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
  • A touchless wall-mounted thermometer is positioned near the entry for a temperature check upon arrival.
  • 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.

COVID-19 Policies

Distribution Center
2802 Dairy Drive

Masks are optional for volunteers at this time. 

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.
  • You must register in advance to ensure proper distancing. No drop-in volunteers are permitted.
  • Social distancing is critical and begins the moment you leave your vehicle and head into the building.
  • Face masks are required.
  • 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