Neighbors Empowering Neighbors:

Volunteer Opportunities at Northern Illinois Food Bank

We simply could not do what we do without the help of volunteers! Whether you can volunteer once a week, once a month or once a year; individually or with a group of friends, family or colleagues, whatever your commitment, every hour of assistance helps us ensure all our neighbors will have access to food in order to thrive.

Thanks to our volunteers, Northern Illinois Food Bank serves more than half a million neighbors each year across 13 counties. Last year, volunteers donated 130,000 hours of their time to help distribute 78 million meals to families, seniors, and kids facing hunger in our community. What you do matters!


Click on an image below to learn more about our volunteer opportunities.


Click here for other ways to volunteer not listed below.

Sorting & Packing

Food Sorting & Packing Volunteers

Inspect, sort, and package food that will be distributed to our hungry neighbors.

Groups of 15+ must call to register.
Ages 8+ are welcome.


Grocery Distribution

Grocery Distribution Volunteers

Serve our neighbors directly at the Winnebago Community Market, My Pantry Express, and Mobile Pantries.

Ages 12+ are welcome.

Skills-Based Opportunities

Put your unique professional and general life skills to use and help us solve hunger! We have a variety of projects available.

Signature Events

Assist in planning fundraising events, soliciting sponsorship or auction items, and providing day-of logistic support.


Court Compelled Community Service

A program for those who must serve mandated court-compelled service hours as ordered by a judge.

All applicants must be 16+ years old.

Food Bank Volunteer FAQs

Is there a dress code?

Yes, we recommend dressing comfortably and in layers depending on the season of year. Additionally, volunteers working in our warehouse must WEAR CLOSED-TOE SHOES on the day of your shift. Individuals wearing open-toed shoes such as sandals, flip flops, soccer slides, Crocs, Keens, slippers etc. will not be allowed to work in the warehouse under any circumstances. Also, high heeled shoes are not appropriate in a warehouse setting. Long shorts or pants and t-shirts or sweatshirts are recommended.

Can I bring a group?

Yes, groups are welcome (and encouraged) to volunteer with us. Our volunteer projects can accommodate groups of various sizes and are perfect team-building opportunities. Groups of 20 or more volunteers are asked to contact the Food Bank directly at 630.443.6910 or volunteer@northernilfoodbank.org to register. To ensure we are able to accommodate your group size, we recommend groups contact our volunteer team at least one month in advance of their proposed group outing.

Can children volunteer at Northern Illinois Food Bank?

Yes! We welcome children ages 8 and older.

Do adults need to accompany children/youth?

Anyone under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older. Children ages 8 and older may volunteer with families or in groups with adult chaperones. Chaperone ratios are 1:4 for ages 8-13 and 1:10 for ages 14-17.

Can I arrive late for my shift?

Volunteers must arrive on time in order to participate in pre-shift safety and orientation. We cannot accept volunteers later than 30 minutes. If you anticipate being late, please let us know and we will be happy to reschedule you.

Are volunteers required to stay for the entire shift?

Yes. Our projects are designed for specific time periods so we ask that volunteers commit to the entire shift. For that reason, it is also important you arrive on time. If you are going to be later than 30 minutes or something comes up and need to leave early, our Volunteer Coordinators would be happy to assist you in rescheduling your volunteer shift

Are there any physical requirements?

The majority of our volunteer opportunities are sorting, inspecting and repacking food for our hungry neighbors. These tasks require some level of physical activity– from simply standing on concrete to actual lifting. If you require special accommodations please contact us at 630.443.6910 before registering.

If you have more questions, please read our Full Volunteer FAQ Here.


Don’t see what you’re looking for?

Contact the volunteer team with your questions about volunteering with Northern Illinois Food Bank.