Volunteer

Volunteers are the face of the food bank!

We rely on our force of over 200 volunteers to achieve our goal of providing high quality groceries to Bellingham families. Volunteering at the food bank will give you the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and serve your community.

Interested?

  1. Browse the requirements and job descriptions below.
  2. Visit our Administrative Office Monday-Friday, 8 AM – 4 PM to fill out a one-page application, or print your application and bring it in. Note: we are not able to accommodate drop-in volunteers.
  3. Within two weeks, the Bellingham Food Bank Operations Manager will get in touch to schedule a time to go over your application.
  4. When there is a position available that matches with your schedule and abilities, you will be contacted. Please note that placement is not guaranteed and can sometimes take weeks or months, as shifts are limited and there is typically a waiting list. Applications are held for 60 days; if you have not been placed by then you will be contacted to see if you would like to update your application for another 60 days.
 

weekly job REQUIREMENTS:
  • At the downtown food bank, a potential volunteer must be able to commit to a 4 hour, once a week shift.
  • At the Satellite food banks, a potential volunteer must be able to commit to a 2 hour, once a week shift.
  • Must be able to commit for at least 3 months.
  • Must be able to stand for 4 hours.
  • Must have independent transportation.
  • Must be punctual to weekly shift.
  • Must be able to procure a food handlers permit within two weeks of beginning to volunteer.
  • To volunteer independently, must be at least 16 years of age. If under 16, please inquire.
  • Must be committed to being compassionate, kind, and respectful towards all BFB clients, volunteers, and staff.

Unable  to commit to a weekly position? Consider these options:
  • Substitute List
  • Non-Perishable Sorting
  • Garden Project
  • Gleaning

Sorry, we are not able to accommodate court-appointed or other types of required community service.

weekly job descriptions:

Monday-Friday 7:20-12:30

trucker

Grocery rescue truck volunteers are hard workers. Rain or shine, they arrive early in the morning and are responsible for traveling to nearly every grocery store in Bellingham to hand load every donated food item—sometimes up to 12,000 pounds in a day! Volunteers must be fast-paced, capable of lifting boxes that sometimes exceed 50 pounds, and able to get in and out of our box truck many times throughout the morning. A BFB staff person is responsible for driving the box truck and communicating with store employees, but volunteers must be prepared to work independently and to represent the food bank positively to the broader community.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs repeatedly

Standing: standing & moving throughout shift

Language: N/A

Client interaction: N/A

Monday-Friday 8:30-12:30

produce lifter

Volunteers who excel in this position are able to comfortably lift boxes that weigh up to 50 pounds throughout the 4 hour shift. They are happy to work with messy produce and teams of up to 10 other volunteers. Lifters are also responsible for keeping the sorting room tidy throughout the morning.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs repeatedly

Standing: standing for duration

Language: N/A

Client interaction: N/A

produce sorter

A team of 8-12 volunteers look at each piece of produce that is donated to the food bank to make sure that everything is in condition to be given out to our clients. Produce gets sorted according to variety and organized for distribution.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs repeatedly

Standing: standing for duration

Language: N/A

Client interaction: N/A

bakery sorter

A team of 4-6 volunteers sort bakery donations into different categories while also checking every item to ensure that it is fit for consumption.

Lifting: up to 30 lbs intermittently

Standing: standing for duration

Language: N/A

Client interaction: N/A

Monday 10:45-3:15

Wednesday 12:45-4:00 or 3:45-6:15

Friday 10:45-3:15

client assist

Client assist volunteers work closely with clients to transport their boxes of groceries to their cars. These volunteers are ideally outgoing, friendly, and able to multi-task. They should be comfortable lifting boxes that sometimes exceed 50 pounds and willing to work in all kinds of weather—from freezing to frying.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs repeatedly

Standing: standing & moving for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

intake

Intake volunteers check clients in when they arrive to shop. They must be comfortable operating a computer and must be able to learn to use BFB’s intake software. This position also requires learning BFB’s intake policies and being comfortable enforcing these policies in a friendly and respectful manner. This position works closely with clients and an ideal candidate is friendly and good at communicating.

