Education & Outreach

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Nutrition-Related Volunteer Opportunities

Second Harvest recognizes the link between poverty and obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. To help combat these diseases, we have developed a dynamic nutrition education program. We provide nutrition education, recipes, food tastings, and cooking demonstrations to our clients and partner agencies. In addition, we plan pantry nutrition education, conduct market surveys, work with farmers' markets, and provide food safety training. We have a variety of projects, ranging from short term (12-15 hours), long term (80-90 hours), and internships (120-400 hours). The projects listed below are updated weekly or as often as needed. If you are interested and qualified to help with these projects, please contact the person listed to apply for the volunteer position.

Health Ambassador Volunteer

Looking for a way to use your passion for healthy eating and cooking to help people in need? Join our growing team of Health Ambassador Volunteers who help share important nutrition knowledge and make a difference in the lives of Second Harvest Food Bank clients!

Description: Work with Second Harvest nutrition educators to give nutrition and food safety lessons to food assistance clients and provide recipe samples.

Training: Health Ambassadors complete a half-day training on Wednesday, July 16 to include:

  • basic nutrition
  • food safety including an on-line course and exam. Upon completion ambassadors will receive a Food Handler's Permit
  • learn about cultural awareness, low-literacy materials, and adult learning principles

Location: Various food distribution sites and community agencies throughout Santa Clara or San Mateo County.

Hours: Commit to 3-9 hours/month for 3 months — mostly between 8-5, Monday through Friday. Some weekends.

Qualifications:

  • Able to attend 3.5-hour Health Ambassador training and a 2-hour online food safety training
  • Outgoing and enthusiastic
  • Comfortable working as part of a team with a diverse population
  • Able to commit to 3 months of volunteer work
  • Able to volunteer during working hours Monday-Friday
  • 18 years or older
  • Preferred: Able to speak Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Tagalog, or Vietnamese

Training:
Please contact Janet Hung, Community Nutritionist, at jhung@shfb.org to find out about the next training.

 

Nutrition Student Projects

Please apply to Madoka Gaspar at mgaspar@shfb.org for the following project. Please include your hours and days of availability, your experience, and if you speak any languages other than English.

This project is available in both Santa Clara or San Mateo County. Please specify in which county you are interested in working.

12-15 hour projects
  1. Help with food preparation for taste tests at our distribution sites. This will require coordinating days and hours with our nutritionist. The project requires assisting the nutritionist in preparing food samples at a county-approved kitchen, then distributing the samples at a food bank distribution site. This is usually a 4-hour project per time; time depends on the day, usually between 8-5. We have an ongoing need for a volunteer like this, and we can use 2-3 volunteers at different times.
  2. Help translate nutrition education lessons at food distribution sites. Fluency in another language a must, preferably Spanish or Vietnamese for Santa Clara County and Spanish, Tagalog, or Chinese for San Mateo County. This will require 3-4 hours per time at a distribution site; days and time usually occur during the week between 8-5 and can be somewhat flexible, depending on what distribution is scheduled. We can use 2-3 volunteers at different times.
80-90 hour projects

These projects are for nutrition students enrolled in an ADA-approved program or RD or RD-eligible volunteers.

  1. Develop and teach a nutrition lesson based on our nutrition theme of the month, to include a trifold display, a lesson plan with goals, objectives and an evaluation component. Audiences may vary by culture and age. Hours are flexible and must be arranged with the nutrition department. Volunteers for this project must be students or graduates of an ADA-approved nutrition program.
  2. Develop Nutrition Tip cards as part of our produce tip card program. Conduct evaluation of tip card acceptance at 2-3 sites. Volunteers for this project must be students or graduates of an ADA-approved nutrition program. Hours are flexible and must be arranged with the nutrition department.
120 hour project

This project is approximately 120 hours for a dietetic intern enrolled in an ADA-approved dietetic internship. However, it may also be appropriate for an undergraduate student with 80-90 hours of time available or a dietitian volunteer.

Help a congregate meal program develop menus using food bank foods. This will include meeting with the food bank nutritionist and congregate meal director, reviewing food bank foods, reviewing congregate meal requirements, and developing menus.

Help design and implement a Health Ambassador project for nutrition and food safety education. This will require designing a project to recruit and train community Health Ambassadors to provide nutrition education in appropriate languages at SHFB food distribution sites.

