Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about volunteering that wasn't answered below? Email us at volunteerservices@cityharvest.org.

Getting Started

1. I want to help City Harvest! How do I get started?
2. What are the age requirements for volunteering with City Harvest?
3. I volunteered with my organization and am interested in other volunteer projects. Do I need to attend an orientation?
4. I work Monday - Friday 9-5. Do you have any opportunities that work with my schedule?

Being Prepared to Volunteer

5. How do I travel to the site?
6. Is timing flexible?
7. What should I wear and bring with me?
8. Is lifting involved at food rescues, repacks or Mobile Markets?
9. The forecast predicts rain; will the volunteer event be cancelled?

Nutrition Education

10. Do I have to have a culinary or nutrition background to volunteer?
11. Are there other one time nutrition education projects available?
12. Do volunteers have to prepare anything in advance?
13. How long are the nutrition education courses and when do they meet?
14. Where are nutrition education volunteer projects located?
15. I have never taught in a classroom setting before. Can I observe a nutrition education class before signing up to volunteer?

1. I want to help City Harvest! How do I get started?
All new individual volunteers must complete a Volunteer Orientation. If you are interested in the Nutrition Education Program, sign up to attend a Nutrition Education Orientation. Volunteers do not need to attend both orientations to participate in all projects – attending either will allow you to volunteer at our general volunteer opportunities (i.e. food rescues, Mobile Markets, office projects, and more). Additional training after the Orientation is required for Nutrition Education volunteer opportunities. Once you have attended an orientation, you will receive an email inviting you to complete your profile. It will also provide you instructions for navigating our Opportunity Calendars and registering for projects.

2. What are the age requirements for volunteering with City Harvest?
Teens 15 years of age and older are welcome to volunteer with us in our office on 32nd street and at our Greenmarket rescues. Teens 18 years of age and older are eligible to participate in any of our volunteer opportunities. Regardless of age, all new volunteers must complete a Volunteer Orientation. For minors, a parent or guardian will need to sign the Release and Waiver portion of the application. Children under 15 can support City Harvest’s work by coordinating a food drive or participating in Truck or Treat. To learn about other youth volunteer opportunities we recommend our partner newyorkcares.org.

3. I volunteered with my organization and am interested in other volunteer projects. Do I need to attend an orientation?
Having already participated with your group, you are eligible to sign up for any of our general volunteer projects such as Greenmarket rescues, Mobile Markets, and repacks. Upon signing up for your group activity you should receive an email linking you to an online orientation.  We encourage you to participate in our general volunteer webinar before signing up for more projects so that you will become well versed in our history, programs, and the opportunities available to you. Additional training is required for nutrition education activities.

4. I work Monday- Friday 9-5. Do you have any opportunities that work with my schedule?
Yes, we have a number of activities you can participate in! Mobile Markets, Greenmarket rescues and cooking demonstrations are examples of projects that take place on Saturdays. Schedules vary depending on the season. Click here to see what is available on Saturdays.

5. How do I travel to the site?
Sites vary, but all activities are accessible via the MTA.  Use hopstop.com or Google maps to plan your trip the night before, and check the MTA website for any service changes or delays the day of the event.  We encourage you to plan your travel in advance, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.

6. Is timing flexible?
Most activities last 2-3 hours, and we ask that you arrive on time and stay until the activity is over.

7. What should I wear and bring with me to a volunteer event?
Since volunteers will be working with food at most projects, you should wear comfortable closed-toe athletic shoes (no flip flops, ballet flats or sandals), dress for the weather, tie long hair back, and avoid loose jewelry. For those office-based projects, business casual is acceptable. Since storage is minimal at all our volunteer sites we ask volunteers to bring few personal items with them.

8. Is lifting involved at Food Rescues, Repacks or Mobile Markets?
We suggest that all volunteers feel comfortable lifting at least 15 pounds for repacks and Mobile Markets and at least 30 pounds for food rescues.

9. The forecast predicts rain; will the volunteer event be cancelled?
Grab your umbrella—all of our volunteer events happen rain, snow or shine! In the rare event that a project is cancelled to do inclement weather, all volunteers will be notified by City Harvest staff or your volunteer leader.

10. Do I have to have a culinary or nutrition background to volunteer with the nutrition education department?
Volunteers of all backgrounds are welcome to help provide nutrition education to fellow New Yorkers.  Volunteers can serve as class managers and assistants, lending a helping hand to our volunteer chefs and nutritionists at cooking demonstrations and nutrition courses. In addition, the nutrition education department offers a variety of skill-building trainings to prepare you!

11. Are there other one time nutrition education projects available?
Yes, one-time nutrition education projects include healthy cooking demonstrations, budget shopping tours and occasional special events.

12. Do volunteers have to prepare anything in advance of their nutrition education volunteer project?
We make it easy! For every volunteer project, you will be part of a team including a City Harvest staff manager and 1-2 other volunteers.  Planning each nutrition education project is a team effort and usually takes place via email.  The staff manager will email a detailed agenda, lesson plan, talking points, and a recipe for the team to review. It's important for volunteers to communicate with the team regarding recipes, project logistics and questions.  Having a plan and arriving on time to each event will allow you to prepare and set up your space properly.

13. How long are the nutrition education courses and when do they meet?
Each nutrition education course meets for two hours, once a week, for six or eight weeks.  Courses are scheduled Monday through Friday, on the same day and at the same time each week.  We ask that volunteers and participants attend all weeks.

14. Where are nutrition education volunteer projects located?
All of our programming is conducted at community based organizations located in our Healthy Neighborhoods, which are located in the South Bronx; Bed Stuy, Brooklyn; Washington Heights/Inwood; Northwest Queens; and the North Shore of Staten Island.

15. I have never taught in a classroom setting before. Can I observe a nutrition education class before signing up to volunteer?
Yes, we encourage new volunteers to shadow a nutrition education course to get a feel for how a class runs. City Harvest also offers skill-building trainings and webinars for volunteers throughout the year that focus on each of the different nutrition education activities.