One of the most common misconceptions about volunteering at a food bank is that there is only one way to do it: sorting and serving food. In reality, there are a variety of ways to give back to your community, including by sharing specialized skills you use every day.
Food banks are robust organizations that can offer opportunities for people to share their talents and gain experience in a volunteer capacity by applying their formal training and self taught skills to support the food bank’s mission. This Hunger Action Month, Feed Ontario is sharing 11 ways you can impact your community and build on skills you already have:
- Social Media: Are you social media savvy? Many small food banks would relish support coordinating marketing and communications across their digital platforms. Help raise food and funds, promote services, and share food bank updates.
- Administration and General Office: Do you love keeping things organized and greeting people? Use your administration background to help manage day-to-day office duties like answering phones, greeting visitors, and light file keeping.
- Warehouse Management: Do you have your forklift license? Or maybe you’re an expert in inventory management? Many food banks require assistance monitoring warehouse operation and materials in order to help with food distribution.
- Information Technology: What organization doesn’t need IT these days!? Use your IT knowledge to help build or deploy software or simply provide general technological support, troubleshooting, and solving various IT-related issues.
- Design: Are you a whizz with a paint brush and pencil or a Photoshop pro? You can use your expert design skills to help create compelling content for food bank programs, events, and social media.
- Human Resources: It takes a lot of people, paid and un-paid, to run a food bank. Help your local food bank manage administrative and payroll duties, staff development, or volunteer management.
- Bookkeeping: Do you enjoy numbers and balancing the books? Assist your local food bank with the recording of financial transactions, depositing monetary donations, and preparing invoices.
- Chef: Whether you’re a cook by trade or your friends are still raving about your 5-star dinner parties, you can support a local meal program. Use your culinary skills to craft delicious and nutritious meals for various food program offerings at your local food bank.
- Legal: Are you looking for a way to put all those years of Law School to good use? Help provide pro-bono legal advice to food bank visitors or the food bank at large. From reading over contracts to answering questions, there’s plenty of ways to support.
- Drivers: Whether you have a regular license or a truck license, getting behind the wheel can be a huge help! You can lend some time to your local food bank by assisting with food drop offs to visitors or light food transport duties.
- Sales: Yes, you read that right. Sales might sometimes get a bad rep, but your frontline or B2B sales skills can make a huge difference. Use your sales experience to help solicit donations along the fundraising cycle and help ensure your local food bank has the support it needs to run its vital programs.
Although we’ve listed 11, there are hundreds of other ways to lend your expertise to support the direct operations of your local food bank and impact the community greatly. Share your twelfth skills-based volunteering opportunity with us on Twitter and use our Find a Food Bank tool to find a food bank near you and see how you can put your skills to good use!