Get Involved

Volunteer

Together, we are feeding neighbours

Volunteers are essential to our work at The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and have a crucial role in all aspects of our operations. From accepting community donations, attending events, sorting food donations, packing food hampers, to delivering food to the Community Food Assistance Network. We couldn’t do our work without volunteers.

Click here to view current volunteer opportunities.


Volunteering at the food bank

We are excited to welcome you as a volunteer at The Food Bank! There are a variety of ways to volunteer at The Food Bank and we believe there is an opportunity for everyone. Each volunteer role has its own requirements and commitments, but they all support our mission of ensuring no one goes hungry.

Once you have completed the registration process, you will be invited to a Volunteer Information training session. Volunteer Information training sessions are a chance for us to welcome you to The Food Bank volunteer program. Depending on the volunteer role, more in-depth onboarding may be required.

If you have any questions, or would like to register a group, email: volunteer@thefoodbank.ca.

CURRENT volunteer opportunities

Brand Ambassadors are the face of The Food Bank at events, campaigns, and speaking engagements. We are currently seeking Brand Ambassadors for:

  • Grocery Store Outreach

SIGN UP HERE TO BE A BRAND AMBASSADOR VOLUNTEER

This role interacts with the public and helps them understand the impact of their financial and food donations. Volunteers applying for this role:

  • will participate in an interview
  • will provide a reference check
  • must have excellent interpersonal skills
Commitment
Role requirements
  • Attend an onboarding training session.
  • Shifts are approximately 2-5 hours per event depending on the time of year, generally during evenings and weekends but can take place during regular business hours
  • 18 years of age or older.
  • Firm grasp of both written and spoken English.
  • Outgoing and approachable.
  • Ability to represent The Food Bank brand in a positive and enthusiastic manner.
  • Comfortable talking to a variety of people in a variety of locations/situations.
  • Provide two references (minimum 1 professional).

General Warehouse volunteers assist with various tasks throughout the warehouse, such as: customer service, hamper packing, food sorting (fresh, frozen, and non-perishable), working in the Fresh Approaches Food Centre, ordering picking, and more. Each volunteer will be assigned a task at the start of their shift based on the needs that day.

CLICK HERE TO BE A WAREHOUSE VOLUNTEER

This role is on-site in an operational warehouse environment, volunteers applying for this role should be comfortable with:

  • varying temperatures (in and out of coolers/freezers).
  • periodic noise and activities associated with operational warehouse activities (forklift traffic, equipment, large groups).
  • Continuous walking and standing on concrete floor.
Commitment
Role Requirements
  • Attend an onboarding training session.
  • Minimum commitment of 3 to 6 months preferred.
  • Shifts are approximately 3 to 4 hours in length, Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • 15 years of age and older.
  • Able to lift 50 pounds consistently with extended reaching and bending.
  • Able to read labels.

Grab your friends, family, co-workers, neighbours, and/or youth group and help sort non-perishable food at The Food Bank!

When you participate in Group Food Sorting, you are helping neighbours in need. All food will be distributed to the Community Food Assistance Network – a system of 100+ community programs and agency partners that provide direct access to emergency food and other vital supports.

SIGN UP HERE TO SIGN UP FOR GROUP FOOD SORTING

Please include the following information in your email: group name, number of volunteers, preferred date and time, and main contact information.

Note: We require a minimum of one week notice to ensure availability.

Volunteer Driver Assistants supports the Volunteer Driver with the delivery of food throughout the Community Food Assistance Network, food drive and grocery store pick-ups, and event-related driving needs.

SIGN UP HERE TO BE A DRIVER ASSISTANT

This role is on-the-road and interacts with members of the community, including the Community Food Assistance Network, grocery stores, and corporate, community, and food industry partners. Volunteers applying for this role:

  • will participate in an interview.
  • will provide a Reference Check.
  • must be an adept driver and always abide by all traffic laws.
 Commitment
 Role Requirements
  • Attend an onboarding training session.
  • Minimum 6 month commitment preferred.
  • Shifts are approximately 3 to 4 hours in length, Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • 18 years of age or older.
  • Able to lift 50 pounds consistently with extended reaching, bending, and climbing in/out of vehicles.
  • Able to read and write in English.
  • Provide two references (minimum 1 professional).

The Volunteer Driver assists the Operations Team with the deliveries or pickups of food drives, event supplies, agency orders, or corporate donations.

SIGN UP HERE TO BE A VOLUNTEER DRIVER

This role is on-the-road assists and with the deliveries or pickups of food drives, event supplies, agency orders, or corporate donations. Volunteers applying for this role:

  • will participate in an interview.
  • will provide a Reference Check.
  • will provide a driver’s abstract.
  • must pass a road test conducted by a staff member.
  • must be an adept driver and always abided by all traffic laws.
 Commitment
 Role Requirements
  • Attend an onboarding training session.
  • Minimum 6 month commitment preferred.
  • Shifts are available weekdays, weekends, and evenings
  • Minimum 21 years of age and at least 5 years of driving experience.
  • Valid Ontario G or DZ License.
  • Proof of a clean driving record with less than 3 demerit points.
  • Minimum 21 years of age and at least 5 years of driving experience.
  • Comfortable driving a transit van and/or a straight truck.
  • Must provide 2 references that can vouch for their driving experience and abilities.
  • Able to lift 50 pounds consistently with extended reaching, bending, and climbing in/out of vehicles.
  • Provide two references (minimum 1 professional).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How does The Food Bank's volunteer program work?

