Volunteer Resources

Volunteering at Second Harvest Foodbank

Volunteers are needed to help sort, label, or pack/re-pack food into family-friendly portions for distribution to our community throughout our 16 county service territory. For example, you might sort fresh produce, label frozen pizzas, transform 1,000 pounds of potatoes into family-friendly 5-pound bags, or place packaged products into boxes. Volunteer projects are well-organized, safe, and led by our wonderful staff members.

What to Expect During a Volunteer Shift at the Distribution Center

  • When you arrive at Second Harvest, we will ask you to complete a short sign-in process. This should take no more than 5-10 minutes
  • Do not bring in purses, bags, backpacks, valuables, etc., as we do not have a secure place to store them.
  • Remove all jewelry, including smartwatches, ahead of your shift. Rings are permitted as you will be able to wear gloves!
  • Arrive 15 minutes before the shift begins to ensure that all folks are able to sign in before shift start time.
  • You may be asked to complete repetitive tasks and motions during a shift and will be expected to remain on your feet for the entire 3-hour shift, standing on concrete. If this is an issue, please contact volunteers@shfbmadison.org to discuss other volunteer opportunities that may be suitable for you.
  • During your volunteer shift at Second Harvest, you will partake in a number of potential projects to help get meals out to our community. These include:
    • Sorting dry goods by type to allow our agency partners to order goods directly from our distribution warehouse
    • Sorting produce from larger bags into smaller, easier to distribute bags
    • Creating and packing boxes with food for the Dane County Cares Act to ship directly to families.
  • By Volunteering at Second Harvest, you agree to our Photo Release.

The strength of our partnerships and events hinge on the exceptional commitment of our community partners and volunteers! A principal endeavor of Second Harvest Foodbank is to provide a safe, inclusive, and healthy atmosphere for all partners and collaborators, including volunteers and community members.  Because of our commitment to safety and quality, we have created the following community agreement for all volunteers of Second Harvest Food Bank. By volunteering with Second Harvest you agree to the community expectations and will abide by the guidelines listed below.

Our community expectations of volunteers are:

  • Be respectful, kind, and courteous to everyone you engage with.
  • Contribute to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all volunteers, partners, and staff.
  • Record your volunteer hours for each shift through the appropriate sign-in system. 
  • Wear a nametag when volunteering.
  • Do not volunteer if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, chills, a cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell or any symptoms of a common cold. 
  • Follow all food safety protocols required by Second Harvest Foodbank- including wearing closed-toe shoes and shirts with sleeves, removing jewelry, wearing personal protective equipment.
  • Follow all warehouse safety protocols- including no use of earbuds, MP3s, Bluetooth devices, etc.
  • No tobacco use in the warehouse-this includes vape products. 
  • Be on-time and responsible for completing your volunteer duties as agreed upon with the volunteer services coordinator.
  • Stay in contact with your supervisor and/or volunteer services coordinator with any questions/concerns regarding your volunteer experience.
  • Confidentiality of personal information is crucial. As a volunteer you agree that you will not disclose any confidential information received during the course of your volunteer assignment, during or at any time after the assignment has been completed. 
  • We often snap photos of our volunteers & visitors at our sites. By volunteering on behalf of any of our programs, you consent to Second Harvest’s photographing and using your image and likeness as outlined in our full photo release policy
  • Volunteer engagement is at will of Second Harvest Foodbank and may be ended at any time for any or no reason.  

By volunteering I consent to the photographing of my person and property and the use of my photograph, name, likeness, voice, and words (“Photographs”) and grant to SHFB and anyone authorized by them (collectively, “SHFB and its agents”) permission to use, reproduce, display, broadcast, alter, modify, and/or copyright and renew all Photographs or likeness, taken by SHFB or provided to SHFB, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, use in advertising, promotional, public relations, educational and fundraising materials, all media, including, without limitation, in broadcast, cable, electronic and print media (“SHFB Materials”), without limitations or compensation (such use being defined herein as the “Use”). I agree that the Photographs, images and likeness become the property of SHFB, and may not be returned. I understand that SHFB, shall own all rights and I waive any right to inspect or approve of my images use in SHFB Materials. I understand that I will not have any rights of ownership. I understand that my photograph and likeness will not necessarily be used by virtue of this agreement.

For more information, see our complete Photo Release Policy here.

COVID-19 Policies

Distribution Center
2802 Dairy Drive

As of August 22nd, masks are optional at all Second Harvest facilities. This is in alignment with our commitment to following CDC guidelines. If you have any questions, please review the document below. 

You are invited to review the Second Harvest SHFB COVID Protocol ahead of your shift.

Mobile Pantry Distributions

Second Harvest seeks to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all mobile pantry guests and volunteers, with a commitment to both physical and emotional safety. As we continue to navigate the COVID19 pandemic, we ask that volunteers please we a mask when engaging in one-on-one conversations with any pantry guest wearing a mask. Guests wearing masks may be immunocompromised, have family members that cannot be vaccinated, or just feel safer. This courtesy will help us ensure that concerns about an individual’s health and wellbeing is not a barrier to accessing food. *Masks are otherwise optional for volunteers at Second Harvest mobile pantries.

Important Reminders

  • Closed-toe shoes and shirts with sleeves are a must.
  • Jewelry, if worn, must be removed.
  • For your safety, do not use earbuds or MP3s, Bluetooth devices, etc., while volunteering. You need to be able to hear what’s happening around you.
  • Food or drink should not be consumed in the warehouse, though our break room is available for your use.
  • No tobacco use is permitted in the warehouse.
  • No drop-in volunteers are permitted.
  • Face masks are optional.
  • All volunteers must be at least 12 years of age.
  • Plan on one adult for every 5 youth.

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes! We accept groups of up to 21 volunteers.
  • Yes – We are happy to verify hours for court-ordered service. Please reach out to volunteers@shfbmadison.org with any other questions.
  • Yes! We can also confirm and verify hours for school programs or volunteer programs. When you sign in, you’ll be asked to confirm verification of your hours, and then after your shift, please email volunteers@shfbmadison.org for more information.
  • Unfortunately, due to COVID protocols, we need to limit the number of volunteers during a shift to allow for proper social distancing practices. Our schedule is up to date, so check SignUpGenius often to see if a shift has openings the day before or the day of your shift!
  • All volunteers must be at least 12 years of age
  • Please email volunteers@shfbmadison.org or call 608.216.7214 to let us know that you will not be able to make your volunteer shift.
  • We ask that you let us know as soon as possible if you will not be able to make a volunteer shift and with a minimum of 24 hours notice
Reflection Resources

Educate yourself and others about food insecurity and food systems