Volunteering at The Foodbank: 101
Everything you need to know before a volunteer shift
By Emily Gallion, Grant & Metrics Manager/Advocacy Manager, and Caitlyn McIntosh, Volunteer/Intake Support
Volunteers are the heart of The Foodbank. They are critical to our operations by helping us pack boxes, harvesting crops and maintaining our Urban Garden, and staffing each of our distributions. In March of 2020, due to COVID-19 safety concerns, we had to make the difficult decision to pause our volunteer program. As of July 1, 2021 we have officially relaunched our volunteer program with mask and social distancing requirements in order to keep safety our top priority. We are so excited to see all of your smiling faces again!
Whether you’re a company, organization, family, or someone looking for community service hours, we have plenty of options to choose from! Volunteering at The Foodbank is a great way to make connections and make a direct impact on our community.
We’ve broken down the process in this easy to follow guide, and give you some pointers along the way.
Step one: Logging in and Signing Up
When you visit the Volunteer page on our website, you can see all of our opportunities on our host site, Volunteer Matters.
If you’ve volunteered with us before, you know what to do from here. If you’re new here, you’ll need to create an account so we can get your name, emergency contact, and other basic information from you.
While we accept volunteers of all ages, you must be at least 14 years old to work in our warehouse or drive thru, and anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a guardian. Additionally, we ask that you wear close-toed shoes for safety reasons.
Step two: Picking Your Event
Once you’ve logged in or signed up, you will be taken to the Volunteer Matters homepage. By clicking on “Project Catalog” on the left hand side, you’ll be able to see all of our events.
Each opportunity has a general description of the volunteer role available. For example, if you decide you’d like to work in our drive thru, click “Learn More” where you can see all of the dates and times available. To sign up, just click “Volunteer!”
A few things to note before signing up for your shift:
- All mobile pantries are held outside, so please remember to dress for the weather and keep yourself hydrated!
- Mass distributions are also outside, usually consisting of longer shifts, but are a whole lot of fun! Dress for the weather and make sure to take water and snack breaks.
- Warehouse opportunities, the drive thru, mobile pantries, and mass distributions can include some heavy lifting. Though we do distribute lightweight items, please keep this in mind.
- Restrooms may not be available at some of our mobile pantry locations.
- Be sure to wear your close-toed shoes to all volunteer opportunities.
- Use hashtags #hungerhero and #canyoudigit on any social media posts you make!
Step 3: Coming Prepared for Your Shift
Be sure to arrive on time prepared to work for the entirety of your shift. If you are signed up for a mobile pantry or mass distribution, you’ll need to find our volunteer team to make sure you get signed in. If you’re on site to work in our warehouse, urban garden, or drive thru, you will sign in at the front door.
After you are signed in, a member of our team will assign you a task depending on which event you signed up for. For example, you could be assigned to the food line handing out various items or helping direct traffic. Our volunteer team is great about making sure you find the opportunity that is the best fit for you!
If you need paperwork signed for required community service hours, make sure to check in with our volunteer team before you leave.
We always encourage you to ask us questions and learn more about the impact you’re making no matter what volunteer experience you choose. Above all, we want you to HAVE FUN when you’re with us. Volunteering is hard work, but there is nothing better than hearing your laughter while talking to each other and engaging with clients.
Still have questions? Give us a call at 937-461-0265 ext. 27 or check out our Youtube video to learn more.