More than 42 million Americans face hunger every day including 1 in 6 children.
Our Missoula Food Bank and Community Center relies on the donations they receive from people like us to help keep their shelves stocked.
At our General Meeting on Wednesday, November 10th from 12-1pm at the Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC), we are asking that every member and guest bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Missoula Food Bank. This drive is organized by Erin Steele with Flaherty Financial Services, will deliver all donated items to the Food Bank.
Since we are so close to the holidays, perhaps you have donations of Thanksgiving-themed non-perishable items in your pantry, such as cranberry sauce, gravy, canned vegetables, instant potatoes, and pie filling. These items can help set the table for a family in need.
We will also be taking cash and check donations made out to the Missoula Food Bank.
Have time to donate? Missoula Food Bank & Community Center is a nonpartisan, anti-racist, LGBTQ2S+ ally organization. Their facility and programs operate under the highest equitable standards in order to promote justice for everyone.
You can get started by filling out a Volunteer Application.
PROGRAM VOLUNTEER POSITIONS
ROOTS is a monthly grocery delivery (or pick up) program for income-qualifying people aged 60 or older. Once a month, on the second Thursday of each month, staple food items are delivered to the doorsteps of seniors who may have transportation or mobility challenges. Volunteers help on the assembly line and to deliver groceries to hundreds of homebound seniors.
Kids Table is a summer & after-school program that provides healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks to children in our community. Volunteers in this program work in groups to help with snack and meal prep and are expected to maintain excellent food safety practices. There are also Kids Table volunteers that deliver food in their own vehicles to participating organizations during the school year.
Food Circle is a program where we accept prepared, perishable food from local, commercial food establishments. Using sanitized containers, excess prepared food is collected at donor establishments by a driver trained in safe food handling. Volunteers in this program help to create, pack and label these meals for distribution in our food bank store, and are expected to maintain excellent food safety practices.
Kids EmPower Pack is a weekend nutrition program helping students to stay healthy & nourished when school is not in session over the weekends. Volunteers for this program work on an assembly line to build these packs of food that are then sent home with kids during the school week. Another volunteer option in this program is delivering these packs to schools all over our community.
EmPower Place at Missoula Food Bank & Community Center is a fun space that welcomes all children to learn, grow, and play. Each day in EmPower Place there are activities and fun programming to enjoy. Volunteers learn and play with children, and help supervise this space. We also have meal distribution volunteers in this space to hand out Kids Table meals.
IN-STORE VOLUNTEER POSITIONS
Greeters are the first face our customers see when they walk in the building, so must be welcoming and friendly people. Volunteers in this position greet new and returning customers, explain how our process works to people who have never been here, receive incoming donations from donors, and can answer general questions. They will also explain our intake survey to our customers and describe the different food service options, and also keep track of these forms. Volunteers in this position work in a team, are good at multi-tasking, and are strong communicators.
Resource Assistants sit down with every customer who decides to shop the choice-model in our Store, trying to connect people with other important resources in our community. Volunteers in this position are kind, knowledgeable about community resources, good listeners, and can maintain confidentiality. Volunteers in this position get the opportunity to do some extra training. It is required that Resource Assistants attend one longer on-the-job training per month, plus one extra community resource training per month (approximately 2 hours of training total each month). Volunteers in this position have the best opportunity to focus time and energy on upstream resources that can positively impact peoples’ lives in a meaningful way.
Boxers work in a team during our distribution hours to help pack bags or boxes of groceries once customers finish shopping, and sometimes help customers to their car when needed. Boxers are kind, patient, free of judgment, and have excellent customer service skills. Boxers can lift up to 25 pounds and are able to work well under pressure during busy hours in a high energy environment.
Roamers are present in the store during our distribution hours and are able to assist customers while they’re shopping. This might mean answering a question about the process, looking for a specialty food item for a customer, or making sure the store is looking tidy and neat. Volunteers in this position are flexible, kind, and are comfortable with varying levels of business.
GRAB & GO HELPERS
This volunteer will hand off full carts pre-filled with food to customers utilizing our Grab & Go service. This means working up front directly with customers and potentially answering any other questions a customer might have. This person is attentive, friendly, and efficient.
