Volunteer for the Food Bank & Emergency Assistance Program

Check our online calendar to find out when the next volunteer application deadlines are.

Helping the Hungry

How many volunteers does it take to provide weekly supplemental food to Johnson County families in need? The answer is about 250 if it comes from The Crisis Center’s Food Bank. Volunteers are critical to the program's operation and serve in a variety of roles that are listed below.

Who Can Volunteer?

If you are passionate about assisting people in need, then becoming a Food Bank volunteer may be for you! The Food Bank relies on volunteers from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of ages. If you are under the age of 16, you can volunteer with a parent or guardian. Volunteers must complete four hours of training and commit to a weekly three-hour shift for a minimum of six months.

Volunteer Benefits

Your volunteer work is an opportunity to make a difference by helping provide food to our neighbors in need. There are countless other benefits of volunteering including:

  • Join a positive, supportive community of volunteers
  • Speak Spanish and other foreign languages
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Learn to communicate and work effectively with diverse individuals
  • Gain work experience and office skills
  • Learn how a non-profit functions

Volunteer Positions

Become a Volunteer

To become a Food Bank volunteer, you must first complete a Volunteer Application, which includes a national criminal background check (traffic violations or non-violent convictions will not disqualify you from volunteering). The 3-page application can be faxed to (319) 351-4671 or mailed to:

     The Crisis Center of Johnson County
     ATTN: Volunteer Services
     1121 Gilbert Court
     Iowa City IA 52245-4528

Please consider enclosing a $8.50 donation to cover The Crisis Center's cost for completing the background check. After the application is received, you will be contacted to schedule an interview. After the interview, you will attend a Food Bank Orientation. This training opportunity is offered several times a year. 

If you have any questions about the Food Bank program or becoming a volunteer, please email stefanie.bell@jccrisiscenter.org or call Stefanie Bell at (319) 351-2726 ext. 120. 

Internship/Practicum Opportunities

The Crisis Center can also facilitate unpaid internships and practicum experiences in the Food Bank under the direction of a licensed social worker. To inquire about an internship or practicum, contact Sarah Benson Witry via email at sarah.witry@jccrisiscenter.org or by phone at (319) 351-0128.

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Volunteer Positions

Morning Preparation Specialist

Are you available weekday mornings and like working behind the scenes? Food Bank Morning Preparation Specialists are needed from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm Monday through Friday. These volunteers sort, process and receive donations, repackage bulk items and get everything ready for the Food Bank to open.

Client Choice Operator (Bilingual Opportunity)

Client Choice Operators can serve in several different capacities to help clients. You may call clients back for their turn, assist clients in the limited choice area, stock shelves, and help at checkout. 

Client Choice Operators need good people skills and be available Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 12:00 - 4:30 pm, Tuesday 12:00 - 7:00 pm or Thursday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm for a three-hour shift.

Warehouse Specialist

If you are comfortable working on your feet and on concrete flooring, the Food Bank warehouse might be the place for you. Volunteers are needed in the warehouse weekdays between 9:00 am - 5:00 pm for a three-hour shift to organize pallets of food, sort donations, and flatten, crush and bail cardboard.

A Warehouse Specialist must be able to safely lift 40 pounds. Additional training is provided to operate warehouse machinery.

Evening Preparation Specialist

Are you available in the evenings and like working behind the scenes? Food Bank Evening Preparation Specialists are needed from 5:00 - 8:00 pm Monday through Friday. These volunteers stock shelves, sort and process donations, repackage bulk items and do data entry.

Resource Room Specialist (Bilingual Opportunity)

If you are interested in being one of the first people to greet Food Bank clients, have basic computer skills, and are available Monday, Wednesday, Friday between 12:00 - 4:30 pm, Tuesdays 12:00 - 7:00 pm or Thursday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm for a three-hour shift, consider volunteering as a Resource Room Specialist.

In addition to greeting clients, you will process request forms (requires computer data entry), help answer phones, respond to client questions, and more. The front desk can be a hectic location, so patience and a pleasant demeanor are a plus.

Resource Room Specialists must first volunteer as a Client Selection Specialist and then complete additional training. 

Client Interviewer (Bilingual Opportunity)

Client Interviewers work one-on-one with Food Bank clients visiting the Food Bank for the first time or when seeking additional assistance. Interviewers must be good listeners, have basic computer skills, and be available Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 12:00 – 4:30 pm, Tuesdays 12:00 - 7:00 pm or Thursday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm for a three-hour shift.

A Client Interview must be at least 18 years old and complete resource room training.