Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions
How is volunteering different with Covid-19?
Volunteer and shopper safety is important to the Pantry. The Pantry has switched to a drive-through style distribution in order to minimize contact. Walk-ups are still welcome, but no shopper is allowed in the Pantry at this time. The number of volunteers working at the Pantry at the same time is limited in order to adhere to the CDC recommended six-feet body distance guidelines.
Volunteers must always wear face masks and gloves. Face masks and gloves will be provided at the beginning of your shift. If you or someone you are close to is sick, please do not come to the Pantry. Any volunteer who appears to be sick during their shift will be asked to leave.
What is it like to volunteer at the Pantry?
Volunteers should expect a fast-paced on your feet environment. The day to day will depend on the volunteer’s shift assignment. The different positions are greeting shoppers, packing or loading groceries, or receiving or sorting deliveries. Please discuss any concerns you might have with the volunteer coordinator, so you get a position that is best for you.
Who can volunteer?
The Pantry welcomes anyone who is interested in volunteering. Our volunteer staff consists of working, unemployed or retired adults, and high school, college, and graduate students who have flexible schedules and time to volunteer. Prospective volunteers who are bilingual Spanish-English speakers are helpful.
Can children volunteer?
Due to safety regulations, volunteers must be 14 years of age or older.
Because I am a volunteer can I take food?
No, volunteers cannot take food while they are working. If you need to shop, you can do so after your shift once you have submitted the New Shopper paperwork.
What if I cannot fill out the application form online?
The application can also be printed out. If you are unable to fill out the form online, please email the volunteer coordinator with your information and bring the completed forms to your in-person meeting.
Why do I need to have an in-person meeting before starting?
The in-person meeting is designed to give you an idea about the Pantry’s day to day operation. It will help the volunteer coordinator to understand the applicant’s interests and best determine the appropriate day and duties for service.
What do I do on my first day?
Please arrive before the Pantry opens, around 7:30 AM to fill out any needed paperwork, take a tour, meet the floor manager, ask any questions, and receive your assigned position. Volunteers MUST wash their hands before starting their shift and throughout their shift.
How long is a usual shift?
Shift times vary slightly depending on your position, but volunteers are generally expected to stay the full time the pantry is open from 8:00 am – 10:30 am.
Do you verify service hours for school or work?
Yes, if your school or place of work provides a verification form please bring that with you. Letters of recommendation or proof of service must be discussed with the volunteer coordinator.
Can I complete court assigned community service hours at the Pantry?
Please talk to the volunteer coordinator about court assigned community service hours.
What should I wear to volunteer?
All volunteers need to wear appropriate clothing that may get dirty or torn and only sturdy closed-toe shoes, no flip flops or sandals. Pantry aprons are available for convenience. Plastic gloves will be provided and must be worn. Name tags are provided and should be worn.
Where do I park?
On-site parking is reserved for shoppers. Please park in the metered parking on Laguna Canyon Road.
Is there a place to put my belongings during my shift at the Pantry?
Please leave your valuables at home. Small lockers are provided for your personal belongings, but volunteers should bring their own locks if desired. The Laguna Food Pantry is not responsible for volunteers’ personal belongings.
Can I bring my own food to eat during my shift?
You may bring food for yourself but please keep in mind you are not allowed to eat and drink while working on the floor and while handling the food.
Are there volunteer opportunities on Saturdays and Sundays?
The Pantry is closed to shoppers on Saturdays and Sundays so there is only a small group of volunteers receiving deliveries. If you are interested in working on Saturdays or Sundays, please discuss this with the volunteer coordinator during your meeting.
I have additional questions that are not answered here. Who can I contact?
You may email the Volunteer Coordinator with any unanswered questions at firstname.lastname@example.org