GRAB & GO CART FILLERS
Cart fillers for our Grab & Go service will make sure to have fully stocked carts at all times so that the grab & go helper is able to continue handing off carts to customers efficiently. This volunteer will shop through our store and mid warehouse to fill these carts will take care of any returned food items and will retrieve carts from our cart corral and around our building.
Data entry volunteers enter customer surveys into our Salesforce database. This takes place in a setting away from the front to be able to focus on detail without rush or pressure. Data entry volunteers will get training to accurately enter customer information into our system. Volunteers in this position pay close attention to detail, have good focus, are comfortable on a computer, and can maintain strict confidentiality.
Sorters help us organize and quality check the food we receive in donations. This includes carefully checking and adhering to guidelines around expiration dates, quality checking for dents or ripped packaging, and placing like items into crates. Volunteers in this position pay very close attention to detail, should be comfortable with bending, twisting, etc., and lifting up to 25 pounds.
Volunteers in this position replenish the shelves in our store at various times throughout the day. This means making sure things look nice, neat, and presentable like a grocery store, in a way that is easy for our customers to see and choose from. Volunteers in this position also quality check while stocking, making sure to only put out good food items. Stockers are well organized, can work independently, and should usually be able to lift up to 25 pounds.
Volunteer Repackers will package bulk food items up into smaller portions so that they can get stocked in our store for our customers to take home. This job can be done standing or seated. This job requires excellent food safety practices and can be done independently or with a few other volunteers. This job happens in the afternoons.
Food Circle volunteers use their creativity to put together meals from our food rescue program. We receive donated food from local restaurants and caterers that they over-prepared and did not serve, and our volunteers use food-safe handling skills to package meals into microwavable, oven-safe entrees. The meals are then frozen and distributed in our store. Food circle volunteers practice excellent food safety skills and can work well with a team or independently.
Each day we receive large bins of produce donated from grocery stores in our community. This produce is mixed and needs to be organized and cleaned up. Volunteer Produce Sorters sort, bag, and portion out produce items so that they are ready to put on display in our store. Produce Sorters use their best judgment to only put out good-looking food items. Volunteers in this position like to make things look nice and are not afraid of a little mold! This job happens around 10:30 each day.
Rovers do whatever it is that needs to be done! They are an extra helping hand that is scheduled all throughout the day as we always have things that come up. This could mean sorting a big donation, shelving items in our mid warehouse, sweeping, etc. Rovers can generally lift up to 50 lbs. and are able to work on their feet for up to three hours. Rovers are fast learners, flexible, and willing to work both independently and as part of a team. Rovers are task-oriented and self-guided.
We use bus tubs and bins to display food items in our store as well to hold food items that need to be repackaged, and we also use lots of dishes to help with food preparation in some of our programs. Dishwashers practice excellent food safety skills and will run all our dishes through an industrial sanitizer so that we always have clean dishes for our programs. Dishwashers enjoy working independently and are good at organization.
We receive perishable donations from many different grocery stores in our community, and we utilize volunteer help in picking up these donations and bringing them back to the store to be weighed out. Volunteers who do grocery rescue will generally use their own vehicles and will retrieve donations. We also have one volunteer each morning who rides along with our truck driver to help pick up and load donations from Albertsons. Volunteers who do grocery rescue are comfortable bending, twisting, and lifting up to 30 pounds.
BOX PICK UP AND DELIVERY
Box delivery volunteers use their own vehicles to help pick up boxes and deliver them to our store for use at our boxing station and for our other programs. This is a flexible volunteer position that can happen a variety of times throughout the week.
FARMER’S MARKET PICK UP
Every Saturday during both the Summer and Winter Farmer’s Market, we receive produce donations from Farmer’s Market patrons wanting to donate produce or from the vendors themselves. During peak summertime, we sometimes receive over a thousand pounds of food! Volunteers in this position help drop off donation bins on Saturday mornings at the Market, and also spend time retrieving the donations from the market, loading them back up into personal vehicles or food bank vehicles, and haul it back to the food bank where they will unload it and weigh it out. Volunteers in this position must be able to lift up to 50 pounds with a partner.