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TEMPORARY BREAKS IN HELPLINE SERVICES

ABBIE SHELTER TO BEGIN TEMPORARY BREAKS IN 24/7 HELPLINE SERVICE ON NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS, DUE TO VOLUNTEER SHORTAGE


Dearest Community,


Beginning 7/10/2023, the Abbie Shelter’s 24-Hour Helpline will experience temporary breaks in service on nights and weekends when we are unable to adequately staff this 24/7 service. All M-F business-hour services will remain unchanged and uninterrupted.

The Abbie Shelter runs the 24 hour Helpline through the generous, hard work of loving volunteers, who answer the phone every day and night through the year. When volunteer support is unavailable, our staff advocates pick up overnight and weekend shifts. Our staff work tirelessly for our mission and our clients, yet they are not tireless. Working the Helpline on nights and weekends – in addition to our regular business day duties – is exhausting for staff and unsustainable for the organization. Likewise, we cannot depend on volunteers to carry an inflated load of Helpline shifts. We need to advocate for our advocates!


Most nonprofit organizations have experienced a decrease in volunteer involvement since the pandemic. Most human service nonprofits have simultaneously experienced an increase in demand, particularly those serving populations in crisis. The Abbie Shelter has experienced both, with a >50% increase in need that has not waned.


Therefore, in the spirit of sustainability and health, we will limit the number of overnight and weekend shifts per person. When no one is available for a 12-hour shift, it will be closed. We anticipate 5-8 unstaffed shifts (out of 40) each month, while we actively recruit volunteers to fill the gaps. Our answering service can direct callers to other 24 hour resources. People in immediate danger can call law enforcement. And, of course, callers can reach us during our next shift.


We have heavy hearts for people who need support now, at that exact moment of readiness to call, regardless of time of day or day of week. We know many survivors are unable to access services during business hours. We look forward to sustaining this 24/7 service again when we have sufficient resources.


We need eight to ten more volunteers, with availability to take one overnight or weekend shift every week, to bring our Helpline team to full strength. Volunteering with the Abbie Shelter’s 24 hour Helpline is meaningful, connecting, and well-supported work. Our volunteers take calls on their cell phones, moving freely within cell service. Extensive training is provided and some compensation is available. Volunteers can be any gender. To join our team, fill out our volunteer form or contact our Community Advocate at community@abbieshelter.org.


We are deeply grateful for our community’s compassionate support for both our clients and our organization.

Warmly,

Hilary Shaw

Executive Director




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