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Volunteer

Volunteers play a central role in powering Food Bank’s mission. Whether filing tax returns for low-income New Yorkers, writing a letter of hope to our pantry clients, or advocating through social media, you can make an impact in many ways with Food Bank For New York City!

Grab-and-Go Pantry Distribution

After a two-year pause, we are thrilled to be welcoming volunteers back to our Community Kitchen and Pantry in West Harlem!

Food Bank’s Grab-and-Go Pantry Distribution shifts take place on weekdays and Saturdays at our Community Kitchen and Pantry in West Harlem. Volunteers will help pack and distribute grocery bags with fresh produce and shelf-stable goods for community members. We rely on volunteers to help us serve hundreds of community members each month!

Volunteers must also register on the Food Bank Volunteer Portal in advance — walk-in volunteers will not be accepted. Please note, we are only able to accommodate individual volunteers 18 years or older. Due to limited shift capacity, group reservations will not be accepted at this time.

LEARN MORE

Become A Social Media Ambassador

Food Bank’s Social Media Ambassador Program is a way for volunteers to amplify resources for New Yorkers facing food insecurity, boost Food Bank’s mission on social media, and advocate by using their voices creatively and intentionally online – all while earning volunteer service hours.

Volunteers choose actions to complete (which range from sharing our Food Finder Map, to posting a selfie in orange for Hunger Awareness, to simply commenting on a Food Bank post), tag #FoodBankAmbassador, and document with screenshots to earn service hours for posting.

WRITE A LETTER OF HOPE

Food Bank launched the Dear New York Program as a way for volunteers to connect with our clients virtually. Volunteers from New York City and across the country have contributed over 13,000 letters of hope, solidarity, and encouragement to be distributed along with emergency pantry bags to New Yorkers in need. We provide a downloadable Dear New York Toolkit with everything you need to get started.

Food Bank’s Volunteer Engagement Team also hosts interactive Dear New York Letter-Writing Parties via Zoom with schools and corporate partners. Email us at volunteer@foodbanknyc.org for more information.

BE A VOLUNTEER TAX PREPARER

BE A VOLUNTEER TAX PREPARER

Food Bank’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program has put more than $1 billion back into the pockets of low-income New Yorkers, and we rely on over 300 dedicated volunteers each tax season to support this impactful anti-poverty work.

This Tax Season, Food Bank will be offering three models of tax filing services: Contactless In-Person (working onsite alongside other volunteers to file returns dropped off in advance by clients), Social Distanced In-Person (working onsite alongside volunteers to file returns brought in day of by clients), and Virtual (serving remotely from your personal computer to file returns submitted virtually by clients). NOTE: Volunteers must present proof of vaccination for in-person volunteer shifts.

JOIN A VIRTUAL SERVICE EVENT

Food Bank hosts largescale Virtual Service Hours on Zoom, bringing together volunteers from across the country to join in impactful virtual service activities. These events pair virtual service with educational panel conversations on food insecurity topics with guest speakers.

Recent virtual events have included our Virtual Day of Service for MLK Day with guest speaker Reverend Rasheed Baird, and People Get Periods: A Virtual Service Hour and Conversation on Period Poverty with US Congresswoman Grace Meng.

Stay tuned for upcoming virtual events!

After a nearly two year pause of in-person volunteering due to COVID-19, we are thrilled to welcome volunteers back at our Community Kitchen & Pantry in West Harlem and our Warehouse & Distribution Center in the Bronx!

As always, the safety of our volunteers, staff, and those we proudly serve is paramount. All volunteers must agree to our COVID-19 Waiver in order to participate in-person. All volunteers must also show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and wear a mask that properly covers the nose and mouth at all in-person volunteer events.

Grab-and-Go Pantry Distribution

After a two-year pause, we are thrilled to be welcoming volunteers back to our Community Kitchen and Pantry in West Harlem!

Food Bank’s Grab-and-Go Pantry Distribution shifts take place on weekdays and Saturdays at our Community Kitchen and Pantry in West Harlem. Volunteers will help pack and distribute grocery bags with fresh produce and shelf-stable goods for community members. We rely on volunteers to help us serve hundreds of community members each month!

Volunteers must also register on the Food Bank Volunteer Portal in advance — walk-in volunteers will not be accepted. Please note, we are only able to accommodate individual volunteers 18 years or older. Due to limited shift capacity, group reservations will not be accepted at this time.

LEARN MORE

Warehouse Repack

Food Bank’s Warehouse and Food Distribution Center in The Bronx distributes food to member charity agencies throughout the five boroughs, supplying over 100 million meals per year to New Yorkers in need! Volunteers at our warehouse help our staff with our highest-impact initiative by sorting and repacking bulk shipped food and goods for redistribution around the city.

Repack shifts are available for groups of 15 volunteers on weekday mornings and afternoons. Please email volunteer@foodbanknyc.org for more information. For corporate groups, we recommend a sponsorship of $2,000.

CUSTOMIZE A VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

Organizations can partner with Food Bank to build a unique team volunteer experience. Food Bank has designed and delivered custom opportunities to groups in corporate offices, schools, community organizations, and many other locations. Through the pandemic, Food Bank has also developed engaging virtual events for groups to serve together from home. Programs are fully customizable to any group’s needs: large or small groups, family-friendly events, or corporate team-building retreats.

Customized projects include a sponsorship fee. To learn more, contact Jessica Presedo, Director of Corporate Service & Engagement, at jpresedo@foodbanknyc.org. Interested organizations with limited budgets are encouraged to contact volunteer@foodbanknyc.org or check out public volunteer opportunities and events.

BUILD EMPATHY THROUGH A FACE HUNGER™ SIMULATION

Gather a team of 10-25 people to share in the Face Hunger™ Simulation – a highly interactive experience which raises awareness and understanding of hunger and its many causes.

In this virtual or in-person workshop, participants receive a profile packet with information about the identity, income, and available resources of a person at risk of hunger. Each participant embodies a person experiencing hunger through a series of exercises, facing the challenge to provide nutritious meals for their family. Face Hunger™ participants also debrief with a group discussion on their experience to walk away with a new understanding of hunger in New York City.

Each simulation for up to 25 participants asks for a sponsorship fee of $2,500.

Warehouse Repack

Food Bank’s Warehouse and Food Distribution Center in The Bronx distributes food to member charity agencies throughout the five boroughs, supplying over 100 million meals per year to New Yorkers in need! Volunteers at our warehouse help our staff with our highest-impact initiative by sorting and repacking bulk shipped food and goods for redistribution around the city.

Repack shifts are available for groups of 15 volunteers on weekday mornings and afternoons. For corporate groups, we recommend a sponsorship of $2,000.

SUBSCRIBE TO FUELING GOOD, FOOD BANK’S VOLUNTEER NEWSLETTER

Food Bank’s volunteer newsletter, Fueling Good, celebrates the central role of volunteers in powering our mission. Each monthly edition spotlights one of our volunteers and their service story, showcases recent service events, and highlights upcoming volunteer opportunities.

For more information or for service verification requests, contact Food Bank’s Volunteer Engagement Team at volunteer@foodbanknyc.org.

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