Training Volunteers

Most campus food banks or pantries would not be successful if it were not for the support of a strong volunteer base. Even if there are paid staff, volunteers are usually the heart of any hunger relief organization. Since we are here for our students who are experiencing food insecurity, we need to develop our volunteer force so we can create the most positive and comfortable experience possible.

  • If you are not doing a training for your volunteers you are doing both them and the students you serve a disservice. They are the customers and you are the customer service agents. If you have ever gotten bad service I imagine that this metaphor drives that point home.
  • Be sure to include in your training:
    • A big THANK YOU
    • Food safety – any policies and/or procedures you have, and any you have to follow.
    • Emotional safety – this includes confidentiality and how to create comfort for the student while they utilize your food bank or pantry.
    • Any other safety concerns you may have.
    • Full orientation to your space, policies, and procedures.
  • Other training topics that could be useful:
    • What to do in case of an emergency
    • What to do if there are grievances
    • How to repack foods
  • There are a number of ways to give your training. Here are a few we know work:
    • One on one meetings with staff and volunteers.
    • Group sessions
    • Powerpoint self-guided training with a staff check-in
    • Manuals
    • Other ideas that we have not seen: websites, YouTube Videos
  • Here is a link to the pantry training Powerpoint from Oregon State. This is done in combination with a food safety video, a short quiz, and a full tour and orientation to the pantry space: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6x4gTIjTE0ATnh2TlFkSUt2Yms/view?usp=sharing

Originally published by Clare Cady May 19, 2015

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