Individual Volunteer Opportunities

All on-site individual volunteers are required to participate in a virtual volunteer training before signing up to volunteer. Many on-site individual volunteer opportunities also require that volunteers commit to a certain number of weekly shifts in order to sign up, though this varies depending on the opportunity. Please note that, at any given time, any particular volunteer opportunity may not have a need for new volunteers: you will find the most up-to-date information on volunteer needs during our volunteer training, and in our monthly volunteer newsletter.

DWC’s Kitchen served over 260,000 meals in 2020 alone: our incredible Kitchen team serves three nutritious meals seven days a week and offers an important space for women to connect and to share a meal with each other. Kitchen volunteers help with meal preparation (e.g. chopping and measuring); help keep the kitchen clean and organized (e.g. wiping counters, organizing the food pantry and cabinets); and serve our delicious meals to participants. Kitchen volunteering is a great fit for volunteers who like working in a team while also interacting with DWC participants.

Shifts: Su, M, Tu, W, F, Sa: 6:00am-9:00am, 9:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-3:00pm. 

Th: 6:00am-9:00am, 9:30am-12:00pm. 

The Day Center is the point of entry for women coming through DWC’s doors: it provides access to three meals a day; clean bathrooms and showers, changes of clothes, an address for individuals to receive mail, case management; and medical services. Day Center volunteers support our Day Center team by welcoming participants; helping distribute donations, mail, toiletry items, and meals; participating in and/or leading enrichment activities; and helping create a safe, welcoming space for the women receiving services in our community.

Shifts: Su, M, W, F, Sa: 7:30am-11:30am, 11:30am-2:30pm. 

Our Permanent Supportive Housing Program provides 119 units of comfortable, safe, and affordable housing without time limits as residents work towards personal stability. Residence hosts provide a welcoming, supportive atmosphere in the lobby of DWC’s permanent residences, welcoming and checking in with the women, signing for packages, answering the phone and door, and chatting with residents during downtime. This is a great fit if you’re able to work independently and want to work directly with our residents.

Shifts: Su, W, F, Sa: 9:00am-12:00pm, 5:00pm-8:00pm. 

As an integral part of DWC’s Workforce Development programming, the Learning Center offers a safe space for women seeking employment to search and apply for jobs and to participate in academic and vocational counseling sessions and job readiness workshops. Volunteers create a supportive, peaceful Learning Center environment by providing one-on-one assistance with computer questions, helping equip participants with the skills necessary to prepare them for school or work, and more. Learning Center volunteers should have some basic comfort using computers and a desire to interact with participants. While not a requirement, this is a particularly good fit for volunteers with previous HR or tutoring/education experience. 

Shifts: Tu, W: 9:00am-11:00am, 1:00pm-3:00pm.

Volunteers support DWC’s social enterprise, MADE by DWC, at pop-up shops across Los Angeles, by transporting MADE products to and from events, selling products, and spreading the word about DWC with pop-up attendees. Pop-up volunteering is a great fit for folks who enjoy talking with new people and are open to one-off weekend volunteer opportunities. This volunteer opportunity also requires volunteers to be comfortable using technology to process product orders (with training provided) and lifting up to 25 pounds.

Donation-sorting volunteers help our team organize the in-kind donations DWC receives, from clothing and shoes to toiletries and household goods. Volunteers should be comfortable being on their feet for the majority of their volunteer shift, and lifting up to 25 pounds. This opportunity has limited interaction with DWC participants, but is a great fit for folks with an eye for creating organizational systems and handling large volumes of items.

On occasion, DWC’s Human Resources team seeks detail-oriented volunteers who can support with organizational projects like administrative tasks, filing, and preparing for audits. This is an ideal opportunity for volunteers who are comfortable handling confidential information and enjoy making magic behind-the-scenes.

DWC’s Housing Navigation team occasionally recruits new volunteers to support their landlord engagement efforts across Los Angeles County. This volunteer opportunity is entirely remote: volunteers assist in organizing and updating landlord engagement materials, and also make phone calls to past and potential future landlords to gauge their interest in helping house women receiving DWC services. 

DWC regularly retains fluent Spanish-speaking volunteers who assist in making our services more accessible to our diverse community. Currently, our team only requests written Spanish translation support in both Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish.

DWC welcomes volunteer lawyers interested in providing volunteer legal support to participants, especially in the areas of housing, contracts, immigration, and disability. Volunteers are not asked to represent clients. The extent of a volunteer’s involvement will vary depending on interest and availability, but may include a consultation or a review of an individual’s paperwork. Requests may be remote or in-person, depending on the specific need.

Group Volunteer Opportunities

All on-site volunteers participating in group volunteer activities are required to complete our one-time volunteer waiver before participation in any on-site activities. To ensure all on-site volunteers are accounted for, volunteers will also be asked to sign in and out for their time at DWC. Please note that our individual volunteer orientation is available, but not required for group volunteer activities. All on-site volunteers must be 18 year of age or older. 