Lifting: N/A

Standing: sitting for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

restock

Restock volunteers bring milk, eggs, and miscellaneous dairy items to the distribution floor and assist with filling the coolers as items are taken by clients.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs repeatedly

Standing: standing & moving for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

nonperishable section

Assists clients as they shop for nonperishable food items. Keeps area tidy and well-stocked.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs intermittently

Standing: standing for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

dairy section

Assists clients as they shop for dairy items and helps the restock volunteer keep the cooler stocked and tidy.

Lifting: N/A

Standing: standing for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

produce section

Assists clients as they shop for produce and keeps area well stocked and tidy.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs repeatedly

Standing: standing & moving for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

bread section

Assists clients as they shop for bread and keeps the area well stocked and tidy.

Lifting: up to 30 lbs intermittently

Standing: standing for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

frozen protein

Assists clients as they shop for meat and other frozen protein items.

Lifting: N/A

Standing: standing for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

eggs

Assists clients as they shop for eggs and helps restock volunteer to keep the egg cooler stocked.

Lifting: N/A

Standing: standing for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

card retention specialist

When clients are shopping, they are given a colored card which indicates their household size (small, medium, or large). As clients exit, this volunteer is responsible for retrieving each card. CRS volunteers must be outgoing and comfortable talking with all kinds of folks.

Lifting: N/A

Standing: standing for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

Tuesday 4:45-6:45

   @Christ the King Community Church

Thursday 4:45-6:45

   @Alderwood Elementary School

distribution

These volunteers are responsible for attending one of the following stations:

  • Dry Goods
  • Produce
  • Dairy/Meat/Eggs
  • Diapers/Baby Food/Toilet Paper
  • Bread

Distribution volunteers help to set up their section at the beginning of the evening, keep it tidy and stocked throughout distribution, and help to break down and clean up when distribution is complete. These positions interact directly with clients. The ability to lift heavy items is not required but in produce and dry goods it can be useful.

Lifting: N/A

Standing: standing for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

restock

These volunteers do the majority of the heavy lifting. They help to unload the two box trucks at the beginning of distribution and throughout the evening they climb in and out of the trucks, bringing more items out as needed. Restock volunteers must be excellent at communicating and working as part of a team; they must be observant and good at multi-tasking. This position requires standing and moving quickly for the entire two hour shift and also requires lifting boxes that weigh up to 50 pounds.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs repeatedly

Standing: standing & moving for duration

Language: N/A

Client interaction: N/A

client assist

Client assist volunteers work closely with clients to transport their boxes of groceries to their cars. These volunteers must be outgoing, friendly, and able to multi-task. They should be comfortable lifting boxes that sometimes exceed 50 pounds and willing to work in all kinds of weather—from freezing to frying. This position requires standing and moving for the duration of the shift.

Lifting: up to 50 lbs repeatedly

Standing: standing & moving for duration

Language: Spanish & Russian highly valued

Client interaction: YES

other options:

Interested in volunteering but unable to make a regular commitment? Get on our Sub List!

Sometimes regularly scheduled volunteers are unable to make it to their shift. At that point, we start going through the Sub List, looking for someone who is available to come and help out for the day. You can indicate the times and hours that you may be available, and we will try to give as much notice as possible, although sometimes it can be 24 hours or less.

Please indicate which of these shift attributes you are interested in/capable of so that we can call you for appropriate subbing opportunities. Subbing opportunities could entail any of these attributes. You will only be called to sub on jobs which you have indicated you are capable of and interested in.

Lifting

Standing

Language

Client interaction

 

Groups scheduled in the day and evening Wednesday-Saturdays based on availability.

Email us to start a group or to join a group as an individual.

Volunteers sort bins of miscellaneous dry goods into their respective categories. All items must be checked in order to ensure that they meet our food safety standards for distribution to clients. This position does not require any heavy lifting but does require standing and moving for the duration of the shift.

Volunteers create their own group or join a group. Group size is 5-20 people, and duration of shift is 2-5 hours. Sorting is done in a warehouse environment and a safety orientation takes place before the beginning of each shift. Punctuality is important.

Children 12 and up may participate if they are with their guardian. If it is a group of youth they, must be 13 and up with a pre-arranged adult to child ratio and discussion about maturity prior to confirming a group.

Lifting: helpful but not required

Standing: standing, bending & moving for duration

Language: N/A

Client interaction: N/A

Learn more here

Learn more here

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