You Are Essential
As demand for food continues to swell during this pandemic, we need your help more than ever. We’re committed to being here for those whose lives have been disrupted and you can help meet the increased need by volunteering.
On July 1st we will be opening volunteer shifts for October. Shifts for November and December will not be available until July 15th. This change in the availability of shifts is so that the volunteer program can evaluate its COVID policies and ensure food availability through the fall. Thank you for your interest in volunteering.
Volunteers Under the Age of 18
Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old. The minor and chaperone must registered individually to volunteer.
Given social distancing requirements, we are limited to 10 volunteers per shift in our warehouse or kitchen. However, we can accommodate groups of up to 20 volunteers, with half the group in the warehouse and the other half in the kitchen.
These are uncertain times. Food deliveries are delayed, employees call out sick, and stringent social distancing rules mean that we must sometimes cancel a volunteer shift. Please know that we value your time and support. If your shift is canceled, it will only be after we have exhausted all available alternatives.
Documentation of Service
Maryland Food Bank can provide official documentation of hours for law enforcement required service that may require verification. In order for us to accommodate such official documentation requests, you must contact the volunteer program prior to your first volunteer shift.
We have swiftly changed our set-up to protect the health and well-being of our volunteers:
- Masks & Gloves – All staff and volunteers must wear a face mask and gloves
- Social Distancing – Volunteers will be stationed at a minimum of six feet from one another
- Hygiene – We are regularly cleaning all high contact surfaces (door handles, handrails, sinks, bathrooms, tables, etc)
That being said, please DO NOT volunteer if any of the following apply to you:
- You have experienced any of the following symptoms in the past 48 hours: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea
- Within the past 14 days, you have been in close physical contact (6 feet or closer for at least 15 minutes) with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 or has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19
- You are isolating or quarantining because you may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or are worried that you may be sick with COVID-19
- You are currently waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test
- You have traveled to state with a COVID-19 test positivity rate above 10% in the last 14 days
Volunteer at Baltimore Branch
Sort and check the expiration dates of donated food on our conveyor belt, pack boxes, and create meal kits. Volunteers must be at least 13 years old, able to lift 25 pounds, and stand for three hours. You can volunteer as an individual or a group (5-10 volunteers).
Charles T. Bauer Community Kitchen
Help prepare ingredients and package meals for distribution across the state. Volunteers must be at least 13 years old, able to lift 25 pounds, and able to stand for three hours. You can volunteer as an individual or a group (5-10 volunteers).
Build your resume and use your office skills to help with filing, data entry, and special projects like donor mailings in Baltimore.
Volunteer at Salisbury Branch
Sort and check the expiration dates of donated food on our conveyor belt, pack boxes, and create meal kits. Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a chaperone. All volunteers must be able to lift 25 pounds and stand for three hours. You can volunteer as an individual or a group (5-20 volunteers).
Build your resume and use your office skills to help with filing, data entry, and special projects like donor mailings.
Volunteer at Farms Across Maryland
Farm to Food Bank
This Maryland Food Bank program helps get more local produce to more Marylanders. Pick fresh fruits & vegetables at partner farms across the state. There are no age or physical restrictions to participate. Volunteer as an individual or organize a group (5-20 volunteers). Learn more about the program, including locations.
Volunteer at HEART Markets Across Maryland
Our Healthy Eats Are Really Tasty (HEART) Market program combines fresh produce and staple groceries with music, education, and demonstrations at schools across the state. Volunteers help set up the market, distribute food, and clean up after the event. You must be at least 14 years old, be able to lift 40 pounds. and stand for 3 hours. Volunteer as an individual or group (5-10 volunteers). Learn more about scheduled events and locations.
Volunteer with Middle Mile
The Middle Mile program is always welcoming more volunteers to drive between donors and agency partners to deliver food to those in need. Volunteers pick up donations of prepared food, produce and more from Baltimore-area businesses and take them directly to our partner shelters and kitchens. Must have a valid driver’s license and meet insurance requirements.
- All volunteers must wear closed-toed shoes and should bring a jacket or sweatshirt.
- The minimum age to volunteer varies depending on the activity. Check the shift descriptions for specific requirements.
