Feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless in the Danbury CT area since 1982


Without volunteers, Dorothy Day House could not exist.   Here are some ways to help out:

Shelter volunteers -- our greatest volunteer need:

Shelter volunteers arrive at 9pm at the same time as the guests.   Assisted by a shelter coordinator, who is always present at the beginning of the evening, they check in guests and pass out linen and towels.   The shelter coordinator leaves around 10pm, at which time the lights go out.    Shelter volunteers do a load of guest laundry in a commercial washer, and can generally catch a few hours sleep (a bed is reserved for the volunteer, or they can sit up in a chair) prior to getting the guests up at 5:30.   Guests and volunteers leave shortly after 6am.   Shelter volunteers must be 21 years old.  Most are men (but women are welcome), and all volunteer no more than one night per month.   If interested, please contact Mike Murphy at email or  phone 203-240-9276.

More info for prospective volunteers is in the attached shelter brochure. Click here to see brochure.

Kitchen volunteers:

Kitchen volunteers are organized into crews comprising 8 to 12 people.  There are approximately 20 crews, with most crews working one day a month (ex. 4th Thursday).   Volunteers arrive at the kitchen shortly after noon, and get to work preparing the meal, which is served from 3:15pm to 4:45pm   Cleanup is usually finished by 5:30pm.   No special culinary talents are required.

If you want to volunteer in the kitchen, you will be assigned to a crew and should be willing to make a commitment to work one day a month.  For more information, please send an email to ...Please be sure to state when you are available (ex 1st Tuesday) so we can direct you to the appropriate coordinator for that day.

Making sandwiches:

We provide bag lunches for guests to take with them as they leave the afternoon meal. Generally the kitchen crews for the day make the sandwiches, but sandwich donations are welcome all year long. We need 60 meat sandwich bag lunches every day that contain two meat sandwiches and a dessert (generally two cookies) plus an additional 20 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

If your organization has an interest in making bag lunches for us on a one time basis or a more frequent basis, send an email to  or call Lynn Taborsak at 203-297-3572

Please do not bring in sandwiches unless you have arranged with someone at Dorothy Day to accept and store your donation.

Baked good donations pickups:

A number of local supermarkets have graciously made their expired baked goods available to us, but we use volunteers to pick up donations and deliver them to Spring Street.

Currently we do not need volunteers to pick up bread

Shelter from the cold volunteers aka Evening Program -- help needed:

During the winter months (Nov 15 through April 15), we run a program at St James AME Church (William St in Danbury)  from 6 to 8:30pm to give guests a place to get out of the cold for a few hours until the shelters are open.  Volunteers open up the kitchen, serve hot drinks (and leftover food, at their discretion) and do a quick cleanup. Generally two or three volunteers are needed. Volunteers generally come a specific day of the week (ex. Wednesdays, every other Wednesday). Right now we have all volunteers we need.   Contact Lynn Taborsak (203-297-3572 or

Shelter showers:

We open up the shelter showers twice a week to give homeless people not staying at the Dorothy Day House shelter the opportunity to get a shower.   We currently need volunteers for showers on the 3rd and 4th Wednesday each month and on the 2nd and 4th Sunday each month.  Volunteers arrive at 4:30pm and stay until just after 6pm.  If interested, please contact Lynn Taborsak at 203-297-3572 or

Overflow shelter (winter months):

During the winter, the First Congregational Church of Danbury hosts an overflow shelter in Pilgrim Hall. Volunteers are needed to spend the night.   For more information, call Kathy Bardes at 203-470-8825.   Kathy is looking for someone to help her with scheduling overflow shelter volunteers.  Please call her if you can help out.

Monthly general cleaning:

Although it is the responsibility of each kitchen group to leave the kitchen clean prior to departing, a group of especially dedicated volunteers meets the second Saturday (note this used to be the first Saturday) of each month at 9am in the kitchen for some serious in-depth cleaning   The group cleans the walls, shelving, fans, refrigerators, etc.  If you would like to help out on a Saturday, please call Joe Simons at 203-482-6359 to make sure the group is meeting.

Morning Glory Breakfast Program:

Catholic Charities runs a breakfast program at the kitchen every day from 6:30am to 9am.  Additional volunteers are needed -- if you can help, please call Catholic Charities at 203-349-2428.

Dorothy Day House Tours

If you are stopping by Dorothy Day House and would like to see the kitchen, donation storage area and shelter, please call Betty Ballard (743-7368). If she is available, Betty will be glad to show you or your group our facilities and explain more about our work..

Ideas for elementary and high school aged children:

Here are some things you can do to help out at Dorothy Day House:

1) Conduct a food drive.   See the "wishlist" on our for ideas
2) Make sandwiches --  see above
3) Have a bake sale or other event to collect money

More volunteer opportunities for young people ages 11-18 can be found through the Youth Volunteer Corp of Western CT.   This is a service of the Volunter Center of United Way of Western CT.   Call 203-797-1154 or

"Do not neglect to show hospitality, for by that means some have entertained angels without knowing it" - Hebrews 13:1-2

Dorothy Day Hospitality House
11 Spring Street, Danbury CT
Mailing Address: PO Box 922 Danbury CT 06813-0922
Tel:  (203) 743-7988

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