LAKELAND, Fla. — Carlos Baez is responsible for picking up and sorting donations that come through Talbot House. He said Talbot House has kept him off the streets these past two years.
“I was in the street doing drugs, heroin, and I got tired of being in the street and doing drugs. And I saw a friend of mine and she talked to me about Talbot House,” Baez said.
Talbot House is Polk County’s largest provider of social services for those experiencing homelessness. They provide three hot meals a day, a free clinic, emergency shelter, and permanent housing assistance. And they rely heavily on volunteers to make that happen.
“The pandemic completely upended our volunteer program. We had to suspend all of the volunteer services for the safety of the people that we’re serving but we’re looking to rebuild that momentum now,” said Erin Martinez, Director of Development.
Right now, the organization is looking for volunteer barbers who are certified. Martinez said a haircut is a luxury for someone who’s experiencing homelessness and can be a confidence booster for a person looking to land a new job.
“A haircut can really change the way someone feels about themselves. It gives them self-esteem; it gives them dignity. They carry themselves differently because they know they look their best,” Martinez said.
They will work with your schedule but dinner time is when a lot of people come to the shelter. Martinez said certified beauticians who would like to volunteer are also welcome and it’s best you bring your own products and supplies.
“They can see the immediate benefit of their work in the lives of people that we’re helping, the joy on their faces and it’s a good way to give back to your community,” she said.
If you're interested in volunteering at Talbot House call 863-687-8475 or visit their website.