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By Paul Ainslie, President, SVdP Indy

At St Vincent de Paul Indianapolis, two priorities matter most: taking care of our neighbors and taking care of our volunteers and staff. All our volunteers and staff are engaged in the first priority each and every day. The needs of our neighbors have increased significantly since the pandemic, particularly as the cost of living has gone up. For example, today, the 30th Street Food Pantry serves 40% more households than before the pandemic. Recent increases in rents and utility costs place a significant burden on many in our community, too.

Our Safeguarding Policy is in place to protect those we serve and those who serve. Undoubtedly those we serve are vulnerable to exploitation. Many of our volunteers–those who serve–are also vulnerable due to age, health and financial situations.

Taking care of our volunteers and staff also requires that we keep them safe and healthy while working inside our facilities. In today’s world, there are more threats and risks than possibly ever before. In case of an emergency at one of our facilities, such as the Pantry or the Distribution Center, it is imperative to know who is there. Last year, we implemented a sign-in sheet process to better capture who is there. However, this process is cumbersome, duplicates information, and requires manual entry into the current inadequate volunteer database.

Our new volunteer management system, implemented in Salesforce, went live on June 1 and will replace the current system by July 1. For regular volunteers like me who work the same jobs each week (like Wednesday home delivery and Thursday evening at the Pantry), my time will automatically be recorded as recurring shifts. There will be a printout at the Pantry entrance (Door 8) on those days with my name and that of other volunteers. All I need to do upon entering is check off my name. I do the same thing at the end of my shift before I leave. In short, the sheet will show all the volunteers expected for the shift, and check marks will indicate who is present. A second sheet will be used for volunteers who have not signed up online as well as staff and visitors. In an emergency, these two sheets would be used to identify each person in the facility should evacuation or shelter be required.

Get additional details about enrolling and registering in the new volunteer system.

I know this is a change, and changes are often difficult to deal with at first. But please know that the health and safety of all of us is the foundation of what we do. Thank you for your cooperation.