Volunteer Policies and Procedures
Registering to Volunteer
All volunteer shifts must be scheduled in advance through the online calendar. Walk-ins are not accepted.
The minimum age for volunteers is 12, except for Family Nights when the minimum age is 6. Volunteers under age 18 must have a youth volunteer waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. Youth volunteer safety ratio requires one adult volunteer for every seven volunteers under age 18.
Volunteers working for shifts other than Family Nights must be able to use their hands, fingers, and arms with dexterity; be able to physically handle, lift, and move up to 30 pounds; and stand during the entire 2.5- to 3-hour shift. On rare occasions we have volunteer opportunities for people looking for light physical duty: Inquire by emailing us.
Preparing to Volunteer
The dress code for warehouse volunteers is casual and comfortable. All warehouse volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes. Volunteers wearing sandals or flip-flops won’t be allowed to volunteer. Please ensure everyone in your group is aware of this policy. Volunteers should dress in layers, as work areas can range from very warm to very cool. Hooded sweatshirts and gloves are provided for those working in our refrigerated sorting area.
Bags and purses aren’t allowed in the warehouse: Please secure them in our lockers. Bottled water is provided. Refillable plastic water bottles are allowed; glass bottles aren’t. Cell phones are allowed in the warehouse, but only for taking pictures.
Volunteer parking is available anywhere in the Martin Distribution Center parking lot.
Volunteers enter through the main entrance. All volunteers receive a name badge, and are required to sign- in using our kiosk to help us track service hours.
Late Arrivals/ Cancellations
Groups must notify us within 48 hours of a cancellation or significant group size change. Each shift includes a welcome, training, time to work on the project, and a wrap-up that includes a report on how much was accomplished. When volunteers are late or leave early, they’re unable to receive the full volunteer experience. We prefer that all volunteers stay for the entire shift. Those unable to volunteer for the entire shift should sign up to volunteer at another time.
Volunteers who are sick on the day of a scheduled shift should reschedule for another day. Due to food safety concerns, volunteers aren’t allowed to work if they are experiencing symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, sore throat with fever, and/or exposed cuts, boils, sores, or infected wounds.
Volunteer Conduct and Safety
Second Harvest has a strict policy against employee or volunteer harassment. Harassment in any form (verbal, physical, mental, or sexual in nature) is against policy and will result in dismissal. If you experience or observe harassment, notify the volunteer coordinator immediately.
Smoking/chewing tobacco is only permitted in a designated outdoor area behind the building.
Volunteers must wash hands with soap and water after using restrooms, and whenever hands become contaminated.
Per food safety and warehouse safety guidelines, we ask the following from all volunteers:
- Remain in assigned project work area throughout the shift.
- No eating in the warehouse. Water is the only beverage allowed in the warehouse.
- Handle all food donations with care, and don’t throw or toss cans or other food items.
- Don’t run or ride/stand on the pallet jacks or shopping carts.
- Don’t take anything from the warehouse, even food or household items that need to be discarded. If you need food assistance, please tell a Second Harvest staff member.
No firearms or weapons of any kind are permitted on Second Harvest premises.
Hazardous Equipment/ Chemicals
Since most volunteers work in our warehouse around hazardous equipment and chemicals, we want you to have all the necessary information to stay safe while working in our facility. In advance of your shift, you can read the Hazardous Material Volunteer Training document on our website.