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We cannot do what we do without YOU.
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s warehouse receives and distributes millions of pounds of food every year. Each day, volunteers sort and repack that food and other donated items to prepare them for distribution to our Southern Tier communities. We need 500 volunteers every week to help us keep up with the volume of food we receive so no one goes hungry.
You will be asked to e-sign a Volunteer Agreement and Liability Waiver each year. View the waiver.
Be a part of our network of volunteers working to end hunger in the Southern Tier.
Opportunities – What Can I Do?
Sort & Repack
In our production room at the Food Bank’s warehouse in Elmira, volunteers sort and repack bulk foods and items for redistribution to our neighbors in need and assemble bags for kids in our BackPack Program.
Mobile Food Pantry
Meet our Mobile Food Pantry truck at pre-designated sites to help set up, distribute food and assist in clean up. MFPs happen six days a week throughout our service area.
Hand out lunches and snacks to children in need at parks and community centers located throughout six counties
Food Bank Garden
Adopt a raised garden bed for the season; planting, watering, weeding and harvesting your bounty of fresh vegetables for our Kids’ Farmers Markets.
Kids' Farmers Market
Distribute fresh produce to kids at markets in Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler, Tompkins and Tioga counties.
Rescue produce (like apples and potatoes) at local farms which then gets distributed to our neighbors in need through our Mobile Food Pantries and Kids’ Farmers Markets.
Last year, volunteers contributed over 50,000 hours of their time to the Food Bank.
We couldn’t have done our work without them! Thank you!
Our corporate partners strengthen their work teams by engaging with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. Let us help you build your team while helping to feed families across the region. See brochure.
- BackPack RePack (both at Food Bank and your offsite location)
- Canstructure Building
- Leader of the Pack corporate packing challenge
- Reservation of Food Bank conference room for meals and meetings
- Recognition as Corporate Partner on listing in Volunteer Lounge
- Exclusive invitation to VIVAs (Very Important Volunteer Awards) event
- Schedule a Behind the Beans tour, Food Banking 101 or Hunger 101 poverty simulation
- Mobile Packing Party at your business or organization
Contact Jennifer Harris, Volunteer Coordinator, to customize your experience with us!
Frequently Asked Questions – Volunteering
Q: Where is the Food Bank of the Southern Tier?
A: Our main facility is located at 388 Upper Oakwood Avenue Elmira, NY 14903
Q: How do I sign up to volunteer for a shift?
A: You will need to register as a user on VolunteerHub. Once logged in, scroll down to view upcoming events and click the Sign Up button for events that interest you.
Q: What is the Food Bank's Volunteer Agreement and where do I find it?
A: All volunteers must read the Volunteer Agreement prior to registering for a volunteer shift. By registering for a shift, you agree to the terms and conditions set in the Volunteer Agreement. Volunteers over 18 will sign the agreement in VolunteerHub. View the waiver.
Q: What do I do once I arrive at the main facility?
A: When you arrive at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, a staff member will greet you in the volunteer lounge area. You will be signing in on an iPad, the paper sign up has been replaced. The production staff will give you a quick orientation with instructions for the project of the day.
Q: Can I arrive late to a volunteer shift?
A: We’re sorry, no. Please arrive on time to be a part of the orientation process for each shift for the health and safety of all volunteers, staff and clients.
Q: Can I just show up at the facility to volunteer?
A: No. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate walk-ins. All volunteer events are listed under the Events tab and should be signed up for in advance.
Q: Who can volunteer?
A: Anyone 6 years old and over can volunteer. Youth under 16 must be accompanied by an adult in order to volunteer.
Q: Are there any restrictions to volunteers?
A: We are unable to honor court mandated community service.
Due to the nature of volunteer work, some individuals with restrictions may not be able to volunteer (i.e. unable to physically move small objects or follow instruction). Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator to set up a one-on-one consultation to discuss if volunteering with the Food Bank is a good fit.
Q: What should I wear for my volunteer shift?
A: CLOTHING – Clothes may get dirty when working in the warehouse. Please dress in layers according to the weather. Loose jewelry is not recommended. The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is not responsible for lost or damaged items.
CLOSED-TOE SHOES – Wear sensible, closed-toe shoes (no sandals) when working in the warehouse. Sneakers or boots are recommended. No one wearing open-toe shoes will be permitted in the warehouse.
Q: How do I sign up another individual to volunteer?
A: You must first log out of your account. Each additional person must be registered through VolunteerHub individually.
Q: How do I sign up a group to volunteer?
A: Please email Jennifer Harris, Volunteer Coordinator.
Q: When are the volunteer shifts??
A: Volunteer Shifts are as follows:
Monday – Friday 9am – 12pm & 1pm – 3pm
NOTE: Memorial Day – Labor Day, Volunteer opportunities change
Q: What is the BackPack Program?
A: Many youth in our service area rely on school lunches during the school week, which are not available to them on the weekends. The BackPack Program provides easy to make, nutritious and kid-friendly food items that are distributed to youth for the weekend. The program is active during the school year, through Memorial Day and resumes after Labor Day in the fall.
Q: What is the Mobile Food Pantry?
A: The Mobile Food Pantry delivers nutritious foods and fresh produce to rural areas and senior centers.
For more information:
Contact Jennifer Harris, Volunteer Coordinator