You Are Essential
As demand for food continues to remain high due to current economic conditions, we need your help more than ever. Far too many Marylanders still find it difficult to achieve financial stability, and your time spent volunteering can make all the difference in the world to a neighbor in need.
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.
We welcome groups to come volunteer with us. Currently, our online volunteer system limits reservations that would take more than 50% of the available spots for any given event. If you are looking for opportunities to bring a group larger than our online system allows or looking to reserve an entire event for a private volunteer experience, please contact the volunteer program directly so that we can assist you.
These are uncertain times. Food deliveries are delayed, employees call out sick, and 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. If you are planning on volunteering for multiple events to complete your service hour requirements, we are happy to provide documentation at the end of you service, not on a shift-by-shift basis.
Can You Help?
We are always adapting our policies and set-up to protect the health and well-being of our volunteers. Be sure to check the following regularly:
- Masks – As of March 1st, 2022, masks are no longer required at MFB. COVID remains unpredictable, and if another spike in infections happens in the future, we may require masks again. Please check back here and in your event description on VolunteerHub frequently.
- 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 10 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
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.
- All volunteers must wear closed-toed shoes and should bring a jacket or sweatshirt. Note that Crocs are not acceptable shoes for volunteering. Volunteers in our kitchen will be asked to remove all jewelry except for wedding bands.
- 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 2.5 hours and lift up to 35 pounds.
- Volunteers who arrive more than 10 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:
- Follow the group link you received when your reservation was processed.
- Sign in to VolunteerHub.
- Select the event you wish to check.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page. At the bottom left will be a list of first names and last initials for everyone who is registered in your group.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 35 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.
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. In Baltimore, youth ages 13 and older may volunteer in our kitchen and our 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 10 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.
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. Please note that Crocs are not considered appropriate footwear. Please wear shirt that have sleeves, not tank tops. In addition, the temperature in our facility fluctuates so we suggest they bring a light jacket or sweatshirt. Volunteers in our kitchen should remove all jewelry besides wedding bands.
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?
Parking is available but can sometimes be limited. Please try to carpool whenever possible. If no spots are available in front of or on the side of the building, please come inside and see the front desk who will direct you to overflow parking at a neighboring business.