COVID-19 FAQs

We are taking many additional steps to keep our facility, food, volunteers, and staff as safe as possible during this potential threat.

VOLUNTEERING

The safety of our staff and volunteers is very important to us. We’ve always had strict guidelines to keep our warehouse clean and safe, and we’re implementing additional best practices continually as we get new information from the World Health Organization and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Yes! Second Harvest falls under the “essential activities” category, so we are exempted. It is 100% legal for you to travel to and from a Second Harvest warehouse for the purpose of volunteering. 

Our volunteer engagement team is regularly sanitizing volunteer work areas and equipment: Not just the big obvious areas like worktables, but everything including tape guns, markers, pallet jack handles, shopping cart handles – even the hall passes volunteers use to access the restrooms. 

Volunteers are required to wash their hands when entering the facility. All visitors and volunteers are required to wear a mask at all times. Please bring a mask if you have one. We have masks available for any volunteers who don’t have one. Volunteers may also choose to wear provided nitrile gloves (non-latex).

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of illness, have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or have recently traveled to an area impacted by COVID-19, we ask that you don’t volunteer at this time. Please review our health checklist before arriving for your shift. If you are healthy, and answer NO on all questions, please note that when you arrive at Second Harvest, we’ll have this form ready for you to sign before your shift starts. If you answer YES to any of these questions, please join us as a volunteer when you are symptom-free for 14 days.

By entering a Second Harvest facility, you indicate that you are fever-free and NOT experiencing any of the following symptoms:

    • Subjective fever (feeling feverish/chills)
    • New or worsening cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle pain
    • New loss of smell or taste
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, diarrhea)

Yes. We’re building emergency food boxes for community members recovering from the tornado and those dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. And we are continuing our usual volunteer work to provide senior food boxes and meals for our children’s programs, including BackPacks.

Please visit our main volunteer page to sign up for a volunteer shift. 

In a typical crisis, we’d be relying heavily on our volunteer groups from companies, churches, and community organizations. However, to keep everyone safe, right now we must limit the number of people at our warehouses to ensure everyone can keep 6 feet of space around them. Right now, that means 10 volunteers per volunteer sorting room (instead of the usual 50). So unfortunately, we can’t accommodate large group volunteer requests at the moment.

However, we may have volunteer opportunities soon that are outdoors – then we would be able to accommodate more volunteers at one time. Please keep an eye out for those opportunities, they may come up on short notice.

  • Senior Food Box Distribution (this program is ongoing, but restricted to staff)
  • Produce Truck (suspended indefinitely, per CDC recommendations)
  • Reception Volunteer Support
  • Kroger Reclaim (this program is ongoing, but restricted to staff)

There are many logistics involved in building emergency food boxes including: the original request of a particular food box, what food should be included, what we have in our inventory, and what we must order from our vendors.

Once the product arrives in our warehouse, our material handlers have to pull the product (anywhere from 10-30 pallets), the volunteer coordinators have to set up the project, and then that’s when we can engage YOU, the volunteers, to help execute the build and prepare the boxes for our community.

We wish we could have all of you kindhearted, willing volunteers here at one time. But it’s not safe, and it would actually create logistical issues.

We’re opening as many volunteer shifts as we can do safely. Please note that project needs can change quickly depending on the ever-changing needs in our community. Please visit our website and social media channels frequently to stay informed of the latest volunteer opportunities.

Free volunteer parking is available in all Second Harvest parking lots.

If you’re volunteering at the Martin Distribution Center in Nashville, it’s located north of downtown in the Metro Center area (intersection of I-65 and Rosa Parks Boulevard). The address is 331 Great Circle Road, Nashville, TN 37228.

If you’re volunteering at the Nacarato Distribution Center in Smyrna, the address is 1958 Almaville Road, Smyrna, TN, 37167.

If you’re volunteering at the Ray Smith Family Distribution Center in Camden, the address is 69 Benton Industrial Road, Camden, TN, 38320.

If you’re volunteering for an off-site event, we’ll send you an address when you sign up to volunteer.

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

Volunteer Contact Form

  • I have a question about volunteering at…

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