Volunteer – Frequently Asked Questions

CAN CHILDREN VOLUNTEER?
For our warehouse food sorts, children ages 13+ may volunteer with a parent present, and with a signed parent/guardian consent form. Due to safety regulations, volunteers must be 13 years of age or older to volunteer at off-site food distributions (and have a signed parent/guardian consent form).

THE VOLUNTEER SHIFT I WANT TO ATTEND SAYS “FULL” or “0 SPOTS OPEN”, CAN I STILL COME?
No, everyone must register ahead of time; we do not accept walk-ins. If the event is full, please select another date, or add to the waitlist.

HOW DO I REGISTER FOR A VOLUNTEER SHIFT AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
If you are a first-time volunteer, you will be asked to create a login and password when you sign up for your first shift on our volunteer registration system https://www.thefoodbank.org/volunteer/ . Please be sure to store your login information for future use. Once registered and logged in, select your shift, and a confirmation email will be sent back to you. For returning volunteers, simply log in, select a shift, and you will receive a confirmation email.

We have created a helpful video to walk you through the process, which you can watch here: here: Volunteer Sign Up Process

HOW DO I REGISTER MY GROUP TO VOLUNTEER?
If you would like to bring a group, please contact the Volunteer Program Manager at jael@thefoodbank.org or at 831-232-8141.

MY PRINTER IS NOT WORKING, CAN I SIGN FORMS WHEN I ARRIVE?
Yes, if you’re having trouble printing the consent forms or waivers, you can fill them out on-site, provided you are 18 and over.

DO YOU VERIFY SERVICE HOURS FOR SCHOOL OR WORK?
Yes, if your school or place of work provides a verification form, bring that with you. The Food Bank also has service forms available.

CAN I COMPLETE COURT ASSIGNED COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS AT YOUR FACILITY?
Yes, we do accept court-referred volunteers at this time. Please use our volunteer registration system to register and sign-up for shifts.

 WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO MY VOLUNTEER SHIFT?
All volunteers must wear close-toed shoes. No heels, open-toed shoes, or sandals are allowed inside the warehouse. We recommend wearing comfortable clothing, such as jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes, as well as a warm layer, like a sweater or a jacket.

WHERE DO I PARK?
We have on-site parking available at our warehouse location in Watsonville. Our fenced parking lot is currently closed; please find parking in the lot adjacent to our main building (next to the gas station) or along Ohlone Parkway. Parking availability at food distribution locations vary site by site…

CAN I BRING FOOD FOR MY GROUP?
You may bring food for your team, but please keep in mind that food and drinks are not allowed inside the warehouse, only in designated break areas. Break rooms are shared spaces and due to COVID1-9 work policies and social distancing guidelines, we recommend taking breaks outside.

DO I NEED TO TRAIN BEFORE BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?
No prior training is needed. All the training is done on the day of your volunteer shift.

CAN I BRING DONATIONS WITH ME ON THE DAY OF MY VOLUNTEER SHIFT?
Yes. For dry goods: please see our list of Most Needed Foods for a list of desirable items. For cash or check donations: we have donation drop-boxes on site. Please follow up with our Finance team if you need a receipt (finance@thefoodbank.org).

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I SIGN UP?
If you’re volunteering individually, we recommend registering at least 2 weeks to a month in advance to ensure you get your preferred date and time. For groups, we recommend 1-2 months in advance.

IS THE VOLUNTEER ACTIVITY INDOORS OR OUTDOORS?
Our volunteer shifts take place inside a warehouse, and outdoors at food distributions.

ARE THERE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES ON THE WEEKEND?
The Food Bank is open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month for our Saturday Sorts. The Food Bank is closed on Sundays. See our volunteer calendar for open spots: https://give.thefoodbank.org/charities/4360-second-harvest-food-bank-santa-cruz-county/volunteer

I SIGNED UP TO VOLUNTEER, BUT I WANT TO BRING SOMEONE ALONG, CAN THEY COME?
Yes, but everyone must register ahead of time; we do not accept walk-ins.

WHAT IF I CANNOT STAY THE ENTIRE VOLUNTEER SHIFT, SHOULD I CANCEL?
We prefer that volunteers stay the entire duration of the shift. Late arrivals and early departures are disruptive to the operations of events. If you are unable to be on time or need to leave early for your shift, please select another date. Exceptions can be made but please contact the Volunteer Program Manager at 831-232-8141 or at jael@thefoodbank.org for approvals.

I HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS THAT ARE NOT ANSWERED HERE. WHO CAN I CONTACT?
You may contact our Volunteer Program Manager, Jael Salinas, to learn more about becoming a Food Bank volunteer, and to have questions answered that are not addressed on this FAQ page.

Phone: 831-232-8141

Email: jael@thefoodbank.org