Hours are 8:30-5, Monday-Friday for a dietetic intern.

 

CalFresh (Food Stamp) and Food Connection Outreach Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer with the CalFresh and Food Connection Teams! Help combat hunger and address food insecurity by working with the Outreach team to educate the community about the CalFresh (Food Stamp) program and other available food resources.

Food Connection Hotline Operator

Description: Assist callers by providing referrals for food assistance.

Location: Curtner Center (750 Curtner Ave., San Jose)

Supports: Food Connection, a food referral hotline to connect people seeking food assistance.

Hours: Flexible 3-hour shifts between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday – Friday. Volunteer positions with Food Connection require a commitment of 3 hours per week for a minimum of 3 months.

Qualifications:

  • Must be bi-lingual in English/Spanish or English/Vietnamese
  • Excellent customer-service skills
  • Experience working with diverse populations
  • Ability to use the computer
  • Age 18+ years
  • Participate in on-the-job training provided by Second Harvest Food Bank staff

Note: Appropriate for individuals and small groups.

Contact:
Vu Tran, Food Connection Manager
phone: (408) 266-8866 x263
email: vtran@shfb.org

 

Adopt a Neighborhood

Description: Provide information and promote CalFresh and Food Bank programs throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties by distributing flyers to Food Bank partner agencies, community centers, libraries and small businesses.

Supports: Second Harvest Food Bank CalFresh Outreach team.

Commitment: 3-4 hours per month, flexible hours. Appropriate for individuals or small groups.

Qualifications:

  • Comfortable working with a diverse population
  • Age 18 or above.
  • Ability to provide own transportation to neighborhoods

Contact:

San Mateo County
Anna Olsen Dyer, Associate Director of Services
phone: (650) 610-0800 x424
email: adyer@shfb.org

Santa Clara County
Nicole Martinez, CalFresh Outreach Manager
phone: (408) 266-8866 x294
email: nmartinez@shfb.org

 

CalFresh Outreach Assistant

Description: Accompany our staff to community sites to provide information and screen individuals for CalFresh, and also let clients know about other food resources. You will reach members in a variety of locations: pantries, soup kitchens, or Food Bank distribution programs. Outreach is often conducted outside.

Location: Various outreach sites throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.

Supports: CalFresh Outreach team

Hours: 2-20 hours weekly. Flexible 2-5 hour shifts between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday – Sunday. Volunteer positions with CalFresh Outreach require a commitment of 3 hours per week for a minimum of 2 months.

Qualifications:

  • For Santa Clara County: Must be bi-lingual in English/Spanish or English/Vietnamese
  • For San Mateo County: Must be bi-lingual in English/Spanish, English/Chinese or English/Tagalog.
  • Strong verbal communication skills
  • Attend a 2 hour training provided by Second Harvest Food Bank staff
  • Comfortable working with a diverse population
  • Age 18+ years

Note: Appropriate for individuals and small groups.

Contact:

San Mateo County
Anna Olsen Dyer, Associate Director of Services
phone: (650) 610-0800 x424
email: adyer@shfb.org

Santa Clara County
Nicole Martinez, CalFresh Outreach Manager
phone: (408) 266-8866 x294
email: nmartinez@shfb.org

 

CalFresh Program Assistant

Description: Support CalFresh Outreach behind the scenes. Volunteers will assist in the office bundling flyers, making copies, data entry and special projects. We also need bilingual staff to provide reminder calls to CalFresh applicants.

Location: Bing Center (1051 Bing St., San Carlos) or Curtner Center (750 Curtner Ave., San Jose)

Supports: CalFresh Outreach Team

Hours: 2 hours or more weekly between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Qualifications:

  • Office experience with computers, Outlook, and Excel helpful
  • Age 16 or above (If under age 18, will need parental/guardian approval form)
  • For client calls, volunteers must be bilingual English/Spanish or English/Vietnamese

Note: Appropriate for individuals and small groups.

Contact:

San Mateo County
Anna Olsen Dyer, Associate Director of Services
phone: (650) 610-0800 x424
email: adyer@shfb.org

Santa Clara County
Nicole Martinez, CalFresh Outreach Manager
phone: (408) 266-8866 x294
email: nmartinez@shfb.org