CAN CHILDREN VOLUNTEER?
For our warehouse food sorts and food distributions, children ages 13+ may volunteer with a parent present or on their own provided they have a signed parental waiver. Children ages 10-12 may volunteer with a parent present. Due to safety regulations, we cannot accommodate volunteers under the age of 10.
THE VOLUNTEER SHIFT I WANT TO ATTEND SAYS “FULL” or “0 SPOTS OPEN”, CAN I STILL COME?
We generally cannot accept walk-ins. If the event is full, please select another date, or contact us to be added 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. 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.
HOW DO I REGISTER MY GROUP TO VOLUNTEER?
If you would like to bring a group, please contact the Volunteer Program Manager at [email protected] or at 831-232-8141. You can find more details on our group activity options, and fill out a request form at https://www.thefoodbank.org/group.
I CAN’T SIGN THE ONLINE WAIVER, CAN I SIGN FORMS WHEN I ARRIVE?
Yes, if you’re having trouble with the online form, you can fill them out on-site, provided you are 18 and over. Youth cannot volunteer without a signed parental waiver.
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 confirmation forms available.
CAN I COMPLETE COURT ASSIGNED COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS AT YOUR FACILITY?
Yes, we accept court-referred volunteers for the majority of our volunteer activities. Please use our volunteer registration system to register and sign-up for shifts, and note that you need hours for court when prompted.
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 or at food distributions.
We recommend wearing comfortable clothing that can get dirty, such as jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes.
The warehouse can be cold in the mornings, so depending on the season, we recommend bringing 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 in the gravel lot adjacent to our main building (next to the gas station) or along Ohlone Parkway.
Parking availability at food distribution locations varies site by site.
CAN I BRING FOOD FOR MY GROUP?
We have a conference room available to rent, which you can reserve for your group (you can bring your own food or have it delivered). Please speak with the Volunteer Program Manager to learn more about our room rental options.
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. But you can watch orientation videos provided via email.
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 ([email protected]).
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I SIGN UP?
If you’re volunteering individually, we recommend registering at least 1-2 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 for our food sorting activities, and outdoors at food distributions.
ARE THERE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES ON THE WEEKEND?
The Food Bank is open every Saturday of each month for our Saturday Sorts. The Food Bank is closed on Sundays. See our volunteer calendar for open spots: https://thefoodbanksantacruz.volunteerhub.com
I SIGNED UP TO VOLUNTEER, BUT I WANT TO BRING SOMEONE ALONG, CAN THEY COME?
We will try to accommodate this is possible: if there are still slots open, please have your friend register for the shift. If the shift shows as full, please contact us to see if we can accommodate an extra volunteer.
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 [email protected] for approvals.
I HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS THAT ARE NOT ANSWERED HERE. WHO CAN I CONTACT?
You may contact our Volunteer Program Manager to learn more about becoming a Food Bank volunteer, and to have questions answered that are not addressed on this FAQ page.
Email: [email protected]