Get Involved
Help Bring About Well-being through Solar Cooking

Ways to Volunteer

Hands-On at Home

The recipients of our solar ovens receive some useful solar cooking accessories. Among these are two items that are sewn by volunteers. Because they are hand-made, oven recipients often applaud and cheer when they see them during our seminars. It means a lot to them that someone thousands of miles away is thinking of them and sending a sign of caring across the miles.
Cloth pouches contain four of the oven accessories: the set of measuring cups and spoons, the WaPI, the oven thermometer and the black cloth for bread-baking. These pouches are also a gift to the oven recipient for storage of the accessories or as a little purse. They also allow us to reduce the amount of wasteful plastic baggies we leave behind.

NOTE: If you sew items for Solar Oven Partners, contact us to determine the best way to get them to us.

Projects in Your Church

There are a few projects that Solar Oven Partners can send or bring to a church. Volunteers can prepare items that will go into the boxes of five unassembled ovens which we will ship to our distribution partners. One project involves removing the manufacturer’s packaging and placing the following items into a cloth pouch: a set of measuring cups and spoons, a WaPI, an oven thermometer and a black cloth for bread-baking. A second includes counting and bagging the exact number of screws, snap-rivets or spring-hooks needed for five ovens and packaging them.

WorKshops in South Dakota

Bring a team to volunteer at one of our workshops. They’ll make oven components and package them for shipment. Our shop managers coordinate the time slots on an individual basis. Youth should be in high school or be mature junior high students. Horseplay is dangerous and precision is very important.

You can bring other groups besides those from your church! Consider asking your friends to volunteer with you on your birthday. Next time your extended family is in town for a few days, spend a day volunteering together. The possibilities are endless!

Reflector Workshop, Rapid City, SD

Located in the lower level of Open Heart United Methodist Church in Rapid City. Each team member gets trained on a piece of equipment that they will use to slice, crimp, snip, hole-punch and rivet the four components of the reflectors that will sit atop the oven to concentrate sunlight inside. The reflectors take the most time to manufacture, so your service is especially needed here. Because of the training necessary, we request that first-time volunteers arrange to spend at least two days at the workshop. One nearby housing option is Storm Mountain United Methodist campground. Alternatively, there is a huge selection of commercial campgrounds and hotels nearby.

Insulation Workshop, Montrose, SD

Contact: Rev. Phil Lint 605-491-2324. Located on the north side of I-90 approximately 35 miles west of Sioux Falls, SD. At this workshop, volunteers trace templates onto large sheets of insulation. Next, they slice them using a mounted blade and bundle-wrap them in stacks of five, sandwiched between two pieces of corrugated plastic that form the outer box of the solar oven. There is lodging in nearby towns or in Sioux Falls.

Central Workshop, Raymond, SD

Contact: Gene Bethke, 605-532-3889. On Hwy. 212, approximately 75 miles west of the MN border, 45 miles west of Watertown, SD and 30 miles east of Redfield, SD. All components come together here. The parts are secured with bundle-wrap and eventually placed into the 5-oven boxes and sealed for shipping. This is also where we manufacture the bread-pans and hole-punch the metal frame pieces. When a shipment is ready, a team gathers to load a sea container within a two-hour time frame. They see it roll away on the first leg of its journey as it goes by truck to the train and on to the port. From there, it will cross the ocean to the receiving port and be delivered to the partner’s storage unit! There is hostel-style lodging and a kitchen in the workshop building. Nearby hotels are in Clark (10 miles) and Redfield (30 miles).

Volunteer in Mission (VIM) Team

Travel to one of our distribution sites and work side-by-side with our oven recipients to assemble ovens and prepare food. Whether you go to the Dominican Republic, the communities in the northwestern lands of the Navajo Nation, or Sierra Leone, you will not be cordoned off in the tourist areas, but will instead be among the people in the lived realities. This gives you the opportunity to learn about what life is like so you can teach your church and other friends back home. You will work hard, learn, and worship and you will come back changed by the experience.


What about kids? How can they get involved?

Children can’t take part in our workshops, but they definitely can be active supporters in other ways! Here are a few ideas:  

  • Read books about the countries and places that Solar Oven Partners is in partnership with.
  • Do change drives to raise money.
  • Ask family members to sponsor them in raising money for a solar oven.
  • Pray for the families who receive the solar ovens.
  • Set aside part of their weekly allowance for Solar Oven Partners.
  • Choose SOP as the recipient of “alternative gifts” for a birthday party.