How can I volunteer?
Our food run volunteers pick up excess food from grocery stores, hotels, caterers, schools, restaurants, and more and deliver it to one of our recipient partner organizations that feed those in need.
But volunteering isn’t just for food runs. If being a food runner isn't your thing, or just doesn't work with your schedule, we have many other volunteer opportunities available, such as "Hotline" dispatcher, logistics, donor and recipient partner liaisons, social media content provider, photographer or videographer, info booth attendant, and many other jobs related to keeping a nonprofit running.
Each Hour You Serve Makes a Big Impact!
Based on 2017 numbers, our average food rescue takes only an hour of your time and redistributes enough food to feed 185 meals to people, keeping over 220 pounds of edible food from going to the landfill! You choose which food runs to volunteer for - do as few or as many as you have time for each month. Food runs are available every day of the week.
"It's bone-deep in me that sharing food nourishes and validates others and creates community. All things i want to be a part of. Plus waste....ugh!"
— Julie Webb, Keep Austin Fed Volunteer
Steps to become a volunteer food runner:
- Register with GivePulse, who has generously donated their services to help us manage our volunteer efforts.
- Because we want to be sure that all of our volunteers are trained in food handling safety, you will need to get an online food handler's certification, if you do not already have one. This typically takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours, costs about $10, and is good for 2 years. We recommend Certified on the Fly, but feel free to choose from the full list of state approved vendors. Once you have completed and downloaded your certification, submit it to Keep Austin Fed via GivePulse.
- Sign up to attend a 1.5 - 2 hour Saturday or Sunday morning training session that includes a shadow run where you will work with seasoned volunteers to sort, weigh, load, and deliver surplus food to one of our recipients.
- It is important that you request to join the Keep Austin Fed Group. Look for the "Become a Member" button underneath Keep Austin Fed's name. Click on this to complete your request to join the group. Please note that this is NOT an automated process. Our Volunteer Coordinator must confirm that you have submitted a valid food handler's certification and attended the training session.
- Once your membership has been approved (you will receive a Welcome Message via email - please be sure to read it thoroughly), you can sign up for any food runs that fit your schedule and are shaded in a light blue. A food run shaded in gray means that another volunteer has already registered. If it appears in a dark royal blue, then that indicates that you have successfully registered for the run!
volunteer opportunities other than food runner
In addition to our volunteer food rescuers, we have a number of other volunteer opportunities for those who are interested. For these opportunities, you are not required to obtain a food handler's permit or to attend our orientation and shadow run (although we HIGHLY recommend doing this, just so you get a good feel for what we are all about!). Some of our other volunteer teams include:
- Logistics - this team helps us to match up food donations with appropriate recipient organizations. We have about 55 -60 scheduled food runs every week, and are always adding new donors and new recipients. Before we can add them to our schedule, we need to determine the best matches (in terms of geography, timing, type of food, etc.). This team will also be responsible for coordinating changes in schedules due to holidays, school breaks, etc.
- SWAT Team - This is our "hotline" dispatchers. These individuals are assigned to have our main number routed to them, and handle it accordingly. Most of the calls fielded by this team are from a food establishment that is looking to donate some food in an "on-demand" kind of situation (i.e., not previously scheduled). The hotline dispatcher will make a note of the details, and then find a volunteer and appropriate recipient. We are looking to get a big enough team, that each dispatcher only has 1 morning or afternoon shift each week.
- Social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email Newsletters - you name it! We are always looking for ways to share the Food Rescue story to everyone. If you consider yourself a writer, whether it's 140 characters at a time, or a whole "spotlight" article, then we can use you!
- Photographer/Videographer - We need fresh and interesting photos and videos for everything we do. They say a picture's worth 1000 words. Help us spread the word!
- Volunteer Outreach - Our organization would be nothing without our volunteers. We want to be sure that we are answering all of their questions, making sure they are comfortable with their experiences, and appreciating them as they deserve. If you want to learn more about their stories, and help ensure they remain engaged, this spot might be for you!
If you have any questions or problems, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.