Volunteers help make the Greater Chicago Food Depository one of the most efficient charities around. Thanks to the help of dedicated volunteers—who provided more than 98,000 hours of volunteer time last year—the Food Depository is able to feed the hungry in our community more efficiently.
We provide food for nearly 678,000 hungry people each year with the support of our volunteers!
What do you mean by 'repack'?
Repack sessions are the most common volunteer opportunity at the Food Depository. These are held in three hour time slots. Projects include repacking bulk products such as pasta or rice to individual/family portions, assembling boxes with assorted food, checking expiration dates, labeling products, gleaning products, etc. While projects are determined based on warehouse needs, all repack sessions are spent in the warehouse.
When do you have volunteer repack sessions?
Opportunities are available Tuesday through Saturday. Morning, afternoon and evening sessions are held throughout the week on certain days. Availability varies based on number of people in your group. Be sure to book ahead to get a spot for your group. Please refer to our volunteer calendar to check for available dates. All available sessions will be posted up to four months in advance.
How many people can I bring?
The Volunteer Services department schedules volunteers based on the needs in the warehouse as well as number of people needed to complete the projects. The number of people in your group will affect the days and times available for you to volunteer. Typically, the Food Depository can accommodate groups up to 50 people. Please know that the number of people in the group will be important to know when scheduling a date to volunteer.
What should I wear?
Volunteers must wear long pants and close-toed shoes. You will not be permitted to work in the warehouse if you are wearing sandals or shorts/ short skirt. Depending on the project you are assigned to, you may be asked to remove jewelry above the waist (including piercings, but rings are acceptable).
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
Volunteers need to be 14 years old to volunteer at the Food Depository during regular sessions. Ages 16 and older can volunteer self supervised. Ages 14 and 15 need to have one adult supervisor per ten youths.
The Food Depository hosts Kids Days once a month on a Saturday afternoon. Kids ages 5 to 13 may volunteer with an adult during Kids Days only. Please call for details and availability.
Do I have to schedule in advance or can I just show up to volunteer?
All volunteering must be scheduled in advance. The schedule is available four months at a time.
Do we need to bring anything to our volunteer session?
In addition to a positive attitude(!), we ask that each volunteer bring at least one nonperishable food item. Priority items include: cereal (cold and hot), canned vegetables, soup, stew, tuna, canned fruit, rice, beans, pasta, pasta sauce, shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, jelly, macaroni and cheese.
Is there a place to lock up my personal belongings?
While the Food Depository encourages volunteers not to bring any personal belongings with them, there are a limited number of lockers available.
Do we have to attend a training session prior to volunteering?
Volunteers for repack sessions will receive a brief orientation introducing new volunteers to the Food Depository and detailed description and instructions of the project prior to your session. Some volunteer positions do require training.
Will we be required to lift heavy objects?
Repack volunteers are not required to do heavy lifting, but should be prepared to stand for 90 minutes at a time with some light lifting and bending, depending on the project. Some volunteer positions including produce delivery and loading vehicles do require heavy lifting.
Are there volunteer opportunities on Sunday?
The Food Depository is closed on Sunday. Please contact a member agency for possible Sunday opportunities.
How do I get there?
Visit the Food Depository's contacts page for driving and public transportation directions.
Is there parking available?
Yes, there is non-metered, non-permit street parking surrounding the building.
How do I sign up to complete court-ordered community service?
Anyone volunteering to complete court-ordered community service must be approved by our Human Resources department prior to scheduling. Please fill out an application (PDF) and return it to the Volunteer Services department along with any court-issued paperwork stating the nature of the offense. These documents may be mailed, faxed, returned electronically, or in person during normal business hours (contact information is below). Once all paperwork has been submitted, you will be notified in one to two weeks of your application status. If your application is approved, you will be free to schedule your service. Please do not schedule any service until you have been contacted.
4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, IL 60632
Fax: 773-247-4232 (Attention to Volunteer Services)