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Posts from the ‘Volunteering’ Category


Volunteers Keep Green Gulch Farm at the Farmers Market

Each Friday at 9:30am, former Green Gulch Farm apprentice Vanessa Caldarelli and her team of three (Jess Nelson, Kate Sylvan, and Leia Layus) set up a stand at the Mill Valley Farmers Market. They are there on a volunteer basis so that GGF produce remains available to the public.

GGF farmers would normally run the stand, but due to Covid-19 and the need to limit exposure within the community, Vanessa and her team have volunteered to help run things this year. Read more


“How Can I Be of Service?”

In the midst of this global pandemic, many of us are asking ourselves, “How can I be of service?” Jeffrey Schneider, Coordinator of the Zen Center Outreach Program talks to us about how he is turning that question.

For the past ten years, City Center resident and priest Jeffrey Schneider has served as coordinator for the Zen Center Outreach Program. Today, in the midst of this global pandemic, Jeffrey is asking with a beginner’s mind, “How can I be of service?”

Sometimes this question is answered with simple ideas for simple actions that help us stay connected with others in our community. For example, those at City Center with sewing skills have made masks for the residential community and have now produced enough surplus masks to give them to others in need. Jeffrey reached out to neighbors at Clara House, a transitional housing building that’s home to thirteen families, to begin delivering the surplus masks.

The Prison Correspondence Program is also providing a continuing opportunity to be of service during the pandemic. This program, which SFZC has coordinated for well over a decade, matches prisoners who wish to discuss their Buddhist practice with volunteer pen pals who have a well-established Buddhist practice of their own.

The need is even greater, as many prisoners now find themselves in lockdown 22 to 23 hours a day, visits have been prohibited, and volunteer-staffed programming has been discontinued. The program allows prisoners to stay connected and rooted in the Dharma, and to share the impacts of the pandemic across vastly different experiences. Jeffrey is always looking for volunteer pen pals. Anyone with an established practice, an understanding of basic Buddhist teachings, and about half an hour a month is welcome to get involved.

Jeffrey and SFZC volunteers have also led a twice-weekly Meditation and Stress Reduction Program at the San Francisco Jail. The city jail is now closed to visitors but the meditations have not been moved online. “This is one of the situations in which it becomes so easy to feel powerless,” says Jeffrey. “It renews the question, “How can I be of service?” which is at the core of my practice right now.”

Some other outreach activities have successfully moved online. For the past several years, Jeffrey has been offering guided meditations at Lighthouse for the Blind which provides education, training and community for the blind and visually impaired. He is now hosting these meditations via conference call.

The San Francisco Food Bank has stepped up to host pop-up pantries with grocery bag giveaways and Jeffrey will be volunteering with them next week.

Other programs, such as providing meals for the Winter Shelter Program and breakfast for unhoused men and women at St. John’s Episcopal Church, are also on hold. The San Francisco Food Bank has stepped up to host pop-up pantries with grocery bag giveaways, which the Outreach Program is now helping with.

Also on hold is the weekly offering of cooked meals to the residents of the Richardson Apartments in Hayes Valley, where formerly unhoused individuals need some assistance in order to live independently, as well as the memorial services Jeffry offers in his capacity as a Buddhist priest at a sister organization to the Richardson Apartments.

As our ability to reach out to members of our community who are in need is curtailed by the current pandemic, Jeffrey is asking himself and encouraging us to think anew about how we can be of help. Often, we can feel helpless and this feeling is amplified as we are asked to maintain physical distance for the wellbeing of all. “This requires us to get creative about how we can be of assistance to our communities,” says Jeffrey. And in the spirit of opening to the new reality we are facing, he encourages anyone with ideas about how SFZC can be a source of additional support during this time to contact him at

Thank you, Jeffrey, for inspiring us with your thriving practice of dana paramita.



Volunteers Needed for City Center Library on Tuesdays

The City Center Library and Reading Room is currently looking for additional volunteers for Tuesdays, 1:30 – 7 pm. Please consider assisting us in keeping the library and sitting space accessible for residents and other members/visitors.

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Zen Center Bookstore Request for Volunteers

The Zen Center Bookstore at City Center has volunteer opportunities on these days and times:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 1:30 – 5:30 pm
Wednesday evenings: 6:30 – 7:30 pm

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Outreach Report December 2018

Through the generosity of our extended Sangha, the San Francisco Zen Center outreach programs have received on-going support for our efforts on behalf of prisoners, homeless men and women, families in shelter, and other underserved populations.

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Sesshin Kitchen Volunteers Needed

The City Center kitchen is looking for volunteers to help prepare food in support of City Center’s Spring Sesshin, March 17 – 24.

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Volunteering in the City Center Library

As part of the on-going effort to renovate the library and make it available to San Francisco Zen Center members, we are looking for a few volunteers.

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Gleaning at Green Gulch Farm, October 14

Saturday, October 14, 1:30 – 3 pm

Please join us at Green Gulch Farm to glean vegetables from the fields that will be donated to local non-profits such as the SF-Marin Food Bank, Poor Magazine, Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy, Zen Hospice, and Martin de Porres in SF.

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Volunteers for Meal Preparation for Homeless Men and Women

San Francisco Zen Center, in cooperation with the San Francisco Interfaith Council and the Gubbio Project, offers meals (breakfast and dinner) on a semi-regular basis to homeless men and women. We are compiling a list of volunteers who are interested in being invited to help with these meals.

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Bookstore Seeking Volunteers

The Zen Center Bookstore at City Center is looking for volunteers for the following shifts:
Mondays, 1:30 – 5:30 pm
Wednesdays, 1:30 – 5:30 pm

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