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A group of food pantry volunteers packing apples

Become A Food Pantry Volunteer Today. Change Lives Tomorrow.

Become a food bank volunteer and join us in ending hunger and food insecurity.

Make An Impact In Your Community

Sign Up Now FAQs about volunteering

Support our neighbors in Chicago and Cook County.

The hunger crisis can’t be defeated alone. With your help, we can provide the nourishment our neighbors need to improve their quality of life. Bring a family member, a group of friends or coworkers, or come alone and support your community by becoming a food bank volunteer.

Food Bank Volunteer Programs To Get Involved In

We provide our volunteers with a variety of Chicago volunteer opportunities to get involved and end food insecurity.

Contact us if you are interested in volunteering with a school, a youth group, or a group of 30 or more.

View our calendar for more food bank volunteer opportunities

Join us Tuesday through Saturday to repack bulk products into family-sized portions, sort and categorize donated food items, glean fresh produce items and bread.

Support local health centers with client intake, restocking produce and more.

Deliver fresh produce to our network of pantry and program partners.

Get the family involved and participate in repack sessions designed for families or groups with children ages 5-11.

Participate in events that include food rescue at industry trade shows, seasonal corn and squash harvests and holiday food drive collections.

Fill out the required application to verify eligibility prior to volunteering to fulfill court-ordered community service.

Corporate and Group Volunteer Opportunities In Support Of Local Food Pantries

Bring your organization together to make a difference in the world. Our corporate and group volunteer opportunities are designed for groups of up to 29 to:

  • Repackage fresh produce and bulk food for distribution
  • Sort and label products
  • Assemble boxes of assorted food

Contact us if you are interested in hosting a group of 30 or more to volunteer in our food bank.

View Our Food Bank Volunteer Calendar


Youth Food Bank Volunteer Opportunities

You’re never too young to become an advocate for change. Children ages 5 to 11 are welcome to become a food bank volunteer and support our neighbors in Chicago and Cook County.

For Children Ages 5 to 11

Our Kids Day is hosted on one Saturday monthly for families and groups with little ones who want to get involved.

For Children 11 and Older

Food bank volunteers over the age of 11, including youth groups, can join our repack sessions at our warehouse. Contact us if you are interested in volunteering with a school or a youth group. We ask for one adult chaperone for every 6 to 8 youth.


David Flores
David Flores

“There’s so much to do as a volunteer. I feel like I’m still learning every day, and I want to continue to help where I’m needed.”

When David Flores, 57, retired from the Chicago Fire Department after 20+ years of service, he knew he was ready for a new mission. Nowadays, you will find David at the Food Depository every Tuesday and Thursday morning, where he engages in various roles, from packing boxes and preparing food for delivery at our repacks to harvesting crops.

Read David’s story

David Flores

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Repack and Other FAQs

Can’t find an answer to your question? We’re here to help.

Reach out to us

In our repack sessions, we focus on putting large quantities of bulk food into packages that individuals and families can use. Projects include repacking bulk products such as pasta or rice to individual/family portions, assembling boxes with assorted food, checking expiration dates, labeling products and gleaning produce.

We recommend if you are coming with family, friends or a social group (29 people or less) that you sign up as a Team. Teams are best when you know the names and e-mail addresses of all individuals attending in your team. We recommend the Team option if you plan on returning with the same team in the future.

For all other groups (29 people or less), we recommend that you register your group and add “guests”. This option allows you to register multiple people at one time and then share the link with your guests so that each person can complete their profile and registration.

  • The “add guest” option is helpful if you are reserving space for your volunteer group but might not know all members attending.

If you’d like to inquire about bringing a group of 30 or more, please contact us.

Chicago volunteer opportunities are available Tuesday through Saturday. Morning and afternoon sessions are held throughout the week. Availability varies based on the number of people in your volunteer group. Be sure to book ahead to get a spot for your group. Please refer to our volunteer calendar to find opportunities at the food bank in the community. All available sessions will be posted up to two months in advance.

Youth volunteers between the ages of 11-15 are welcome to volunteer at the Food Depository during regular sessions. For every 6 to 8 youth in attendance, one adult (over the age of 18) must accompany them. Food bank volunteers over the age of 16 can volunteer independently.

