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Volunteers are always needed and greatly appreciated!

Volunteers are the heart of IHN of Greater Knoxville; without volunteers our network cannot exist. Volunteers interact with our guests and treat them with respect and compassion.


  • provide food,
  • serve meals,
  • play with children,
  • help with homework, and
  • stay overnight.

Other volunteer opportunities include:

  • Harley House support or maintenance (contact Ann O'Connor);
  • spreading to word about Family Promise and asking others to consider a donation of time, goods and services, or money to keep our programs going;
  • transporting guests to special appointments (e.g., doctors appointment, taking or picking a guest up from work) (contact Mary Thomson LeMense);
  • grant writing and fund raising activities (contact Mary Thomson LeMense);
  • public relations-newsletter, article writing, tv and radio spots, etc. (contact Mary Thomson LeMense);
  • family mentoring (contact Mary Thomson LeMense );
  • and other vital services.

Any talent you can share or gift you make makes a difference in changing the lives of our guests, and helping them become self sufficient.

Occasionally we find ourselves overbooked with client appointments and needing to be in three places at the same time.  If you have some spare time and would be willing to be available to help transport our guests to some of their appointments, please call the office and speak to Anne Umbach.  These volunteers must provide proof of vehicle insurance, submit to a background check and sign a confidentiality agreement.  We sincerely appreciate folks who are willing to help us on an "as-needed" basis.

Important Documents for Volunteers and Host Congregations

For more information on volunteering, please contact our Executive Director or call (865) 584-2822.

Training is important for every volunteer. In order to volunteer you must attend training. Please contact your congregation's Volunteer Coordinator and request training.

Contact the Family Promise Executive Director to arrange a training class for your host and support team volunteers. We have a new video, so please ask to see it at your training class.


Day Center Phone: 584-2822

How can I help?

  • Pray for the Family Promise of Knoxville ministry and that we unite the community to help families without homes become self-sufficient.

  • Tell others about the Family Promise IHN Program and offer them opportunities to serve.

  • Volunteer - please fill out the volunteer resource form and see opportunities to the left. We have every need imaginable for all types of people and would like to start a resource directory.

    ***Send your name, email address, and phone number to Mary Thomson LeMense if you would like to be a part of the resource directory. Please indicate how you would like to help out.

  • We need a storage area for items that are donated and guest belongings.

  • We need toiletry bags for men and women, healthy snacks, craft boxes for children.

  • At times we need clothing for guests.

  • When guests find housing, sometimes we need beds, cribs, high chairs, sheets, towels, etc. Please contact Mary Thomson LeMense about your donations so that we can best target your gifts to those who need it most.

  • We need cars - your tax deductible automobile donation can change the lives of our guests.


Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities for IHN

The success of the Family Promise of Knoxville' core program, the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) depends on the efforts and enthusiasm of hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers perform the variety of tasks necessary to provide a safe and comfortable temporary home for our guests. Volunteers express their hospitality by interacting with guests, treating guest families with dignity and respect, and showing genuine concern for their well-being. Without volunteers, there would be no Network.

Each host week, the host congregation needs about 50 volunteers from the host and associated support churches to prepare meals, serve as evening and overnight hosts, coordinate activities, organize supplies, and assist guests as needed. Although most volunteers are adults, youth can participate too, particularly with arranging activities for young children and helping older children with schoolwork.

Volunteer Coordinators

Volunteer Coordinators support volunteers and serve as program/volunteer coordinators for their congregation involved in the Family Promise Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) program. Each host and support congregation has a primary coordinator with the responsibility for managing host week. In many congregations, several assistant coordinators manage specific responsibilities, such as meals, donations, supplies, and scheduling.

Coordinators serve as managers of the IHN program within their congregations. See the Guide For Volunteer Coordinators for more details on coordinator duties. They should communicate regularly with other volunteers to ensure that their host week runs smoothly. Volunteer hosts should report problems or unusual incidents to the primary coordinator for follow-up. Contact Mary for the name of your church's Volunteer Coordinator.

Volunteer Host Opportunities

Volunteer hosts fill one or more of these roles during a host week. See the Guide For Volunteer Hosts for more details on the duties of host and support churches.

Dinner Preparers - 2 or 3 volunteers, in advance of 6:00 pm

Dinner is a hot meal prepared at volunteer homes or in the host congregation's kitchen. It is served at the host church at 6:00 pm. Cooking dinner is a good opportunity for congregational groups, such as Bible study, women's circles, men's groups, and couple's groups-to get involved with IHNGK.

Dinner and Evening Hosts - 2 volunteers, 5:30 - 8:30 pm

These volunteers may be part of the dinner preparation team, or may arrive to eat with guests. Dinner hosts socialize with guests, welcome newcomers, and assist parents with children's needs. Dinner is informal. After dinner, hosts may conduct children's activities, help with homework, or assist a guest with a particular need.

Overnight Hosts - 2 volunteers, preferably a man and a woman, 8:30 pm - 7 am

Two overnight hosts spend the night at the host congregation facility. Overnight hosts spend time with guests, help older children with homework, and are available in case of emergency. They wake guests at 6:00 a.m. Some overnight hosts also prepare breakfast.

Breakfast Preparers - Possibly 1 or 2 volunteers, 6 - 7 am

On weekdays, breakfast is a quick, simple meal (e.g., cereal, muffins, toast, juice, coffee) because guests must be ready to leave on the van at 7 am. At some congregations, overnight hosts prepare breakfast. At other congregations, one or two volunteers arrive at 6:00 am, to prepare breakfast and clean up, allowing the overnight hosts to leave in time for work. Often, on weekends, breakfast is more relaxed and hosts prepare something more substantial, such as bacon and eggs, or pancakes.

Other Volunteer Opportunities


Volunteers either purchase (using funds from the congregational budget) or coordinate donations of food staples, paper products, cleaning supplies, and other needed items.


Volunteers plan and organize special activities and events, such as arts-and-crafts projects, video parties, and outings for children and families.

Coordinating Donations

Members of the congregation often wish to assist guests by donating clothing, furniture, and household items. A volunteer collects and organizes the donations, which are distributed to guests once they are settled in permanent housing. Please contact Anne Umbach about your donations so that we can best target your gifts to those who need it most.


At the end of each host week, one or two volunteers wash the guests' and overnight hosts' towels and sheets.

Setup and Take-down

Volunteer teams set up the accommodations on Sunday afternoon and help take down and move the beds the following Sunday.

Day Center

Volunteers are invaluable additions to the Network Day Center, In addition to providing coverage when the Network Director is out, they help guests and the Network Director with many daily activities. Please contact Ann O'Conner if you would like to help out at the Harley House Day Center

If you have skills in fund raising, grant writing, or would like to become a sponsor or patron of Family Promise of Knoxville, please contact
Mary Thomson LeMense at