19,808,678 meals provided so far in 2019
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Volunteer Requirements

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Volunteer Requirements2018-10-13T00:08:54+00:00

Volunteer Requirements

Volunteer requirements

Second Harvest loves volunteers. We could not do what we do without you. We appreciate your time and support in the fight against hunger.

Here’s what you need to know as a volunteer:

All volunteers must register in advance. We no longer offer walk-in shifts.

Volunteers needing court-ordered hours must be pre-screened and volunteer at an approved time and location.

Apply here for approval for court-ordered hours. You may also call 408-266-8866 ext. 150.

You will not be able to volunteer until you are pre-screened and approved. We do not allow walk-in volunteers so please make sure you are approved and registered in advance.

Need hours for school?

Here’s what you can do:

Food sorting

Come sort food at our Cypress Center (San Jose) or Bing Center (San Carlos) locations. Shifts ideal for school hours are 3 hours long, and there are other 2 hour long opportunities. Register as an individual and let a staff member know when you arrive that you need hours for school. WALK-IN SHIFTS ARE NOT AVAILABLE; advance registration is required for all volunteer opportunities at the Food Bank.

Food distribution – Sign up to distribute food in the community.

Other volunteer opportunities – If you see an opportunity listed, inquire ahead of time if hours verification is offered.

Food-sorting/food distribution age limits

  • Minimum age is 14.
  • Youth ages 14 through 15 must be accompanied by one adult over 21 for every five youth.
  • Every youth volunteer must have a signed permission slip on file. This permission slip will be emailed after a youth signs up.


The dress code at the Food Bank warehouse and at food distribution sites is casual and comfortable. Please note the following dress requirements.

  • Comfortable, safe footwear must be worn — sneakers, work shoes or boots. High heels, open-toed shoes and sandals are not allowed.
  • Long pants only and no tank tops.
  • Dress warm in winter.
  • Dress light in summer.
  • Leave purses, jewelry and other valuables at home or locked in your trunk. Necklaces and long earrings are not safe in the warehouse. Second Harvest Food Bank is not responsible for missing personal belongings.

Warehouse/distribution rules

  • NO EATING, DRINKING, RUNNING or SMOKING in the warehouse or at the distribution.
  • Food and grocery items are intended for needy people and member charities only.
  • Volunteers should remain in the assigned work area. Report to the group leader or staff if you need to leave the area.
  • Cleanup is part of our work. Your cooperation is appreciated.


  • Group contact/leader should confirm arrival and departure times two to three days prior to scheduled day.
  • Group contact/leader should forward your confirmation email to your group members so they can register and confirm their slot ahead of time. All volunteers are required to register in advance and sign in upon arrival.
  • Groups cannot currently cancel through the volunteer information page. Please email us at VolunteerServices@shfb.org or call the Volunteer Coordinator at (408) 266-8866 ext. 150 or (650) 610-0800 ext. 150.


  • If you need to cancel or reschedule, please access your personal information page to cancel.
  • If you have a school-related service hour requirement form, please be advised that we do not sign third-party forms. A Volunteer Time Card is available for your use. See our volunteer timekeeping policy for more info.
  • At the end of your shift, have a staff member from the Volunteer Department sign your requirement form.