Local Mission

Local Volunteer Opportunities

There is a place for you to get involved!

Let us know if you are interested in opportunities to serve. Contact the Westminster Office for more information. 

Westminster actively supports a number of local mission projects through funding and volunteer efforts, such as:

  • shelters for those experiencing homelessness
  • feeding programs for the hungry 
  • learning opportunities for children in Albany
  • community involvement projects 

We partner with various cooperative agencies and ministries that address our mission priorities, including FOCUS, the Capital Area Council of Churches, New York State Council of Churches, and other small nonprofit organizations.

Shelter Ministries

Capital Area Council of Churches Emergency Overflow Shelter

At the nearby Emergency Overflow Shelter, Westminster volunteers have been welcoming guests and providing hot meals since its inception in 2001. On Sundays during the season – from November through April – Westminster volunteers prepare and deliver nutritious meals for shelter guests.
Contact us to learn more.

Schuyler Inn - Shelter for Homeless Families

Volunteer to help improve the lives of homeless families and children living at Schuyler Inn in Menands. Volunteers join in activities such as: 

  • Warm winter gear distribution and celebration events
  • Provision of essential feminine hygiene products
  • Book distribution events

Contact us to learn more.

Focus on Food

FOCUS Breakfast Program

(Winter & Summer Programs)

The FOCUS “Breakfast Club” program provides over 18,000 breakfasts and bag lunches to guests each year. Breakfast is staffed by volunteers who serve, clean, and provide hospitality to guests. Breakfast guests are all ages, though the great majority of them are adults and seniors. The Breakfast Club operates in the kitchen and large Assembly Room at Westminster.

Volunteers are needed for a range of times between 6:00 am and 9:30 am. If you’d like to help out, please call the FOCUS office at 518-443-0460 or email Belinda.

FOCUS Interfaith Food Pantry

The FOCUS Interfaith Food Pantry provides families from the Capitol Hill, Center Square, Hudson, Washington and Park South neighborhoods, and beyond, with a 6-day supply of food. In 2020, the FOCUS Food Pantry served 3,519 Households, 5,967 Individuals, 86,191 meals, and 1,955 Stewarts Milk Cards were distributed.

Volunteers are needed for a number of positions, including guest check-in and packing groceries. Please contact the FOCUS office at 518-443-0460 if you are interested in helping.

CROP Hunger Walk

Each spring, Westminster organizes a team to participate in the CROP Hunger Walk sponsored by Church World Service to end hunger at home and around the world. Participants raise money and many also join in the community walk.
Contact us to learn more.

Serving the South End of Albany

Westminster works with Albany’s South End community on a range of projects.

AVillage, Inc.

We have supported AVillage, Inc., a grassroots nonprofit organization started by Westminster member Willie White, almost since its beginning in 2009. The vision of AVillage is “a just community where empowered people have equitable access to opportunities and resources.” Westminster volunteers have participated in South End Earth Day, helped to help create and tend gardens, and have served in volunteer staff positions. AVillage is under new leadership and continues working on gardens, community organizing, and also running the South End Night Market.
Contact us for more info.

South End Community Collaborative

A new organization under the leadership of Westminster member Tom McPheeters – the South End Community Collaborative – is coordinating new initiatives around housing, workforce development, and community development in the South End and elsewhere in the city. The mission of the coalition is to “engage and mobilize our community to create radical, effective change.”

To be added to the Collaborative’s email list and to attend Zoom meetings held on Tuesdays at 9:00 am, send a message to: [email protected]

Wizard’s Wardrobe

Help Children Learn

Support children in the South End of Albany by volunteering with Wizard’s Wardrobe – an after-school program founded by our friends at First Presbyterian Church. The program provides free, one-on-one tutoring to elementary students in the South End. Training is provided for volunteers.

Please consider giving some of your time to this worthwhile endeavor. Contact us to learn more.

Racial Justice

Vigil for Racial Justice

Westminster holds a public Vigil for Racial Justice on Tuesdays, 12 noon – 1:00 pm on State Street in front of the church. You are invited to come join us – pray; hold signs; and witness the need for racial justice in our city, our country, and our world.

A leader starts each Vigil with prayer. The remainder of the time, participants display signs to pray for justice. Bring a sign along with wording of your choice, if you are able. 

Read Westminster’s Statement of Solidarity and Call to Action here

For more information, please read our blog articles about the: “Vigil for Racial Justice

Faith and Public Life

Good Neighbor Team

When the U.S. ended its twenty-year war in Afghanistan in August 2021, we learned that at least 100 evacuees would be resettled in Albany. By February 2022, over 400 evacuees had arrived in our city. A group of Westminster members and friends heard God’s call to respond with immediate aid and long-term friendship. We formed a Good Neighbor Team in partnership with our local resettlement agency, USCRI (https://refugees.org/uscri-albany/) and were matched with a wonderful family. If you’re interested in hearing more about our work or would like to join our team, email [email protected].

Public Witness

In addition to our weekly Racial Justice Vigil, members of the Westminster community at times join in public demonstrations of support for issues we believe to be important. In 2021, for example, a group of us joined in several different events related to climate change and environmental justice and a large witness against anti-Asian violence. When events occur, we usually mobilize through the Westminster email group. You can sign up to be on our mailing list here: Contact Us.