Want to Volunteer? Start Here!


Welcome to our volunteer site! Volunteers represent an integral part of the success of Second Harvest's ability to help provide food to people in need in our community. Last year, volunteers contributed more than 338,000 hours of service, which more than doubled the size of our staff!

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties involves hundreds of volunteers each week in all aspects of our operation. We welcome and appreciate your time, talent, and interest for the benefit of others in our community. We have individual and group volunteer opportunities for those who are 14 years of age or older.

How would you like to fight hunger?

There are many ways that volunteers support our mission of providing food to people in need in our community. Browse our current opportunities to get started:

Food Sorts: Sorting food at our warehouses is a popular way to help. These activities are perfect for individuals or groups whether you come once a week or once a year. See our schedules and sign up to help at San Jose's Cypress Center or our Bing Center in San Carlos.

Distribute Food in the Community: Some of our most dedicated volunteers help through distributing food at hundreds of sites throughout our two counties. This is best for individuals or small groups willing to commit to weekly or monthly support.

Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities: We also need volunteers to help with everything from data entry to educating about nutrition. If you can commit to ongoing support in one of our three facilities, check out these volunteer activities.

Skilled Volunteering: We seek to build a strong partnership with volunteers who possess unique talents and abilities that will help us lead the fight against hunger. Check out the opportunities where we currently need volunteers. If you have skills to share with us that aren't posted, sign up here to tell us about your specific talents and areas of interest.

Need Hours? If you need service hours for your school or club, or you want to do court-mandated hours, please see our volunteer requirements for more information.

Additional Volunteer Opportunities: We use VolunteerMatch to list our most up-to-date volunteer opportunities. Check out our additional opportunities listed here.


Looking for other opportunities to help? Here are some more great ideas! We also have some suggested activities for families and youth.



Learn the basic volunteer guidelines and discover some of our popular volunteer activities in this short video!


Ready to Volunteer at a Food Sort?

We have a few rules to make your experience safe and rewarding. Please review our requirements in advance of your visit.

  • The minimum age to volunteer is 14 years old. Youth between the ages of 14 - 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 21 years of age or older. Any youth under the age of 18 must have a signed Parent Permission Form.
  • All volunteers must sign our Volunteer Agreement.
  • Please wear closed-toed shoes and long pants and leave all personal belongings in your vehicle.
  • Advance registration is required for all food sorts. See the schedules and sign up for a food sort at our Cypress Center (San Jose) or Bing Center (San Carlos).
  • Volunteers needing court-ordered hours must be pre-screened and volunteer at an approved time and location. Please contact Volunteer Services at (408) 266-8866 extension 150 to discuss volunteering to fulfill court-ordered hours.

Thank you for thinking of the Food Bank. We look forward to meeting and working with you!

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Volunteer for Turkey Trot

Volunteers are needed to help with the upcoming Turkey Trot! Help is needed for pre-race registration days as well as on the day of the race. For more information, please visit our Turkey Trot page.