A: We welcome volunteers year-round at The Food Bank. Volunteers support our mission of ensuring no one goes hungry. Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to check out the current volunteer opportunities and complete an application. Once your application has been submitted, it will be reviewed by a team member, and if approved, you will be participate in an onboarding training session and begin volunteering.

Q: I want to volunteer. How and where do I start?

A: Check out our current volunteer opportunities to see if there is a fit for you. If so, complete an application and a team member will review your application and contact you with next steps. If you have questions, please contact us at: volunteer@thefoodbank.ca.

Q: I am looking for an unpaid placement - co-op, internship through community groups - does The Food Bank offer these opportunities?

A: We are often able to accommodate unpaid placements. Please have the group or organization you are working with contact us directly at: volunteer@thefoodbank.ca.

Q: I require volunteer hours. Can I volunteer with The Food Bank?

A: Absolutely! We welcome volunteers who require hours for school. However, we do not guarantee hours for any volunteer. Should you require volunteer hours as part of a court order, please know we only accept referrals from John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington.

Q: What is the minimum age to volunteer at The Food Bank?

A: The minimum age to volunteer is 15 years old. However, some volunteer opportunities do have specific age requirements and are note in the volunteer opportunity description. For those interested in volunteering with younger children, please click here.

Q: Do I need to submit an application or a resume to volunteer?

A: All individuals interested in volunteering at The Food Bank need to submit an application. A resume may be required depending on the role you are interested in, such as an administrative or transportation volunteer.

Q: Will I have to attend an interview?

A: Yes, all of our volunteers must participate in an onboarding training session. This may include an interview or information session followed by in-person training. Those interested in volunteering in our warehouse, generally do not require an interview. Some roles may require additional steps like an interview and reference check to ensure the safety of our volunteers, staff, and community.

Q: Are there certain skills or training I need to volunteer at The Food Bank?

A: Some volunteer roles require specific skills. All the skills required are listed in the volunteer role description. We provide role-specific training for each volunteer opportunity. Volunteers often learn new and/or hone existing skills while volunteering.

Q: Is there a time commitment for volunteering at The Food Bank?

A: We encourage those interested in volunteering to consider a minimum 3 to 6 month commitment. However, we do understand that you have a busy life and may not be able to provide a commitment. Be sure to carefully read the volunteer opportunity descriptions, as the time commitment is included in each, and apply the one that aligns with your commitment level.

Q: Do I require a police check, driver's abstract, or other documentation to volunteer at The Food Bank?

A: Yes, some volunteer opportunities do require a police check, driver’s abstract or other documentation. This depends on the volunteer opportunity and are outlined in the volunteer description. If you are interested in a role that requires additional documentation, we will let you know. Costs for any necessary additional checks will be reimbursed. Though we appreciate the proactiveness of some individuals, please do not seek out a police check or driver’s abstract unless we have asked you to.

Q: Can I volunteer with friends and family?

A: Yes, there are many opportunities for those who want to volunteer together. All individuals will need to fill out an application and complete onboarding prior to volunteering. Most shifts for our volunteer opportunities are available on a first come basis. If you and family or friends would like to volunteer together, you need to each register for the same shift.

Q: Will I get a letter of reference after I volunteer at The Food Bank?

A: We are happy to provide letters of reference for individuals volunteering. Please email: volunteer@thefoodbank.ca to request a letter of reference.

Q: I am a newcomer/international student to Canada, do I need a work permit to volunteer?

A: We welcome all members of the community to volunteer. Since there is no monetary payment for volunteering, a work permit is not required.

Q: I do not have Canadian references, what should I do?

A: Not all volunteer opportunities require references. If a role requires references, you can provide them from your home country. If you are attending school, you can ask the instructor to be a reference.

Q: I do not speak fluent English, can I still volunteer at The Food Bank?

A: Our volunteer opportunities usually require a basic understanding of English. However, some opportunities do require fluent spoken English. If you are unsure or concerned, contact us at: volunteer@thefoodbank.ca.

Q: Can I volunteer for only one role at a time or can I volunteer for multiple activities?

A: Some volunteers choose to participate in more than one volunteer opportunity at a time, as their schedules permit. Provided you complete the necessary onboarding requirements for each role, you are more than welcome to volunteer for multiple opportunities.

Q: If I have concerns about my volunteer experience, who can I speak to?

A: All volunteer roles have a staff person as a volunteer supervisor. Your volunteer supervisors information is listed on the landing page when you sign up for shifts. We encourage you to connect with your volunteer supervisor as a first step, should you not find a resolution, please contact the Director of People, Culture and Administration.

Q: Can I leave my volunteer duties at any time?

A: Should you decide to take a break or leave our volunteer program, we ask you speak directly to your volunteer supervisor. We appreciate as much notice as possible. If you are unable to connect with your volunteer supervisor, please email: volunteer@thefoodbank.ca.