Each month, we host a Kids Day Repack. During school breaks, we also host Family Day Repacks. These Kids Day and Family Day Repacks are our Repack sessions designed for kids ages 5 to 10. We require a 1:2 adult to child ratio. Please refer to our food bank volunteer calendar for dates and availability.

All partner distribution volunteers must be ages eleven and older. Any volunteers between the ages of 11-15 must have an adult volunteer with them.

All volunteer drivers and driver helpers must be at least 21 years old.

Our special events accommodate a range of different age groups, depending on the event. Please refer to the volunteer opportunity on our calendar for information about age requirements.

We can accommodate different group sizes based on the day and group volunteer opportunity.

If you’d like to inquire about bringing a group of 30 or more, please send us a message.

Volunteers must wear:

  • Pants that cover your ankles (no shorts)
  • Shirts that cover your shoulders (no tank tops)
  • Enclosed shoes (no sandals/clogs)

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 (including piercings, but rings are acceptable).

All food bank volunteers must register in advance for a session. We are unable to accommodate walk-in volunteers.

Our sessions often fill up quickly, so we recommend that you schedule your sessions as early as possible. Our online calendar updates in real time when volunteers register. If a session is full, please join the waitlist and you will be notified if a spot opens up.

Our volunteer calendar is typically available two months in advance. Special events, like our Kids Day registration and other special opportunities, are available on the first business day of the month prior to the event date.

We recommend that you donate food to our partner food pantries. Find your nearest food pantry on our find food map.

You do not need to bring anything to volunteer.

No firearms or weapons are permitted on the Food Depository property.

A limited number of lockers are available for small bags, but larger items are not encouraged.

No firearms or weapons are permitted on the Food Depository property.

Volunteers will receive a brief orientation with information about the Food Depository, the work we do and descriptions of the session’s projects at the start of the session.

Training for our special events typically take place at the start of the event. Please plan on arriving and checking in at least 15 minutes prior to the start time so orientation can begin punctually.

All volunteer drivers will need to attend a training prior to volunteering. The trainings are located at 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, IL 60632.

Repack volunteers are not required to do heavy lifting, but should be prepared to stand for up to two and a half hours at a time with some light lifting and bending, depending on the project. A limited number of seated positions are also available.

Some volunteer positions, including produce delivery and loading vehicles, do require heavy lifting.

Our volunteers work mostly with produce and bulk dry goods such as beans and pasta. However, volunteers occasionally work with allergens like wheat and nuts. If you have an allergy, please let our staff know and they will work to minimize exposure to allergens.

The Food Depository is closed on Sunday. Please contact a partner food pantry in your area for possible Sunday opportunities.

Visit our contact page for driving and public transportation directions.

For repack sessions at our warehouse, free parking for volunteers is available on a first come, first serve basis. There are over 300 parking spots available for all volunteers, visitors and Food Depository staff. You can access the parking lot via the entrance on Ann Lurie. All groups on buses should still be dropped off at our parking lot entrance on Karlov Avenue.

For special events, please refer to the reminder email sent 1-2 days prior to the event for parking information.

Anyone volunteering to fulfill court-ordered community service must be approved by our Volunteer Engagement team prior to scheduling. Please fill out an application online. You will see the court ordered application listed as a community service opportunity on our volunteer calendar. Once you have answered all questions and completed “sign-up”, your application has been submitted. You will be notified in two to four business days of your approval 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.

Read Stories About Our Volunteers

See how volunteers help us work to end hunger every day.


Ways to Help

More Ways To Get Involved

Help comes in many forms. Choose the way best-suited to you — everything helps.

Donate and make a critical impact in the work we do through a one-time gift, monthly donation, tribute gift, stock gift or more.

Lift your voice to support our advocacy efforts that address the root causes of hunger.

Start a fundraiser with friends, family or coworkers and make an immediate difference in our community.

Discover more about food insecurity and its impact on our community through research on hunger-related issues.

Attend an event, buy Food Depository merch or learn how to support us when you shop and dine.

It Takes A Community

With your help we can end hunger and improve the lives of our neighbors in need.