We love our volunteers!
Provisions is powered by Volunteers! We could not serve our mission without the help and support of a loving and enthusiastic volunteer staff. We always welcome new volunteers to help us on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Our volunteer needs vary in scope, and we welcome folks with all types of skills. If you are an English-Spanish bilingual speaker, that’s a definite bonus for us!
Here’s a short description of our most common volunteer needs and shifts.
Needs: able-bodied* volunteers who can generally lift, pull, push, twist, bend, carry, stand for periods of time, etc.; the food pantry generally is a physical-task-oriented environment.
Front Desk personnel–on all client days–Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday–we have need for at least one volunteer per shift who is able and willing to work the client intake desk. These volunteers need to be sociable, empathetic, proactive in helping the clients, not shy, and computer friendly and willing to learn our software. It’s fairly easy, but some training and practice is required. We like to have a few volunteers cross-trained on the system so we have capable substitutes in case of volunteer absences.
Our volunteer age requirements are as follows
Adults ages 18 and older: all are welcome
Youth ages 16 and 17: all are welcome to volunteer after an initial visit here at the pantry accompanied by a parent or adult legal guardian.
Youth ages 11 through 15: these youth are welcome to volunteer, but a parent or adult legal guardian must accompany them to the pantry and stay on property for the duration of the volunteer shift. The parent/guardian is welcome to participate in the volunteer activities, or may simply wait in the lobby–however they wish to spend the time.
Children age 10 and younger:
Due to the nature of our warehouse environment and the activities that occur throughout our hours of operation when we are serving our clients, we do not allow volunteers age 10 and younger.
Our clients “shop” our warehouse much like in a grocery store. There is shelving and shopping carts and, sometimes, several people moving around all at the same time. In addition to the shopping activity, there is also stocking and other “warehouse” type activities taking place simultaneously. We are in pretty tight quarters when we are open for clients and busy. The environment is simply not completely safe or conducive to having small children working in the aisles or among the shelves and clients. We don’t have an area for volunteer tasks that is out of the way of the client shopping area. Even the waiting room gets crowded and/or isn’t really a useful area to complete tasks. Everything is generally done in the common space of the warehouse. Historically, we have found that it is somewhat counterproductive for both the child volunteers (along with their parent) and the normal client operations for little ones to be in the warehouse when we are open for business.
Children ages 10 and younger are welcome in a group (for example, a Sunday school or VBS class, scout group, school field trip, or similar) with adult chaperones on a day/time when we are not serving clients. These type of groups are usually arranged for in advance and we put together projects for them to do. We love to introduce the children to the facility, talk about what Provisions is all about, and give them something to do that needs to be done but can be done when the facility is quiet and closed to clients.
Volunteers should always wear close-toed shoes and clothing that is okay to get a little “grubby.” Shorts are fine during warm weather, but jeans are recommended simply due to the nature of the “warehouse” environment. No tank tops, please. When available, Provisions t-shirts may be provided to volunteers who come on a regular basis.
Much of the work that we do at Provisions has some level of physical activity involved. The most productive volunteer is someone who is able to stand for an extended period of time, bend, lift, twist, push, pull, and walk with ease of movement. Generally speaking, Provisions is not a sedentary environment–there is much physical movement around the facility.
Volunteers who have limited mobility may be accommodated by taking on tasks that can be modified, however, those tasks are somewhat limited in number. Data entry and “front desk” volunteers do not have the same level of physical demand placed on them; the computer-based volunteer positions may be well-suited to someone who is limited in mobility but is computer savvy.
We are exposed daily to all manner of food products that are not sorted or isolated according to allergens; someone with food-related, airborne or contact allergies may not be well suited to volunteer in our facility.
All volunteers are encouraged to self-regulate and self-monitor while in service at Provisions, working to their individual level of comfort and capability. The safety of our volunteers is of the utmost concern.
Community Service Hours
Students who volunteer at Provisions are welcome to report their time spent here as community service hours for credit at their school or church. We are happy to provide documentation of the time spent in service.
Individuals needing to fulfill court-ordered community service hours are accepted on a case-by-case basis upon consultation with Provisions management.