Our store provides emergency food assistance to people without qualifications. We use a “customer choice model” that allows people to make their own food choices within the limits we set in the store based on household size. We provide one full shop per month including non-perishable items such as canned goods and dry goods, as well as perishable items such as produce, dairy, deli. In addition, we provide one secondary, perishables-only shop per month.
Program Volunteer opportunities:
ROOTS is a monthly grocery delivery (or pick up) program for income-qualifying people aged 60 or older. On the second Thursday of each month, staple food items are delivered to the doorsteps of seniors who may have transportation or mobility challenges. Volunteers help on the assembly line and to deliver groceries to hundreds of homebound seniors.
Kids Table is a summer & after-school program that provides healthy lunches and snacks to children in Missoula County. Volunteers help with snack and meal prep and deliver food to participating organizations. Summertime volunteers help distribute lunches at participating meal sites.
Food Circle is a program where we accept prepared, perishable food from local, commercial food establishments. Using sanitized containers, excess prepared food is collected at donor establishments by a driver trained in safe food handling. Volunteers help to create, pack and label these meals for distribution in our food bank store.
Kids EmPower Pack is a weekend nutrition program helping students to stay healthy & nourished when school is not in session. Volunteers help build Kids EmPower Packs and deliver them to local schools. Contact Volunteer Assistant Ashlee Schleicher if you are interested in participating in our next build.
EmPower Place at Missoula Food Bank & Community Center is a fun space that welcomes all children to learn, grow, and play. Each day in EmPower Place there are activities and fun programming to enjoy. Volunteers learn and play with children and help distribute Kids Table meals. All children are encouraged to explore and enjoy free snacks and play.
In-Store Volunteer Positions:
Screeners are the first people to greet whomever enters our store during distribution hours, including customers, donors, groups, and other visitors. Screeners enter information into our database, receive donations, and answer questions. Screeners are good multitaskers who pay attention to detail, have good computer skills, and are friendly to all who enter our building.
Interviewers sit down with each customer each time they come to our store to shop. Interviewers help new customers become acquainted with our store and store policies, give tours, and answer questions. Interviewers also help refer customers to other community resources, sign up for SNAP, and communicate upcoming events. Interviewers are empathetic listeners and clear communicators.
Boxers work in a team of four during our distribution hours to help pack bags or boxes of groceries once customers finish shopping and help clients to their car when needed. Boxers kindly and compassionately set limits on the food we have in our distribution while maintaining the culture of dignity we work so hard to create in our organization. Boxers can lift up to 25 pounds and have excellent customer service skills including communication and friendliness.
Sorters help us take the best care of the food we receive in donations by sorting out categories of canned food into vegetables, fruits, soups, etc. and sorting perishable donations like produce, so that we can present it as a beautiful display of fresh fruits and vegetables in our store. Sorters are organized and able to follow safe food handling guidelines.
Can you help us fill our shelves with canned goods, dry goods, produce, milk, eggs, sandwiches, bread, bagels, and meat? Our store is empty in the mornings, and we need it to be fully stocked by 10 a.m.! A team of volunteers helps stock our non-perishable and perishable aisles from 8-10 a.m. every weekday. We serve 70-150 households per day, and having full shelves ensures the best shopping experience for everyone who comes to our store. Stockers are detail-oriented and organized, and can work well in a team.
Food Circle volunteers use their creativity to put together meals from our food rescue program. We “rescue” food from local restaurants and caterers who donate the food they over-prepared and did not serve, and our volunteers use food safe handling to package meals into microwavable, oven-safe entrees. The meals are then frozen and distributed in our store. We rescue thousands of pounds of food annually, and volunteers help us make sure it doesn’t go to waste! Food circle assistants follow safe food handling guidelines, and can work well with one other person.
Box Pick Up and Delivery
We are looking for volunteers with their own vehicles to help pick up boxes and deliver them to our store for use at our boxing station. Volunteers are needed 1-4 times per week. Boxes can be picked up after 9 a.m. and delivered to our store during our hours of operation.
Rovers help us to do whatever it is that needs to be done in our store. Rovers are generally needed during distribution hours (between 10 am-7 pm), although times can be flexible. Rovers can lift up to 50 lbs. and are able to work on their feet for up to three hours. Rovers are fast learners, flexible, and willing to work both independently and as part of a team. Rovers are task-oriented and self-guided.
So much food passes through our doors and that is why it is so important for us to keep our food containers clean and safe. Dishwashers do us a huge daily service by scrubbing and sanitizing the bus bins we use to sort and display the food in our distribution. Dishwashers are consistent and organized.