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What will I do when I volunteer?

Volunteers usually work at the Food Bank’s warehouse, completing a variety of essential tasks, most of which involve inspecting, sorting, and packing food for distribution.

On average, volunteers inspect and sort 30,000 pounds of food per week that the Food Bank receives from food drives and other sources. This includes checking expiration dates, quality, damage to packaging, and sorting the food into categories for bagging.

Every month volunteers package 10,000 senior citizen food boxes, 3,000 emergency food bags, and 2,100 children’s weekend food packages.

The Food Bank also occasionally hosts special events requiring volunteer assistance which may take place off-site.

Do I need to schedule in advance?

Yes. All volunteer visits MUST be scheduled in advance – NO EXCEPTIONS. After you schedule your volunteer visit on our website, you will receive a confirmation email which will include specific information about your volunteer assignment, directions to the San Diego Food Bank warehouse or special event project site, and a list of our policies and procedures.

Do you have specific time commitments?

No. You may volunteer one time, or on a regular basis.

Do I need to train to become a volunteer?

You do not need any special training to volunteer. Simply register your volunteer visit and be present on your scheduled day. After a brief introduction, you will start working right away.

How do I schedule my volunteer visit?

Registering is easy.  Follow the link to our registration website.  If you are a returning user, sign in using your existing username and password.  If you are a first-time volunteer, you will be asked to create an account and provide us with your contact information. Once you are a registered user, you can sign up for any open volunteer shifts.

Can I bring a group?

Yes. Volunteering at the San Diego Food Bank provides team-building opportunities.  We welcome corporate teams, office groups, schools, service organizations, alumni groups, associations, families, fraternities and sororities, and religious organizations. Please note: ONLY ONE PERSON IS REQURED TO REGISTER a group (a group includes five or more people). The group leader must schedule the group’s visit and will be the main contact for that group. The group leader must forward volunteer information to all members of the group before the visit.

Do you allow school groups to volunteer?

We prefer middle school or high school groups for volunteer projects since supervising a large volume of younger children is often difficult and unsafe in our warehouse. However, we encourage elementary school groups to attend a warehouse tour to learn about hunger issues and see firsthand how the Food Bank serves the community.

Can children volunteer?

The minimum age to volunteer is six years old. An adult must accompany any minor under the age of 14. While volunteering is a great way to teach children about service, it is important to assess a child’s maturity levels and their ability to listen and follow directions before signing up. Our projects take place in an industrial warehouse with dangerous operating equipment, and safety is a major concern, particularly for young children.

Can I complete court assigned community service hours?

The San Diego Food Bank will only consider misdemeanor offenses (traffic violations, etc.); NO FELONIES OR VIOLENT CRIMES of any nature (including domestic abuse, assault, sexual offenses, etc.) will be accepted. Please refer to our Policies and Procedures Document. All court mandated community service volunteers require additional documentation.

What should I bring to my volunteer shift?

You MUST bring a signed volunteer waiver form for yourself and everyone in your party.  Please keep personal items to a minimum (i.e. purses, jewelry, etc.), as the Food Bank is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.

What should I wear?

The dress code at the Food Bank is casual and comfortable. Close-toed shoes or boots ARE REQUIRED. No heels, open-toed shoes, or sandals are permitted in the warehouse. The warehouse is not temperature-controlled, so volunteers are encouraged to wear seasonal clothing. In addition, please be mindful of the level of appropriateness of your dress, as we have a wide range age groups that visit our warehouse.  Please do not wear or bring anything that may be considered offensive.

Where are you located?

All projects except for special events take place at our main facility in San Diego, located at 9850 Distribution Avenue, San Diego CA 92121 (between the 805 and the 15 freeways off Miramar Road). If you will be volunteering for a special event, we will provide you with detailed location information once we receive your volunteer confirmation.

Who do I contact?

Xavier Hernandez, Volunteer Scheduler, xhernandez@sandiegofoodbank.org 1-858-863-5115