- All volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 21. For youth groups, there must be at least one adult chaperone for every five youth volunteers.
- Physical requirements vary by activity, so check the shift descriptions. However, at a minimum, volunteers must be able to stand for up to the three hours and lift up to 35 pounds.
- Volunteers who arrive more than 30 minutes after the start of their shift will be asked to reschedule.
Have a Question?
We’re always happy to help get volunteers the info they need.
FAQs About Group Reservations
How can I see which of my group members have signed up?
As a group leader, you can see which group members have registered by following these steps:
- Log into your account.
- Click the “ADMIN” button located in the upper right corner of the screen. (If your screen is Blue, you are already in ADMIN view.)
- Click on the shift you wish to check.
- Click the “Registered Users” button.
- This will show you the name and group affiliation of everyone registered in that shift, including those not in your group. It will also show you how many spots you have reserved.
Why does the system say there are only X number of slots available in my shift when I reserved more than X?
This message refers to spots available to volunteers without a reservation. Your spots are reserved.
How do I reserve additional spots?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any requests to change your reservation and we will make every effort to accommodate your request. Be sure to include your group name, the date/time/location of your visit, and details of the desired change.
How do I cancel my group’s reservation?
To cancel a group reservation, email email@example.com. Be sure to include your group name and the date/time/location of your visit. Absent extenuating circumstances, canceling a group reservation with less than one-week notice will jeopardize your group’s ability to volunteer with us in the future.
How do I cancel my personal reservation?
Canceling your personal reservation will have no effect on your group’s reservation. Group reservations can only be canceled by contacting our offices. If you sign up to join your group and you need to cancel your personal reservation, follow these steps:
- Log into your account;
- Click the date of our visit; and
- Click the word “Cancel” located directly below the circled check-mark on the right side of the screen;
- You will receive an email confirming your personal cancellation.
FAQs About Volunteer Requirements
A member of our group is recovering from an injury. Can they still volunteer?
For their safety, we require that each volunteer be able to stand for three hours, lift 25 pounds, read labels, and take direction from staff. While we appreciate their desire to support our mission, we cannot accommodate volunteers who do not meet these requirements. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if any members of your group have special needs.
Can a group member’s child volunteer with us?
Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone who agrees to supervise the youth volunteers. Chaperones must be at least 21 years old. Each chaperone may supervise up to five youth volunteers. Youth that do not have enough chaperones will not be allowed to participate. In Baltimore, youth ages 13 and older may volunteer in our kitchen and our warehouse. In Hagerstown, youth ages 16 and older may volunteer in the warehouse. Our Farm to Food Bank program does not have a minimum age to volunteer.
A member of my group needs to arrive late. Can they still participate?
While we appreciate their desire to help, we cannot accommodate volunteers who arrive more than 30 minutes after the scheduled start time.
I need official documentation of my volunteer hours. How do I ensure my hours are verified?
Volunteers who are seeking law enforcement mandated community service for any reason MUST email the Volunteer Program prior to their first shift. Please note that the volunteer program of Maryland Food Bank cannot guarantee hours to volunteers seeking mandated community service hours and will not account for hours completed prior to approval of the volunteer program.
FAQs About the Day of Your Visit
Can my group have lunch at the Food Bank before/after our shift?
Groups volunteering at our Baltimore location can reserve our boardroom, subject to availability, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Please send a room request to email@example.com. Past groups recommend Seasons Pizza or sandwiches from The Lunch Box Lady. We also offer a full catering menu through our FoodWorks program.
What happens if there is bad weather?
You will receive an email notification if there is a closing or delayed opening. You can also visit mdfoodbank.org or tune in to WBAL TV or check wbaltv.com for updates.
What should my volunteers wear?
For safety reasons, all volunteers must wear closed toes shoes. In addition, the temperature in our facility fluctuates so we suggest they bring a light jacket or sweatshirt.
When should we arrive?
Please plan on arriving at least 15 minutes before the start time of your shift. Our staff and other volunteers will be waiting for you, so please be courteous and considerate of their time and safety. Be sure to account for traffic and weather. Due to safety concerns, we cannot accommodate volunteers who arrive 15 minutes after the scheduled start time.
Do you have free parking?
Yes, we have ample free parking.