Volunteering FAQs

Learn more about volunteering with The Greater Boston Food Bank, and how you can play your critical role in ending hunger in our community.
Q: What do volunteers do at The Greater Boston Food Bank?
A: Most volunteers work in our warehouse, inspecting, sorting, and packing food and grocery products.
All volunteers are trained at the beginning of their volunteer shift, and are introduced to GBFB – what we do and who we serve. Volunteers then work together as a team (possibly alongside other groups) on an assembly line to complete their project.
Some volunteers load boxes onto conveyor 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.
Q: Can I come as an individual?
A: 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 calendar. Click here for our online application.
Q: What is the minimum and maximum group size?
A: We can accommodate individual volunteers and groups between 5 and 50 people. Any groups of 4 or fewer are treated as individual volunteers.
Q: How early do I need to book my group?
A: 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
Q: Can I complete my required community service at GBFB?
A: We accept a limited amount of volunteers completing community service hours. Please apply on our individual volunteers application. Due to limited capacity within our volunteer program, we are unable to accept court-mandated volunteers.
Q: What should I wear to volunteer?
A: All volunteers MUST wear closed-toed shoes in order to volunteer. You should wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty, as our products 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.
Q: Is there an age restriction?
A: All volunteers must be 16 years of age or older, and all volunteers under 18 require an adult chaperone. For children as young as 10, who want to volunteer alongside their families or friends, we have a Kids Who Care volunteer opportunity.
Q: Can GBFB accommodate volunteers with special needs?
A: Due to safety regulations we have to evaluate all situations individually, but we are happy to work to accommodate special needs. To discuss your needs, please contact the Volunteer Department at or 617-427-5200 ext. 5096.
Q: : Is there a minimum time requirement to volunteer?
A: 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 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 – 3:30 PM and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 – 8:00 PM. During the summer, our Saturday shift is only 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM.

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

Q: Can I volunteer on a regular basis?
A: Individuals and groups are welcome to volunteer on a regular basis, but must schedule their visits with the Volunteer Department in advance.
Q: Does GBFB have a parking lot?
A: We have a small parking lot for staff and visitors, available during regular business hours (8:00am-4:30pm). Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee parking as space is extremely limited. We strongly encourage using public transportation, ride-share services, and carpooling. Large groups (20+ volunteers) may want to consider arranging a charter bus. Buses are able to park close by at the South Bay Shopping Center.
Q: Are there other locations where I can volunteer?
A: 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. You can use our food assistance locator (click here for details) to find a hunger-relief organization in your area. You can contact them directly with questions about volunteering at their location. Every agency operates independently of GBFB and has its own policies and volunteer requirements.



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

  • For corporate/community/college groups, click here
  • For elementary or high school groups, click here
  • For individuals, click here

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