(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Glendale Fire Department
Hope For HungerPresident
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.