SOOP

   

What is SOOP?

(Scroll down to see SOOP volunteers in action)


Service Opportunities with Our Partners is an affiliate of Mennonite Mission Network, a mission of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) of Canada.  SOOP programs can be found at over 70 locations across the United States and Canada.   Each program is operated by local churches or coordinated by local volunteers who see SOOP as an important mission in the community.

Phoenix SOOP program

The Phoenix SOOP program uses the Hospitality Services Center (HSC) with its 6 bedrooms as the center for various volunteer programs that also provides a community setting for the participants. SOOP volunteers frequently find their service is in the area of their interest and giftedness.  Volunteers work on the average of 20-25 hours each week.

SOOP in Phoenix

Typical Day in SOOP

Monday to Friday breakfast is the responsibility of each person.  Start times for work assignments can vary but in most cases volunteers will leave around 8am.  Assignments may be around 4 hours each morning, however, some will be 2 hours and others may be over 4.  Lunch is again the responsiblity of each person with the food choices available at the Guest House.


How you spend your afternoons is entirely up to you.  The evening meal is the time for everyone to share the meal around the dining table or on the patio.  All SOOP volunteers will take their turn in the evening meal preparation.

Work assignments

Your hosts will assign each person to the different choices each day.  These assignments may be given out the prior evening.  Hosts will try to assign according to interest and skills, however, it is encouraged that everyone try more than one assignment.


Transporation will be provided to go the the work sites, however, it may be necessary to use personal vehicles if available.  Mileage will be reimbursed when this is needed.

Leisure time

Afternoons and weekends are open for you to spend as you prefer.  We ask that you let the Hosts know of your plans.


Group activities will occasionally be planned for those who wish to participate.  These may include sightseeing, concerts, hiking, museums and others.

Finances

Operation of the Guest House used for the SOOP program is costly and it is necessary to charge fees for room and food.  We ask for $40 per room per day double occupancy and $30 per room per day single occupancy.  Transportation to work sites and any other costs associated with your stay and work are included.


Payment should be made to our Hosts upon arrival.  Credit cards are accepted.   Hospitality Services Center depends on donations in addition to the SOOP income to achieve sustainability.

Transportation

For those traveling to Phoenix by air the Hosts will arrange to pick you up at the airport.   If you wish to rent a car we recommend you rent at points off the airport.  You should not need to rent a vehicle unless you want to plan a weekend getaway.


If you choose to use your vehicle for your work assignments you may be reimbursed for your mileage. If you use your vehicle for other group activities we expect that riders share in the cost of the use of your vehicle.

Policy Handbook

We ask that you become familiar with our handbook outlining policies and expections for your SOOP experience.  This includes sexual harrasment, alcohol and tobacco, household chores, laundry, meals and others. 

Testimonials

House of Refuge/House of Hope

Thank you SOOP volunteers for serving at House of Refuge/House of Hope Sunnyslope!  We appreciate your help with our general needs of repairs, painting, cleaning, sorting, etc. throughout the year.  Thank you also for the crew to rebuild our "Rock House" which contains men clothes and shoes so our residents have access to the clothing they need.   We have been blessed to have your many volunteers from around the country spend time here and assist our working men and single moms with kids.

Hope for Hunger

On behalf of the Hope For Hunger staff and the residents we serve, we THANK YOU for all that you have done and continue to do!  We know you have a choice on where you choose to make a difference and it is a BLESSING that you have made Hope For Hunger your home.  I want to personally Thank the hosts Bill and Edna Ressler of SOOP for your commitment and dedication to the community.  Your organization has been a very instrumental part of our existence since the inception of our vision to have "Hunger Free Communities". Bill and Edna, would you please pass our sincerest gratitude to ALL THOSE who have been involved.  In 2013 we served over 100k individuals and this would not have been possible without your help! 


Thank You and GOD BLESS! 


Randy Rodriquez

Glendale Fire Department

Hope For HungerPresident 

Why we volunteer

  


With gratitude for the following reflections from Jim Bowman, Harrisonburg MCC Gift and Thrift Board President, that he presented at their volunteer banquet, adapted by Mary Jane:
 

1.  We volunteer because we are committed to the mission of SOOP. SOOP represents a worldwide network of creative resource transfer. (Resource is defined broadly here—with financial, social and spiritual components.) Volunteering here places us squarely in that network. When we sit beside a refugee at Abounding Service, we are in a real sense, connecting with the displaced persons in Syria, Myanmar (Burma), Kenya. When we are packing food boxes at St. Mary’s, we are giving a cup of cold water to a young girl in Congo who was raped by hostile militia. When we pound nails and wield paintbrushes, we are reaching out to the homeless and addicted on Phoenix’s streets.
 

2.  We volunteer to gain admission to a social network of like-minded persons. Retiring represents a major transition in life, one that most of us look forward to. But there can be some problematic features inherent in retiring. Potentially, the most problematic is the loss of long-standing social networks from our former work environment. A draining sense of isolation can ensue at times. Volunteering at SOOP fits us with a new social network. And often times, we find that we actually feel more in tune with the social and spiritual values that we find here than we did at our former place of employment.
 

3. We volunteer to find meaning. During the course of our sojourn on earth, we long to experience meaning in what we do with our lives. We want to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to be a part of the grand scheme of things, a scheme we can wholeheartedly subscribe to. Being a part of the worldwide SOOP network of caring represented here is a very good place to look for that often elusive sense of meaning.
 

  • On my coffee table at home is a unique piece of weathered oak wood. I found it in the woods, and it caught my eye because of its very unusual grain patterns. I took it to my shop and with a steel brush, cleaned it up. What emerged was an incredible pattern of wood grain. Some of the grain is dark, and some is light colored, and are often interspersed in an alternating pattern—dark light, dark light. Some of the grain strands are straight, but most are curved and swirled into incredible form. You have a whirlpool here, and then a deep valley there. On the back side, it appears that there is, partially embedded, a near fossilized walnut. Pondering the masterpiece on my coffee table, I mentioned to my wife that this humble piece of wood represents the soul of that tree from long ago. Reflecting on this group of volunteers, it occurs to me that I am seeing the soul of SOOP. Each of you can think of yourself as a wood grain strand, much like in the piece on my coffee table. Straight, curved, light, dark, swirled, convoluted—all bound together in one organic unit, you represent the soul of SOOP. When you volunteered here, you for sure had your reasons for doing so. They may or may not be one of those mentioned earlier. But I have my doubts whether it occurred to you that as a volunteer, you represent the soul of SOOP.  On behalf of the Hospitality Services Center and SOOP Glendale, I hope you can say that you experienced an environment in which each of you felt connected to a cause of great good and were enriched by the people you served in an environment that generated meaning in your life. Again, thank you so much for all that you did during your SOOP service. 

 Hospitality Services Center    4443 West Vista Avenue  Glendale, Arizona 85301 

 623-847-0314                                          phxmennoguest@gmail.com