Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering

What is a food bank?

A food bank is a non-profit organization that sources and distributes food to partner agencies, usually food pantries and soup kitchens. Good Shepherd Food Bank distributes food to our network of over 500 partner agencies throughout the state. As a food bank, we serve as a distribution point and do not distribute food directly to people struggling with hunger. If you or someone you know needs food assistance, please use the food map to find a partner agency near you and contact them directly.

How do you keep your volunteers safe?

To protect the health of our volunteers and staff, we are limiting the number of volunteers during a shift to allow for social distancing. Face masks, gloves, and handwashing are required during your stay. After entering our distribution centers, you will be asked to complete an online health screening, including a no-touch temperature reading. We are increasing the frequency of cleaning surfaces and have increased the number of hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility.

If volunteers or staff arrive who are sick, we are requesting they go home until they are well.

We encourage individuals over 60 or in other higher-risk groups to stay home and be safe. The Center for Disease Control has identified higher risks associated with COVID-19 for individuals who are over the age of 60, have a heart condition, lung disease, diabetes, or any other serious health condition.

That said, individuals should consider their own health and well-being before deciding whether to volunteer. We are closely monitoring the pandemic situation and will continue to communicate further changes with our volunteers as we follow CDC guidelines.

What should I do if I signed up to volunteer but am feeling sick?

Please, stay home. Take care of yourself, and if you recently volunteered with us, please contact the volunteer department.

What kind of projects can I expect to help with as a volunteer?
  • In the distribution centers our volunteers assist with packing food boxes, repackaging produce, sorting and inspecting through food donations, and other tasks.
  • Off-site our volunteers may help at events, fundraisers, delivering Summer Program meals, off-site food distributions, and administrative tasks at our offices or from your home.
  • You may volunteer in our Cooking Matters classes.
How do I sign up to volunteer?

Go to Volunteer Sign Up Page and click Volunteer Now to start the process.

Please note that we are unable to accommodate drop-in volunteers. Scheduling your shift at least one day in advance allows us to adequately plan for our projects and distributions.

May I schedule a group? How many people can you accommodate at once?

Volunteering at the food bank is a great team-building opportunity. We can accommodate groups of up to five volunteers at our Hampden and Auburn distribution centers at this time.

When can I volunteer?

After you have completed your New Volunteer Orientation, you are welcome to sign up for our regular volunteer hours at the Auburn distribution center are from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Our Hampden distribution center operates from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fridays.

These times are subject to change, for exact times, please check schedules.

What are the age requirements?

All volunteers must be 14 years or older. We ask that volunteers 14-16 years old be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Volunteers under the age of 18 must bring a waiver signed by a parent/guardian.

I'm not able to volunteer at either of your distribution centers, how else can I volunteer? 

The food bank distributes food to a network of over 500 partner agencies. This includes food pantries, meal sites, senior centers, school programs, and health care centers, which may be closer to you. Please see our food map to find an agency to offer your volunteer time. You may also be interested in volunteering with the Cooking Matters Program.

What should I wear when I volunteer?

Closed-toe shoes are required when volunteering anywhere in the food bank. Volunteers are recommended to wear clothes they do not mind getting dirty and comfortable shoes as they will be standing for an extended period. You may wish to dress in layers as our distribution center temperatures tend to vary.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all volunteers are required to wear a mask.

Should I bring anything with me to volunteer?

All volunteers under the age of 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent/guardian. You may wish to bring a water bottle or snack/lunch as breaks are built into the volunteer shifts. All food and beverages other than water must be kept in our breakroom or in your vehicle.

What should I expect on my first day of volunteering?

As a new volunteer, you will spend your first day at our facility being oriented and trained for your volunteer role. This will include time helping out in one of our volunteer areas. You will be placed in a role depending on the needs of the distribution center.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask a staff member in the area in which you are volunteering.

To learn more about what it is like to volunteer, read our blog post, “What can I expect as a volunteer“.

Is there a place for my personal belongings?

We have lockers in the breakroom that volunteers will be able to use for their personal belongings. Please leave any valuables at home or in your car.

Where are the food banks located and will parking be available?

Our Auburn facility is located at 3121 Hotel Road, Auburn, ME 04211.

Our Hampden facility is located at 11 Penobscot Meadow Drive, Hampden, ME 04444.

Parking is available in front of each distribution center. The parking lots are very busy with trucks entering and leaving, please use caution when navigating around the lot. At the main entrance of each facility, you will see an intercom button. Please use the intercom system to access the building.

Can I complete school community service hours at Good Shepherd Food Bank?

We accept student volunteers over the age of 14. All volunteers will need to apply online, and sign in and out of the on-site volunteer database to record their hours of service. The volunteer manager will sign off on any paperwork that needs to be completed.

Do you accept court-referred volunteers?

Good Shepherd Food Bank welcomes individuals who receive a court order to perform community service, provided it was not a violent crime, sex offense, or involved a minor. Visit our Volunteer Sign Up Page, and click the red “Volunteer Now” button to complete an application.

Please click “yes” to the question: “Do you need to complete volunteer or community service hours for a court-related offense?” Then click on the link below and complete the steps required. You will need to upload a copy of court documentation to be approved.

What if I need to cancel my volunteer appointment?

If you have signed up for a shift and need to cancel or reschedule, please sign in to the Volunteer Sign Up Page to make the changes to your schedule.

Can I schedule a group to volunteer?

Good Shepherd Food Bank welcomes volunteer groups!

We accept groups of a maximum of five volunteers at both distribution centers at this time. Please go to the Volunteer Sign Up Page and respond to an opportunity as a team to schedule your visit with us.

Is there an age limit for groups?

All volunteers must be 14 years or older. We ask that volunteers 14-16 years old be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Volunteers under the age of 18 must bring a waiver signed by a parent/guardian.

What do I need to bring for my group?

The group organizer must bring with them a signed waiver for any volunteers under the age of 18. You may wish to bring a water bottle or snack/lunch.

Can we take photos?

Absolutely! We encourage volunteers to take photos and share their experience as a volunteer with us.

If you post pictures from your volunteer experience on social media, please tag us with the hashtag #helpfeedmaine and #feedingmaine.

What should I ask my group to wear when they volunteer?

Closed-toe shoes are required when volunteering anywhere in the food bank. Volunteers are recommended to wear clothes they do not mind getting dirty and comfortable shoes as they will be standing for an extended amount of time. Please dress for the weather outside as our temperatures inside the distribution centers tend to vary, you may wish to bring a sweatshirt in the winter.