Snack Packs are essential to the women we serve at DWC. They allow us to ensure that participants have a nutritious snack or meal to take with them before leaving the Day Center each afternoon. You can review our Snack Pack guidelines here.  


  • We accept scheduled snack packs daily between 1:00 – 1:30pm. 

Interested in creating Snack Packs? Please reach out to GroupVolunteerEvents@DowntownWomensCenter.org with details of your snack pack building event and to schedule your delivery. 

Toiletry Kits are essential to the women we serve at DWC. Our Day Center provides daily access to showers for women experiencing homelessness, making Toiletry Kits an everyday need for the women we serve. You can review our Toiletry Kit guidelines here


  • We accept scheduled Toiletry Kits Monday – Friday between 8:00am to 1:00pm. 

Interested in creating Toiletry Kits? Please reach out to GroupVolunteerEvents@DowntownWomensCenter.org with details of your kit building event and schedule your delivery.  

Clean Home Kits provide DWC residents with essential cleaning supplies as they move from homelessness into housing. Your thoughtful contribution will help these women create a safe space that they can call home. You can review our Clean Home Kit guidelines here.


  • We accept Clean Home Kits Monday – Friday between 8:00am to 1:00pm. 

Interested in creating Clean Home Kits? Please reach out to GroupVolunteerEvents@DowntownWomensCenter.org with details of your kit building event and schedule your delivery. 

A home-cooked meal is one of the most important needs in our Day Center. In cooking club, you will prepare a meal for 180 women with 5-7 of your colleagues. You will provide sponsorship of $500 for the meal, and DWC will provide a kitchen leader, fresh ingredients, and step-by-step instructions. You will then get to serve the delicious meal you prepared!


  • We offer Cooking Clubs Wednesday – Sunday. 
  • Breakfast 5:30am to 9:00am
  • Lunch 9:00am to 12:30pm

Interested in cooking clubs? Please reach out to GroupVolunteerEvents@DowntownWomensCenter.org with your group’s request.

Candle Making is a team building opportunity where groups of 10 or less can join us in our candle workshop to pour and scent their own candles. You will provide a $675 sponsorship fee and each member of your group will leave with two 5oz candles of their own making. While your candles set, your group will have the opportunity to shop our Resale Boutique. All processed raised through candle making, and purchases at the Resale Boutique, directly support our career training and mentorship programs for women experiencing homelessness. 


  • We offer Candle Making Monday – Friday.
  • Morning slot is 10:00am – 12:00pm.
  • Afternoon slot is 1:00pm – 3:00pm.

Interested in Candle Making? Please reach out to GroupVolunteerEvents@DowntownWomensCenter.org with your group’s request. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  If you are signing up to volunteer as an individual, your first step after signing up will be to sign up for an upcoming virtual volunteer training in the volunteer portal. After attending a volunteer training, you will be able to sign up for on-site volunteer opportunities in our kitchen, day center, and more. 

If you are signing up to volunteer as a group, you do not need to attend a virtual volunteer training. In your volunteer signup form, please indicate the group volunteer opportunities you would like to learn more about, and our team will follow up with more information.


Because DWC serves an adult client population, we do not offer on-site volunteer opportunities appropriate for those under 18 years old. This includes minors accompanied by adults. However, those under 18 years old are welcome to volunteer with DWC off-site would be welcome to volunteer offsite by making Snack Packs, Toiletry Kits, Clean Home Kits, or by holding a donation drive.

On weekdays, we are unable to offer on-site parking to volunteers. However, there is ample street parking and $10 cash- and app-based pay lots at the corner of Boyd and San Pedro Street, two blocks away. On weekends, volunteers are welcome to park in DWC’s on-site parking lot, as space allows.

DWC continues to take extra precautions due to the prevalence of COVID-19 in Los Angeles. Due to the impact of COVID-19 virus on our participants, residents, and frontline staff, all on-site volunteers are required to adhere to DWC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Policy, which requires volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition to our vaccine requirement, we require all on-site staff and volunteers to wear a  KN95 or both a  cloth and surgical mask; continue to hold many services outside in our parking lot and to limit our indoor capacity to allow for social distancing; and require all in person staff and volunteers to conduct a symptom and temperature check upon arriving on-site.

If you are an individual volunteer interested in offering regular activities or workshops, we encourage you to first attend one of our virtual volunteer trainings, to gain an understanding of our service approach and expectations for volunteers. Once you’ve done this, please get in touch at Volunteer@downtownwomenscenter.org, and we’ll discuss next steps on an individual basis.

If you are a volunteer group looking to offer a one-off workshop or activity, please share an overview of your offer at Volunteer@downtownwomenscenter.org, and we’ll be happy to discuss further.

 Currently, we are only able to accommodate on-site groups of 5-7 people.

 If you have any questions or need further assistance with individual volunteering, please email Volunteer@DowntownWomensCenter.org

If you have any questions or need further assistance with group volunteering, please email GroupVolunteerEvents@DowntownWomensCenter.org