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Volunteering FAQs


THANK YOU for your interest in volunteering with The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region.  We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from our dedicated volunteers.  We are in need of volunteers year round in a variety of ways - including preparing and serving food during our Breakfast Feeding Program and food and clothing distribution during Holiday Assistance months.  As our services continue to grow, we will continue to need additional volunteer support.

Below you will find frequently asked questions regarding the volunteer program at The Salvation Army Harrisburg.  If you have a question about any of the qualifications for volunteering, please contact our office prior to completing your application.

What is the process for volunteering?

If you are interested in volunteering at The Salvation Army Harrisburg, the first step is completing an application packet and submitting that to the office.  Because we use ongoing and one-time volunteers, there are different application requirements for each of those types of volunteers.  Listed below is a description of each application.  Please choose the application most suitable for your volunteering preference.

Short Term Volunteer Application - Anyone coming to volunteer on a specific project that is short term (ex. one day special project) should complete this application.  This volunteer is NOT associated with a larger group or organization.

Long Term Volunteer Application - Anyone coming to volunteer with us on an ongoing basis should complete this application.

After the packet has been submitted to the office, it will be processed.  We will then contact you to discuss your application and find the best match for your skills and interests within The Salvation Army Harrisburg. 

Can my group or company volunteer? 

Absolutely!  We have several volunteer opportunities available for groups or companies.  Helping others as a group is a great way to strengthen bonds and build morale.  If you are interested in volunteering as a group, please complete the Group Liability Form and submit to the office. 

Group Liability Form- This form should be completed by the designated leader of a group coming to volunteer (ex. your company is volunteering for a Christmas distribution day).

Do I need to have clearances to volunteer? 

Any person over the age of 18 volunteering in the state of PA, with the chance of coming in contact with a child or vulnerable person, must have clearances on file.  Within The Salvation Army, an ongoing volunteer is required to have the following completed clearances on file: PA Access to Criminal History, PA Child Abuse History, FBI Federal Criminal History OR an Affidavit if you have lived in PA for over 10 years.  In addition, all ongoing volunteers are required to complete an online Mandatory Reporter Training.

If you are planning to volunteer for a special project and are NOT part of a group (individual one-time volunteer), you are not required to have clearances on file; however, you are required to have the Statement of Volunteers Working with Children on file regardless of the perceived interaction with children.  Volunteers who are part of a larger group coming to volunteer do not need individual clearances, but there needs to be a designated leader of the group responsible for submitting the Group Liability Form.

Why do I need these clearances?  

In short, clearances are needed for all ongoing volunteers to assure that The Salvation Army Harrisburg has done the best it could to insure the safety of all our clients, especially children and vulnerable adults. 

PA Access to Criminal History: The purpose of PATCH is to better enable the public to obtain criminal history record checks. The PATCH repository was created and is maintained in accordance with Pennsylvania's Criminal History Information Act.  This Act also directs the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) to disseminate criminal history data to criminal justice agencies, non-criminal justice agencies and individuals on request.

PA Child Abuse History: The PA Child Abuse History Clearance is required, by law, for any adult applying for an unpaid position as a volunteer responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children.  In the case of The Salvation Army Harrisburg, any volunteer coming into the building has the potential to have direct contact with a child and/or a vulnerable person. 

FBI Federal Criminal History: The recently enacted Act 153 requires all persons, paid or unpaid, who have direct contact, or have the potential for direct contact, with children are required to obtain an FBI Federal Criminal History clearance.  The only exception to this is if a person has been a Pennsylvania resident for 10 or more years.  The FBI clearance requires fingerprinting at an approved location.

How much do volunteer clearances cost?

As of July 25, 2015, volunteers may obtain PA Access to Criminal History and PA Child Abuse History clearances at no charge.  There is a $25.75 fee for the FBI Federal Criminal History check.  We are asking that each prospective volunteer cover the cost of the FBI clearance.  However, we do not want the cost of the clearance to be a deterrent from volunteering.  If you are unable to pay for your FBI clearance, please contact the office to make arrangements for reimbursement.

What is Mandatory Reporter Training?

Twenty-three pieces of legislation were recently enacted, changing how Pennsylvania responds to child abuse.  These changes will significantly impact the reporting, investigation, assessment, prosecution and judicial handling of child abuse and neglect cases.  The new laws expand and further define mandatory reporters and the reporting process, increase penalties for those mandated to report suspected child abuse who fail to do so, and provide protections from employment discrimination for filing a good faith report of child abuse.

Effective December 31, 2014, mandated reporters must make an immediate and direct report of suspected child abuse to ChildLine.  This report can be submitted electronically at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or by calling 1-800-932-0313.  After making the report to ChildLine, the mandated reporter in a facility or agency must immediately thereafter notify the person in charge of the facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge of the report.  

Under Pennsylvania Law, any individual, paid or unpaid, who has direct contact, or the potential to have direct contact with children, or who is supervised by someone having direct contact with children, is required to undergo a mandated reporter training.  The three hour online training is an individual process which will require a computer with internet access and printing capabilities.  After the training and testing have been completed, a certificate must be printed off and given to the immediate supervisor prior to beginning volunteer duties.  The mandated reporter training website is www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu.