We could not do what we do without our faithful and incredible volunteers.
Read below for some ways you can serve at ECHO then scroll to bottom to fill out our online volunteer form.

Overnight Chaperones

If you’re seeking personal interaction and a social atmosphere, ECHO provides a unique volunteer experience that’s sure to be fun and fulfilling. Join us as an overnight volunteer. ECHO provides overnight shelter every night of the year, therefore at least two volunteers must stay overnight with the guests as chaperones to help supervise the evening. They arrive at 5:00 pm and hang out with the guests as dinner wraps up. An overnight orienter gives the volunteers a tour, reviews the rules and helps them settle in for the night. And to make sure that everything runs smoothly, the volunteers sleep in four hour shifts during the night. This volunteer position is unique among organizations because it provides the chance to get to know our guests in a personal way. It also provides the option of serving with someone you know in a quiet and family-like setting. 

Meal Providers

Experience first-hand the small town atmosphere of volunteering with ECHO. Serving meals is a hands-on, interactive experience. ECHO serves meals to about 80 hungry people 365 days of the year. This requires a lot of volunteers to prepare and serve the hot dinners. The meals can be homemade or purchased. We welcome organizations or individuals to come and help. Dinner is served every night between 5-6:00pm and normally requires 2-3 people to serve it to the guests. Opportunities in this area can include serving one week out of the year, one day every month, or simply helping fill in the days that are needed. You decide when you or your organization can serve and what type of warm meal you will serve, and we provide the hungry people to finish it up. Please Note: The meals are not cooked at ECHO. They need to be brought to the shelter already prepared. However, the ECHO kitchen may be used to warm-up a dish before serving. Currently we have 45 groups who serve at ECHO; however, we need more!



Do you enjoy one-on-one interaction? This is the perfect opportunity to work in direct contact with our guests. Every evening from 4:30 to 6:30 we need an assistant at the intake desk to help screen the guests as they arrive for dinner. Receptionists help guide and organize the overnight guests. The greeter works with the serving group supporting their efforts as they present the meal. The greeter also oversees the cleaning of the kitchen and dining room. We normally screen 50-70 individuals who join us for dinner. Not all of our dinner guests are homeless. We have many people who have housing, but their their income falls far below the poverty line and they depend on ECHO for a daily nutritious meal.


Other ways to help

El Camino Homeless Organization is a volunteer-run organization. Thousands of ECHO volunteers from the north county of San Luis Obispo as well as students from Cal Poly and Cuesta Colleges have operated the shelter for 13 years.

A wide variety of volunteer opportunities are available:

Do you have a few hours to spare?

2 hours –You may be an Outdoor Monitor between 4:15-6:15pm

2 hours – You may “work the desk” as an Intake Worker between 4-6pm

2 hours – You may oversee serving the food in the kitchen as a Greeter between 4-6pm

14 hours –You may serve as Overnight Chaperone between 5pm and 7am

1 or 2 hours –You may use your computer skills as a Data Inputer (pick your own hours)

Or help clean around the shelter or wash laundry in your own home.

I want to volunteer at ECHO!

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