The holiday season is the perfect time to give back, to donate your time to your neighbors in need, and to volunteer with a community organization. It is also a time when there are TONS of volunteer opportunities to choose from. It can be overwhelming and hard to know where exactly to direct your attention.
To help with decision overload, we’ve pulled together our top 3, high-need volunteer opportunities for you, your family, your friends, your co-workers or insert your favorite group of people here!
- Food Sorter for Mobile Operations
The holiday season brings in tens of thousands of pounds of food (no joke). Higher than any other time of year due to an increase in holiday food drives and events. What a wonderful problem to have, right?! However, all the donated food needs to be sorted and date checked to ensure it’s ready to go for distribution. Extra food means more time (and need) for food sorters.
The Food Sorter role reports to their designated Open Door location and sorts through food that’s been brought in by food drives, rescued from grocery store partners (see below!) or ordered by The Open Door. This role is Monday-Friday mornings from 8:45-10:45 a.m. and can be done individually or in groups of 3-4!
- Food Rescue Driver
The Open Door has 9 local grocery store partners. The Food Rescue Driver plays a crucial role in securing healthy, perishable food for our clients by picking up food donations from these grocery store partners. The “rescued” food can no longer be sold at the grocery store for various reasons BUT is still safe for consumption. These partnerships save thousands of pounds of food from the landfill each day! The Food Rescue Driver volunteer role reports to The Open Door first, to pick up a van, then drives to a designated grocery store, picks up the food and brings it back to The Open Door. This role is available Monday-Friday mornings with most time slots occurring from 7-9 a.m. There are some time slots from 9-10 a.m. and 11 a.m.-Noon. Volunteers for this role must have a valid driver’s license and be able to lift up to 40 lbs. This role is typically done individually but can be done in pairs if desired!
- Off Site Distribution for Mobile Operations
There are upwards of 7 Mobile Pantry distributions every week throughout Dakota County during the winter months. The Mobile Pantry goes to senior living facilities, elementary schools and other community organizations to bring fresh, healthy food to the communities who need it most. This eliminates barriers that can make it difficult for those in need to get to our Eagan Pantry (transportation, time, mobility, etc.).
Off Site Distribution volunteers help with a variety of tasks. They assist with setting up tables for the distribution, unloading boxes from The Open Door truck, helping people select food during the distribution, bagging food and bringing food out to vehicles. Every distribution is a little different and can require different tasks, but these volunteer roles get you out into the community. These roles are available Monday-Friday with varying times and locations, but typically occur between 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and run for 2-3 hours.
No matter what volunteer option you choose, donating your time to help others in need is a perfect way to give back this holiday season. To sign up for a volunteer shift, or for further information, head to theopendoorpantry.org/get-involved/volunteer. You can also reach out to our Volunteer Services Manager, Veronica Lind, at firstname.lastname@example.org.