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Caridad Social Action

02/20/2021 11:41:25 PM


Diane Katz

Status of Community Food Bank Volunteering

By Gary Becker

Currently, based on the status of the pandemic, the Food Bank is still limiting volunteer opportunities to two different types: 1) volunteering for shifts in the outdoor distribution of food (drive-through; clients remain in their cars), and 2) a limited amount of volunteering at Caridad Community Kitchen.  I will explain both in a little more detail.

Outdoor Food Distribution: To read about this opportunity in detail, prospective volunteers should visit for all details.  This is the volunteer management site that all volunteers must use.  It tracks volunteers, schedules of volunteer opportunities, hours worked as a volunteer in various areas, etc.  If it looks or sounds complicated to use, I can assure you it is not.  I have used it for a couple of years.  Stacy Oliver, Volunteer Services manager has promised me that anyone who needs assistance with the system can get it by simply emailing her and her staff at:  Stacy said she means it; they want to help every individual who wishes to volunteer.

The other thing you should know about the food distribution opportunity is that the specific jobs vary from simply flagging traffic to lifting 20-30 lbs of food at a time.  All of the work is outdoors, and it involves standing on your feet for extended periods of time.  This link,, takes you to a page that explains all that the Food Bank is doing for COVID-19 risk mitigation (social distancing, masking requirements, gloves where appropriate, and lots of hand sanitizer).  Please know that going forward, all volunteers are required to take an online coronavirus training, that will become evident when you try to sign up for a volunteer activity.

Caridad Community Kitchen: To find out the current status of volunteering at Caridad, I posed a series of 5 questions to Zoe Cookenboo.  Below are my questions and her responses.  You can see from her response that very small numbers of volunteers are being asked to fill in slots on their schedule.  They don’t anticipate having larger groups return to the kitchen until we have much better control of the pandemic.

Are you accepting volunteers in the kitchen who have some experience, either in the kitchen or doing other CFB volunteering?

  • Yes, we are accepting volunteers! We have openings in both our morning shift (8:30am - 11:30am) & our afternoon shift (12pm - 4pm). Right now, we are handing all new volunteer inquiry requests one-by-one. If anyone is interested, they can contact me directly at caridad@communityfoodbank.or or via my direct phone line at 520-499-1182. There are no experience pre-requisites, so no experience in the kitchen or at other CFB sites is needed! If people do have that experience, that's great! I do like to go over what tasks are a part of each shift & the expectations:

    • Fine motor-skills in fingers, hands, wrists, and elbows as volunteers pick-up small items to build meals, and scoop, place, pick-up, and move meal materials

    • Comfortable working as part of a team

    • Interest & ability to work in a steady-paced environment

    • An organized, self-starter with the ability to work independently

    • Good oral communication skills

    • Able to lift between 20-30 pounds, preferred

    • Able to stand for 3 hours (volunteers take breaks as needed)

    • Able to adhere to our kitchen dress code to maintain the safety of our food (see below for dress code)


If you are accepting groups of volunteers like ours from Or Chadash, are you still doing afternoons only?

  • We are still just offering our regular volunteer shifts. We have our afternoon shifts from 12pm - 4pm helping with senior meals & we also have morning shifts from 8:30am - 11:30am helping to prepare our community meals and potentially help with our senior meals program, if time allows. I don't expect us to have any group volunteer opportunities until community spread significantly reduces and the food bank "opens" to the community again.

 Must the volunteers complete the online COVID-19 training before they can serve?

  • Before anyone can volunteer, they do need to have an online volunteer account & complete both the COVID-19 training as well as sign our volunteer waiver. If anyone doesn’t have the capacity to do this one their own, we can always complete all of these steps together at our facility. We recognize that not everyone has internet access at home or the interest/knowledge to use a computer on their own. Signing up for a volunteer account does require an email & we do have a work-around for folks who do not have email addresses! If this is anyone case, I can help them get set up as a volunteer! 


What is the limit on number of volunteers in a group?

  • Right now, our biggest openings during our regular volunteer shifts are 3 people in the morning shifts. Usually some of our afternoon shifts will only have 1-2 openings at the most.  

Are there any shifts in the next month or two that you know you can use help with?

  • We do have a couple shifts with a larger number of openings. Here’s a quick list:

    • Monday, February 22nd, during our afternoon shift, 12pm – 4pm; 3 openings

    • Tuesday, February 23rd during our morning shift, 8:30 – 11:30am; 4 openings

    • Tuesday, February 23rd during our afternoon shift, 12 – 4pm; 3 openings

    • Wednesday, February 24th during our morning shift, 8:30 – 11:30am; 4 opening

Thu, January 27 2022 25 Shevat 5782