Have a question about volunteering at the San Diego Food Bank?


Below is a list of our most frequently asked questions.

What will I do when I volunteer?

Volunteers primarily 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.

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. Due to health and safety regulations, there are no exceptions to this rule. After you schedule your volunteer visit online, 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 page. 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 faith-based organizations. If you have a group of less than five people, each volunteer must register as an individual. As long as you sign up for the same date and shift time, you will still be able to work together.

For a group of five or more, email both Xavier Hernandez, xhernandez@sandiegofoodbank.org and Cristina Sierra, csierra@sandiegofoodbank.org to reserve a shift for your group. For best availability, contact us at least a month in advance. Please allow at least 48 hours for a Food Bank staff member to reply to your message.

Do you allow school groups to volunteer?

We encourage middle school and high school groups to volunteer. However, due to health and safety regulations, elementary school groups cannot volunteer, but they are welcome to visit our warehouse tour to learn about hunger issues and see firsthand how the Food Bank serves the community. To schedule an elementary school group tour, contact Dominique Young at dyoung@sandiegofoodbank.org

Can children volunteer?

Yes. Volunteers must be 6 years old or older. ALL minors age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Please note, groups of children 15 and under must have 1 adult for every 4 children, and if children in the group are between the ages of 6 and 10, their parents or guardians must volunteer with them. Our projects take place in an industrial warehouse with large operating equipment, and safety is a major concern, particularly for young children.

Can I complete court assigned community service hours?

The Food Bank accepts court mandated service hours, but ONLY misdemeanor offenses will be considered eligible, and additional documentation must be provided. The Food Bank will verify the information while your application is being considered. Failure to provide any of the required information will result in immediate disqualification of your volunteer application.

What should I bring to my volunteer shift?

All volunteers are required to bring comfortable clothing and a positive attitude. We do ask that you please keep personal items to a minimum (i.e. purses, jewelry, etc.), as the Food Bank does not have lockers for volunteers to use and cannot be held responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items.

What should I wear?

Food Bank recommends casual and comfortable clothing. Close-toed shoes, tennis 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 warehouse 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.

I have more questions. Whom do I contact?

Xavier Hernandez, Project Coordinator & Volunteer Scheduler, xhernandez@sandiegofoodbank.org 
Cristina Sierra, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, csierra@sandiegofoodbank.org