How to become a virtual food bank volunteer

Terri on her porch in Florida
January 29, 2021
by Ash Slupski

While many food banks and food pantries still welcome volunteers with extra safety measures, some of us may prefer to help from the comfort of our home. Becoming a virtual volunteer is a great way to give your time and talent where food banks need it most. All you’ll need is an internet connection, a virtual volunteer orientation, and your passion.

Because every food bank and food pantry has different needs during the pandemic, we encourage you to contact your local food bank and ask how you can be the most helpful during this challenging time.

Here are some of the virtual volunteer opportunities that may be available with your local food bank or that you can suggest to your food bank’s volunteer contact:

1. *Most Encouraged*: Start a virtual food drive or online fundraiser

While this may not be the most traditional volunteer opportunity, food banks tell us that they need help raising funds to keep their response to the pandemic strong. Consider, “volunteering” to start a virtual food drive for Feeding America or your local food bank. Once you sign up, your food bank or our Team Feed staff can provide you with advice for hosting the best online fundraiser.

2. Get on social

You can help spread the word about food assistance in your area or ways your family and friends can give back to your local food bank. Some food banks provide social media volunteers with pre-written messages and graphics each month. Others may simply ask you to engage with and share their posts.

3. Fight for the programs that help end hunger

Our neighbors need more support than what food banks provide on their own. Digital advocates help to protect hunger and poverty programs that make a real difference in the United States.

4. Offer your in-demand skills

Food banks and food pantries need volunteers with specific skills to help with projects like data entry, graphic design, grant writing, or web design. This is also a great option for companies looking to give back. Check with your food bank’s volunteer contact to see how you can offer your skills.

5. Make reusable masks

Protective equipment is essential to keeping food bank staff and visitors safe at food distributions during the pandemic. Ask your local food bank or food pantry if they are accepting homemade mask donations and if there is a specific pattern they prefer.

6. Support people seeking food assistance

Your local food bank or food pantry may have opportunities for you to assist your neighbors looking for help for the first time like answering calls to an assistance hotline, helping people complete benefits applications, or conducting wellness checks over the phone.

Virtual volunteering is a great way to support your local food bank or food pantry. Every food bank is unique so don’t be discouraged if they recommend a different way to help. Sometimes simply making a cash donation or sending a note of appreciation will be the most impactful.
 

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