Volunteer Job Descriptions

Food Bank Pick-ups and Unload

Every other week, usually 2 times a month we pick up between 3000 and 5000 lbs of food from the Regional Food Bank.  

PICK-UPS: At parking lot D of Dutchess Community College. Google directions HERE

. Volunteers meet the driver at our truck and load the order for that week into our rented U-Haul truck.  The orders are packed by the food bank onto pallets which are laid out in the parking lot.  Volunteers (3-5 people) meet our driver at a specified time to load the truck.  The time of pick up varies but usually is scheduled at 9:15AM every other Monday.  The dates of the food bank pick ups are noted on our St. Thomas Calendar HERE.  

UNLOAD: At St. Thomas the volunteers meet and unload the food from U-Haul into the Harvest House.  There are about 4 volunteers there to get the job done.  Usually, volunteers meet at St. Thomas at 10:30 to unload.

Most of the boxes weigh between 10-30 lbs.  It depends on what is in them.  Sometimes there are bags or boxes of vegetables which can weigh up to 50 lbs.  The food is packaged in bulk.  Flats of cans, jars, and boxes.  It is a physically demanding job.

DOVER PACKER: THURSDAYS 9:30AM-12PM(ish), the volunteer arrives at the Harvest House to pack the bags that will be taken down to Dover at 2PM Thursday afternoon.  Denis Freeman, our food pantry administrator designs the menus and sets up what needs to be packed in the bags on the tables in the Harvest House. The volunteer arrives anytime after 9:30AM  stamps the bag with our logo and puts one of each of the items laid out on the table into the bags.  The packed bags are then placed under the table.  This is a more time flexible position.  As long as you are finished by 2PM.  You can come anytime before that.   This is a physically easy job.

When you sign up for this position we will walk you through how to get into the Harvest House.  Usually, AJ unlocks the door and turns off the alarm.  If he is not there we will give you directions and a code to turn off the alarm.

EARLY PACKER: FRIDAYS  9:45-10:45AM. You are responsible for packing all the bags for Friday deliveries and the first 20 or so bags for the day.  Usually, 40 or so bags. Denis Freemansets up what you are to pack and will guide you with any special instructions for that position.  Denis is always there on Fridays and is your resource for questions.  This is a physically easy job.

VEGETABLE PACKER: FRIDAYS 11-12,  this team of 2 packs all the vegetable bags for that day’s pantry.  Usually, they pack 50-60 bags with the vegetables that are on the menu for that day.  Denis Freemansets up what you are to pack and will guide you with any special instructions for that position.  Denis is always there on Fridays and is your resource for questions.  This is a physically easy job for the most part but moving the packed vegetable boxes outside can be physically challenging.  However, Denis can and usually helps with getting the boxes where they need to go. 

DELIVERY PACKER: FRIDAYS 12:30-2:00PM, This volunteer packs all the deliveries.  Usually 20-25 families get their food delivered every week.  We save empty boxes to pack the complete order in one box so it is easier for the delivery drivers to keep all of the items for one family together.  The packer adds all of the pieces to each box: the bag of non-perishables, veggies, meat, cheese or yogurt, bread, dog/cat food and any other item that is on the menu.  There are a lot of details to be mindful of in this job.  For example, some families get diapers of a certain size, some have dietary restrictions, family sizes differ, etc.  This is a good job for someone who can juggle a lot of details to get the orders correct – making sure all the elements are added to the box.  Once the box is packed we label the box with the guest’s name to aid the delivery driver.

DELIVERY DRIVER: FRIDAYS 1:45-until complete. (Usually an hour or so).  The volunteer arrives at the Harvest House and loads their car with the deliveries on their route.  The routes are organized geographically- Millerton, Armenia and Sharon, Wassaic and Dover, etc.  Meaning that most of your deliveries are located near-ish to each other.  You will be given a spreadsheet with names, addresses, Telephone numbers and any special instructions to find the recipient’s homes.  Usually there are 5 or 6 families that get deliveries on each route.  Some addresses however are right next to each other.   This position also interacts with the pantry guests, it can be a social occasion for many that are socially isolated.  Having good conversational skills is helpful for this job.  Also a good sense of direction and knowledge of the area is a big help.

DISTRIBUTION: FRIDAYS 1:45-5PM, 

1) INSIDE: This volunteer works inside the Harvest House.  They gather the bags and the protein for each order and pass to the distro team outside.  Also, if we have not packed enough bags they are responsible for packing any more bags necessary for distribution.

2) OUTSIDE: This team of 2 works outside putting the entire order together for each guest.  You get the detail sticker from the Intake person and then assemble the choices of each guest –  putting together the entire order.  You are the final step – accumulating everything for each order that has been prepared.  Denis always prepares the menu and posts on the door for reference.  Usually it takes completing the orders of a couple families to get the rhythm. You put together the order for each guest and leave it on the table on the porch. Then, guests get out of their car and pick up the groceries. This job is not physically challenging, other than standing and walking for a few hours.  We do have chairs to sit on between guests. This position also interacts with the pantry guests, it can be a social occasion for many that are very socially isolated.  Having good conversational skills is helpful for this job. 

INTAKE: 1:45-5PM This volunteer is front line.  They utilize the most current ‘INTAKE’ spreadsheet to tally who is coming to the food pantry every week.  We have a master list which includes the guest’s family size and any dietary restrictions or any special requests there are (dog and cat food, etc.).  After checking guests in on the spreadsheet the volunteer fills out a sticker with what protein the guests want and any other choices that are available that week, pass that on to the distribution team who then packs the bag (see above).This job is not physically challenging, other than standing and walking for a few hours.  We do have chairs to sit on between guests. This position also interacts with the pantry guests, it can be a social occasion for many that are very socially isolated.  Having good conversational skills is helpful for this job.

CALLING/POLLING TEAM: This is a new position which takes place at your home, on the phone.  Sometimes, we need to poll our guests when there is a need to gather information, see if they are ok, checking-in if we haven’t seen them in a while and getting them connected to other services-non food related, that have become available in our area.  Also if we need to do food recalls or COVID tracing.  We provide a list of guests and their telephone numbers and will train everyone on what we are asking.  This is a new position that we are developing.  We have had a few rounds of calls this past calendar year but would love to establish a call team that we could always reach out to when we need to call everyone.  For this position the volunteer would need a phone and good conversational skills on the phone.