Frequently Asked Questions

To feed at-risk children, families, and seniors, volunteers typically assist with sorting food donations from grocery stores, food drives, and local farms. 

By sorting food for different programs and distribution sites, you help provide millions of meals each month to our hungry neighbors in Middle and West Tennessee. Projects vary and may include: 

  • Evaluating, sorting, and packing non-perishable food donations. 
  • Evaluating, sorting, and packing frozen or perishable food in our 40-degree cooler. 
  • Bagging bulk produce into family-sized portions. 
  • Packing food bags for children or food boxes for senior citizens. 

See the volunteer calendar for a full list of what’s currently available.

All volunteer shifts must be scheduled in advance in our online volunteer calendar. Walk-ins may not be accepted. 

Individuals and families can see open shifts and sign up to volunteer directly on the calendar. 

Groups of 5 or more must be scheduled by a designated group leader who is 18 or older. Once the shift is scheduled, the group leader receives a confirmation email with assignment details and registration information that needs to be shared with the group members. Please click here to fill out a group form request.  

MARTIN DISTRIBUTION CENTER – NASHVILLE

Food sorting opportunities (ages 12+) 

  • Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 –11:30 AM and 1:30 – 4:00 PM 
  • Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30 – 8:00 PM 
  • Saturday, 9:00 AM – 12 PM and 1:30 –4:00 PM 

Family Night opportunities (ages 6+) 

  • Thursday, 5:30 – 8:00 PM 

Market Attendant (ages 18+) 

  • Monday through Friday, 8 AM – 12 PM and 1 – 4 PM 

NACARATO DISTRIBUTION CENTER – SMYRNA

Food sorting opportunities (ages 12+) 

  • Last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of each month, 9 – 11:30 AM 
  • Last Tuesday and Wednesday of each month, 1:30 – 4 PM 

RAY SMITH FAMILY DISTRIBUTION CENTER – CAMDEN

Food sorting opportunities (ages 12+) 

  • Tuesday – Thursday, 9 – 11:30 AM, 2:30 – 5 PM, or 5:30 – 8 PM (by appointment only) 
  • 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday of each month, 9 – 11:30 AM 
  • 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month, 9 – 11:30 AM 

Second Harvest does not offer group volunteer opportunities on Sundays or Mondays. See the volunteer calendar for a full list of what is currently available. 

Cell phones are allowed in the warehouse but may only be used for taking pictures. Volunteers can bring a refillable plastic water bottle (glass isn’t allowed in the warehouse). 

Bags and purses are not allowed in the warehouse. Lockers and a coat rack are provided for storing any items you don’t want to keep in your car. Keep personal and valuable items to a minimum (i.e., electronics, jewelry, money, etc.), as Second Harvest is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. 

The dress code for warehouse volunteers is casual and comfortable. All warehouse volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes. For their safety, volunteers wearing sandals or flip-flops will not be allowed to volunteer. Please ensure that everyone in your group is aware of this policy.  

If you are scheduled to volunteer in our cooler, you should bring a sweatshirt and wear long pants. If needed, we have jackets and gloves available on site.  

If you’re volunteering individually, you can cancel a shift by simply logging into your volunteer account and selecting “cancel registration” on the assigned shift. 

If you’re volunteering with a group, we ask that you notify us within 48 hours of a cancellation or significant group size change by contacting us at volunteer@secondharvestmidtn.org. 

Yes. Each shift includes a brief orientation, training, hands-on volunteering, and a wrap-up that includes a report on how much was accomplished. When volunteers are late or leave early, they’re unable to enjoy the full volunteer experience. If you are unable to stay for the entire shift, we invite you to sign up to volunteer at another time 

Each volunteer shift will begin with a brief orientation and training on your assigned task before you start working. 

Training may be required for specialized administrative or volunteer leader roles. 

Volunteers will use the main entrance at each location. A staff person will greet you and assist you with the check-in process. 

The minimum age for volunteers is 12 years old, however, the minimum age is lowered to 6 years old for Family Night shifts. Volunteers under age 18 must have a Youth Volunteer Waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. All volunteers younger than 16 must volunteer with an adult. 

We ask that 1 adult volunteer be present for every 7 volunteers under age 18. 

Our projects take place in an industrial warehouse with dangerous operating equipment and safety is a major concern, particularly for young children. 

Yes. Court Appointed Community Service shifts are available during weekday business hours. Shift times vary by location. There are no weekend or evening shifts available. 

MARTIN DISTRIBUTION CENTER – NASHVILLE 
Monday through Friday, 8 AM – 12 PM and 1 – 4 PM 
Court Ordered Community Service Policies – Nashville

NACARATO DISTRIBUTION CENTER – SMYRNA 
Tuesday through Thursday, 8 AM – 12 PM
Court Ordered Community Service Policies – Smyrna

RAY SMITH FAMILY DISTRIBUTION CENTER – CAMDEN 
Monday-Friday (8 am-12 pm and 8 am-1 pm) 
Court Ordered Community Service Policies – Camden

Court Appointed Community Service hours won’t be credited to volunteers working at any other time or for any other volunteer opportunity. 

Second Harvest is concerned with the safety of all volunteers, employees, and guests. Volunteers work in a warehouse environment around hazardous equipment and chemicals. We want our volunteers to have a fun and rewarding experience while also abiding by our safety standards. 

Read our hazardous material volunteer training here.  

Food sorting volunteer groups range in size from 5 to 25 people spread amongst multiple project rooms at all three locations.  

All group scheduling availability depends on Second Harvest’s project and business needs at any given time. Please click here to fill out a group request form.

Yes. Each member of your group over the age of 18 must register on our website before their volunteer shift.  

When you place a group reservation, you will receive an email with a unique link. As group leader it’s your responsibility to distribute this link to your group so that they can pre-register. This allows us to have a record of each volunteer and record individual liability waivers. 

All volunteers under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign a hard copy of the Youth Volunteer Waiver. This form can be turned in the day of the volunteer project. 

Free parking is available at all Second Harvest locations!  

Martin Distribution Center (Nashville) – 331 Great Circle Road, Nashville, TN 37228 

Nacarato Distribution Center (Smyrna) – 1958 Almaville Road, Smyrna, TN, 37167 

Ray Smith Family Distribution Center (Camden) – 69 Benton Industrial Road, Camden, TN, 38320 

We’re happy to help! Please use the form below or call (615) 627-1581.

Volunteer Contact Form

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