Mission From Mars – Volunteer Safety Guidelines
Please visit our Get Started Guide for more details about safety and meal making.
Important note regarding safety: We think it is important to ensure we inform you as much as possible to the potential risks involved with street ministry. We do not intend to ‘scare’ you from serving. To date we have had no safety incidents and hope to keep it that way!
The following has been compiled from various members of Mission From Mars. No one statement is a ‘rule’. Think of it more as best practices and lessons learned.
Many who are homeless experience mental illness/post traumatic stress: Many of the folks we are helping are people who may have experienced traumatic events, could be suffering from mental illness, or other issues and it is important that we respect their space. While it is certainly alright to engage and talk with those we meet (you will find this to be the most rewarding part of this ministry), you should be guided by their cues. If they are not responsive or seem to want to be left alone, we suggest you do just that.
What about children? We want to create a community where children and families are welcome to serve and learn. If you choose to bring children with you to the distribution site, you should exercise extreme caution in doing so. You must ensure they are under your immediate and close supervision at all times. They should never be left alone or go alone with a stranger. Situations can easily and quickly escalate or get out of control, and occasionally there are incidents among the individuals we provide for. Be aware at all times for your own safety. If you have concerns about bringing your children, we suggest coming alone to volunteer and understand the environment. Or message Mission From Mars and we can connect you to other parents who serve regularly.
Mission From Mars is not insured, licensed, or registered in any way. The group is NOT associated with Light of Life Rescue Mission or other non-profit organizations. Your participation is at your own risk.
Be aware there are individuals who suffer from mental illness, addiction, and may have a criminal history. This could include child and/or sexual predators. We cannot maintain knowledge of individual backgrounds during this open lunch.
We appreciate women and men serving together! There is safety in numbers and like to have a large number of volunteers on site. Male presence is greatly appreciated.
It is extremely important that you understand and exercise extreme caution and ensure close supervision at all times. If you choose to bring children, they should not be out of your sight. Many come without children for the first time and we encourage a minimum age of 10 (but there is no limit).
We serve outdoors on a sidewalk rain or shine, there is no security or police present.
Can we take pictures? Mission From Mars makes an effort not to take photographs of those we meet in this ministry. Many are seeking work or simply have an aversion to being photographed. Please respect their privacy. If they do give you permission to take a photo with them, NEVER post these pictures online without their permission, or distribute them in any way.
Media: We ask that those who volunteer for Mission From Mars decline interview and photo requests on behalf of the organization. If you are contacted for an interview, please refer to Jennifer Zebo.
Online Privacy: Many of our friends have access to internet. It is very important that we not post any of the Mission From Mars or Under the Overpass group to something that could be easily found publicly. Do not ‘friend’ homeless. For this reason, we ask that you not post your food or serving sign-ups online (rather by email or private message). This is to protect your privacy as well as our own.
What to wear? While you would certainly not be required to do so, we recommend you leave valuables (jewelry) and any special or expensive clothing at home. If you are a woman, when choosing what to wear, be conscious that we are serving mostly men and potentially there could be sexual predators in the general area.
Important note regarding safety: While some of the above may seem daunting or downright scary, it’s not meant to deter people from helping, but it is to ensure that you select items to help with that are within your comfort zone. Perhaps you would rather be behind the scenes. There are lots of ways to help, please see under "services".