Volunteer : FAQ

Learn more here about volunteering with The Greater Boston Food Bank, and how you can play your critical role in ending hunger in our community.

What do volunteers do at The Greater Boston Food Bank?

  • Most volunteers work in our warehouse, inspecting, sorting, and packing food and grocery products.
  • All volunteers are familiarized with GBFB - what we do and who we serve - and are trained at the beginning of their volunteer shift. Volunteers then work together as a team on an assembly line, possibly alongside other groups.
  • Some volunteers load boxes onto conveyer belts, some inspect or sort products, and others check and label boxes. While a few of these tasks require the ability to lift a 30-pound box, most tasks require only that a volunteer stand and inspect products for a few hours.

Can I come as an individual?

Absolutely! We are more than happy to have individuals come in during our regular shifts to volunteer with us. All volunteers must complete an application and set up a time on our online calender. Click here for our online application.

What is the minimum and maximum group size?

We can accommodate individual volunteers and groups between 5-50 people. Any groups of 4 or less are treated as individual volunteers.

How early do I need to book my group?

For the majority of the year we ask for a month or two of notice, however in the holiday season we are often completely booked many months in advance. We can book up to a year in advance - so feel free to contact us early by filling out a volunteer application form or emailing us at volunteer@gbfb.org.

Can I do my community service at GBFB?

We accept a limited amount of volunteers completing community service hours. Each individual is evaluated on a case by case basis. Please apply here: Individual Volunteer Application. Due to limited capacity within our volunteer program, we are unable to accept court-mandated volunteers.

What should I wear to volunteer?

All volunteers MUST wear closed-toed shoes in order to volunteer. You should wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty, as our product can be dusty at times. The warehouse tends to be chilly in the winter and hot in the summer, so layered clothing is suggested. Volunteers work around machinery so loose hanging items (such as longer necklaces) should be avoided and long hair pulled back.

Is there an age restriction?

All volunteers must be 16 years of age or older. Also, all volunteers under 18 require an adult chaperone. For children as young as 10, who want to volunteer alongside their families or friends, we run a "Kids Who Care" program.

Can GBFB accommodate volunteers with special needs?

Due to safety regulations we have to evaluate all situations individually, but we are happy to try and accommodate special needs. To discuss your needs, please contact the Volunteer Department at volunteer@gbfb.org or 617-427-5200 ext. 5096.

Is there a minimum time requirement to volunteer?

Because each volunteer shift includes training, individuals and groups must commit to volunteering for the entire length of one of our shifts (typically 2.5 - 3 hours). There is no long-term commitment required.

Our volunteer shifts for GROUPS are typically Monday-Saturday 9:30am-12:00pm and 1:00-3:30pm and Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:00pm. In the summer, our Saturday shift is only 9:30am-12:00pm.

Our volunteer shifts for INDIVIDUALS are typically Monday-Saturday 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00-4:00pm and Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:00pm. In the summer, our Saturday shift is only 9:00am-12:00pm.

Can I volunteer on a regular basis?

Individuals and Groups are welcome to volunteer on a regular basis, but must schedule their visits with the Volunteer Department in advance.

Does GBFB have a parking lot?

Yes, we do have a small parking lot for visitors' and volunteers' cars. Buses are able to park close by at the South Bay Shopping Center.

Are there other locations where I can volunteer?

The Greater Boston Food Bank only offers volunteer opportunities at our warehouse, located at 70 South Bay Avenue, in the South Boston area (click here for details). Yet, some of our individual and group volunteers also want to volunteer directly in their hometowns. We suggest using our assistance locater (click here for details) to find a local food agency in your area. You can contact them directly with questions about volunteering at their location. Every agency is independent from The Food Bank and has its own policies and volunteer requirements.

How do I become a GBFB volunteer?

Learn how to become a GBFB volunteer, and find the right volunteer application for you or your group on the following pages:

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