Volunteer FAQ


For the most up-to-date information, please reference these COVID-19 FAQ answers. During this time, not all general FAQs below may pertain or have the updated information.

Yes! We are hosting volunteers at both our Maplewood and Brooklyn Park facilities. You can register for volunteer shifts by clicking here.

Second Harvest Heartland has procedures in screening and safety before and during packing sessions to help reduce the risk to both employees and volunteers. We have added guidelines (that match closely with the CDC) and extra precautions (listed below).

  • We have gloves for each volunteer, and we are requiring volunteers to wear masks starting on May 4th. If volunteers do not have a mask, we have a very limited supply of masks available for use, or volunteers can make one! Here is a great resource from the CDC regarding mask guidelines and how to make your own.
  • At both of our locations, volunteer stations are set up are 6 feet apart. We ask that volunteers maintain at least 6 feet of space at all times and stay within their designated space during the shift.
  • Every volunteer is checked by a thermal thermometer before they enter and if they are above 100 degrees Fahrenheit they are not allowed to volunteer.
  • Every volunteer is also asked 3 screening questions before entering. If any of these questions are answered with a “yes” the volunteer will not be allowed to volunteer:
    • Are you over the age of 18? ALL Volunteer must be over the age of 18.
    • Have you had a fever, cough or shortness of breath in the last 7 days or have you been around anyone with symptoms of or a diagnoses of COVID -19 or Influenza A & B within the last 7 days? If so, you are not able to volunteer.
    • Have you been within 6 feet of individuals that do not live in your household for more than 15 minutes? If not, you are able to volunteer. If yes, were these individuals wearing masks? If yes, you are able to volunteer. If not, you cannot volunteer.
  • We have a limited number of volunteer spots per shift and are practicing increased handwashing (before, during and after shifts).

In addition, Second Harvest Heartland has taken steps to keep our spaces virus-free, including enhancements to our already rigorous cleaning routine that include increased surface cleaning and deeper cleaning during evening cleaning shifts. We have decreased our lobby access for visitors to limit the number of people present. Ample supplies of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are available as well.

Starting May 4, volunteers are required to wear a mask to volunteer shifts. If volunteers do not have masks, we have a very limited supply available, or volunteers can make a mask. Here is a great resource from the CDC regarding mask guidelines and how to make your own.

During this time, we do not have volunteer shifts on evenings and weekends. Please stay tuned to our website for updates on future opportunities.

We do not have youth volunteer opportunities currently. All volunteers must be age 18 and up.

Brooklyn Park - 7101 Winnetka Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55428

Maplewood - 1140 Gervais Ave, Maplewood, MN 55109


If you are looking for individual shifts, you do not need to apply. Simply sign up on the online calendar. For longer commitments such as skilled volunteer opportunities, or internships, please apply.

Closed-toe shoes are required at all volunteer locations. We suggest you dress in layers to remain comfortable while working.

At our North location, we have a no jewelry policy. When you are in the packing areas, you will be asked to remove all jewelry. Clothes must be clean prior to handling food. All clothing should be appropriate for handling food and not have loose, dangling beads or other articles which can be a physical contaminant. Shirts should cover the shoulders and armpits (no tank tops) for volunteers directly handling exposed food. This applies to volunteers at our Brooklyn Park location.

We have one location in Brooklyn Park and one in Maplewood. View our locations and hours.

We have moved our West facility from Golden Valley to a new location in Brooklyn Park.

Yes! Parking is available at both Brooklyn Park (in front of the building on the north side) and Maplewood (at the northwest and west sides of the building). Volunteer parking spaces are marked with flags. To ensure sufficient parking, we do recommend that you carpool when possible.

No, we ask that you do not volunteer if you are feeling ill, or have been ill within the last 24 hours. Rather, contact us to reschedule your shift.

Due to food safety regulations, all jewelry needs to be removed during food packaging. In rare instances where jewelry can’t be removed, please contact us for guidance.

Unfortunately, no food or drink (including water) can be brought into the warehouse.

Second Harvest Heartland asks volunteers with food allergies to use their best judgment when determining to participate in food packing. We cannot guarantee an allergy-free environment and strongly advise that volunteers with severe or life-threatening food allergies do not attend food packing events. Since much of the food we pack is donated from various sources, it is possible that the food has been in contact with certain food allergens. We are also unable to notify our volunteers what product we will be packing until the start of the volunteer shift.

We do have privacy rooms available at our Maplewood or Brooklyn Park location. Simply ask a staff member, and they will be happy to direct you to them.

Please note that for off-site events or activities, we cannot guarantee there will be privacy rooms available.

Yes, we are happy to provide stools at our warehouses for volunteers who need to sit or take frequent breaks. Please notify a staff member upon arrival regarding these needs.

a) For overall safety, it is important that we have information about who is in our facility, particularly in emergency situations.
b) We are upholding new protections around food defense (protecting the integrity of our food) which require us to have more conservative security measures.
c) Your mailing address will allow us to keep you apprised of how volunteers like you, and others, are contributing to our work of ending hunger.
d) We have 135,000 records in our volunteer management system. Collecting addresses will allow us to eliminate duplicate records which will make sure we can attribute your volunteer time correctly.
e) Confirmation of address also helps us indicate that you’ve agreed to our volunteer liability waiver.

Please contact us for a confirmation of verified volunteer hours.

Yes, we accept community service volunteers on a case-by-case basis.

Yes! In addition to volunteering with Second Harvest Heartland, we have several ways for you to participate and make a difference.

To learn about volunteering at your local food shelf, please contact the food shelf directly. To find your nearest food shelf, visit Hunger Solutions. For additional volunteer opportunities, Second Harvest Heartland has open shifts and events at our East (Maplewood) and North (Brooklyn Park) locations.

Scheduling and shifts

To ensure that you can reserve your first choice for date and time, we recommend registering for Brooklyn Park shifts one month in advance. For Maplewood shifts, we recommend you register three to four months in advance.

Please contact us as soon as possible if there are any changes from your original registration.

Please notify us at least one week prior to the shift as cancellations can have a significant negative impact on our operations. To cancel a shift, please contact us.

Group Volunteers

Volunteer groups can reserve available meeting spaces at both Brooklyn Park and Maplewood.

The Maplewood location has rooms to fit either 10 or 50 individuals. To reserve a space at Maplewood, please contact us.

Limited meeting space is available while we are under construction at Brooklyn Park. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please contact us to inquire about the Brooklyn Park space.

We prefer that volunteers stay for the duration of the warehouse shifts, but we understand schedules sometimes don’t allow this. Please contact us if a member of your group needs to leave early/arrive late.

Expectations for group leaders can be found under the Group Leader Checklist.

Tips for successful volunteer events can be found under Resources for Groups.

Yes! Remind your volunteers to take advantage of matching-grants or gifts their organization offers.

Youth Volunteers

Yes! Second Harvest Heartland welcomes and encourages youth volunteers. See our Youth Volunteering page.

Due to the fact the majority of our volunteer jobs are completed in a working warehouse, children's safety is crucial. Review our Age Requirements for Youth Volunteers.

All youth are required to present a signed parental waiver upon arrival for their volunteer shift.

Expectations for youth chaperones can be found under the Chaperone Expectations. The Youth Volunteer Page is also a great resource to view.

We have specific adult-to-child ratios that vary by volunteer location and group size. Please view these adult-to-child ratios.

Yes! These materials can be found on our Educational Resources and Tools page.

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