Click on any of the questions below to see the answer.

Volunteer-Related FAQs

Managing Volunteer Registrations:

How do I volunteer at Feed My Starving Children? »

To volunteer to pack meals at FMSC, please sign up online.

How do we cancel a reservation? »

If you are registered as a Group...

  1. The Group Leader can visit "Manage My Reservations."
  2. As a Group Leader, you may cancel individual Group Member reservations by clicking "Remove" next to the individual's name.

If you are registered as an Individual, visit "Manage My Reservations."

May we bring more volunteers than the number of spots we reserved? »

Yes, if there are still spots available. Please update the number of spots you need on your online registration.

If you are the Group Leader...

  1. In Volunteer Reservations, go to "Manage My Reservations."
  2. Click "Manage" next to your group.
  3. Click "Change Group Size."
  4. Enter the new number of spots and click "Save."
  5. After updating your group size, add the names and email addresses of your new Group Members or invite others to join your group.

If you are a Group Member...

  1. Contact your Group Leader to secure more spots for your session. Your Group Leader will then go through the steps listed above.
  2. If you are unable to reach your Group Leader, you may create a new group for your session, pending available spots. Register a new group.

May we still come if we don't have all of our volunteers? »

Yes, we count on you to come even if your group size is fewer than the number of spots you reserved. However, please update the number of people who will be coming on your online registration:

If you are the Group Leader...

  1. In Volunteer Reservations, go to "Manage My Reservations."
  2. Click "Manage" next to your group.
  3. Click "Change Group Size."
  4. Enter the new number of spots and click "Save."

If you are a Group Member and you cannot attend your packing session, please cancel your reservation so others may fill your spot...

  1. If you joined the group yourself, you may cancel your spot by visiting "Manage My Reservations."
  2. If someone else registered you for your group, contact your Group Leader.

May we volunteer with any number of people? »

There is no minimum number of volunteers. Each permanent site has the following maximum number of volunteers per session:

  • Aurora, IL: 140 volunteers
  • Chanhassen, MN: 110 volunteers
  • Coon Rapids, MN: 120 volunteers (140 evenings and Saturdays)
  • Eagan, MN: 120 volunteers (140 evenings and Saturdays)
  • Libertyville, IL: 140 volunteers
  • Mesa, AZ: 140 volunteers
  • Schaumburg, IL: 75 volunteers (90 evenings and Saturdays)

FMSC reserves the right to alter volunteer capacity as it sees fit. Our online Volunteer Registration System will always reflect the current availability.

If your group includes youth, the total number of spots you reserve must include adults and children. Please note that you must follow our age requirements:

  • Kindergarten-2 grade: 1 adult per 1 student
  • 3-6 grade: 1 adult per 3 students
  • 7-9 grade: 1 adult per 4 students
  • 10-12 grade: 1 adult per 5 students

Assorted Volunteer Questions:

What is the minimum age for volunteering? »

The minimum age for volunteering is 5 years old. Children under 5 are not allowed in packing areas (sorry, no exceptions).

If your group includes youth, you must follow our Age Requirements:

  • Kindergarten-2 grade: 1 adult per 1 student
  • 3-6 grade: 1 adult per 3 students
  • 7-9 grade: 1 adult per 4 students
  • 10-12 grade: 1 adult per 5 students

How do I get credit for my community service hours? »

We are only able to sign-off on our FMSC Volunteer Service Hours form that can be found at each of our sites. Sign-off should happen each time you volunteer.

We are happy to complete an FMSC Volunteer Service Hours form for your church, school or court ordered community service requirements. Please be sure to register online, check your name off on our computer when you arrive to pack and ask a team leader for a Volunteer Service Hours form each time you pack. We are unable to sign-off on another organization’s verification form

Are donations required? »

Unless clearly marked, donations are not required to pack at our sessions; however, we humbly request them. Each volunteer packs about $50 worth of food and FMSC receives no government aid. We can only send meals as we have funding and we rely on donations from volunteers like you. Nearly everyone is able to contribute something, but we leave the amount up to you. Many groups and individuals make advance fundraising a fun part of their service project. As you're willing and able, you may donate on the day you volunteer (by cash, check or credit card), or donate online before or after you pack. Please share this information with every member of your group and prayerfully consider the impact you can make.

Do I need to arrive early for orientation? »

Please plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior to your packing session to check-in. Your orientation and packing instructions will take place during your scheduled shift time.

Are we supposed to wear any particular clothing? »

All volunteers must wear closed-toed shoes. Otherwise, please come in clean, comfortable clothes.

Can we wear jewelry while packing? »

Do not wear or bring any jewelry. This is due to FDA compliance for food manufacturing plants. Please review our Jewelry Policy and share with fellow volunteers.

Special Volunteer Requests:

May we volunteer at a time other than your listed packing sessions? (i.e., earlier or later than the start time or on a Sunday) »

No. We only hold food-packing sessions during each permanent site's regularly scheduled shift times.

Please note that all volunteers must go through orientation and training at the beginning of each session. Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled start time and plan to stay until the end of your session.

If we have already been through volunteer orientation, do we need to go through it again? »

Yes. We want to offer the full volunteer experience to all volunteers, both returning and new, and we need to ensure that proper packing procedures are followed. Volunteers must attend both the FMSC orientation and the packing orientation each time they visit.

May we bring birthday parties? »

We are honored to serve as the activity for birthday parties of people at any age! Birthday boys or girls will receive a free FMSC t-shirt, and an optional "Happy Birthday" serenade by fellow volunteers. Please note that none of our facilities can accommodate treats or gathering spaces. Please celebrate with goodies off-site.

Accessibility for Volunteers:

Are there sit-down jobs for volunteers? »

Yes! We reserve one of our most important tasks for sit-down volunteers. Volunteers can sit while labeling bags, which is a vital step to the packing process. This task entails putting our FMSC label on each bag before it is filled with food.

Are your sites handicap accessible? »

Yes! Each site is accessible and has a job for everyone!

Can you accommodate special needs groups? »

We ask that special needs/transition groups contact the FMSC site supervisor to schedule your volunteer time. Please do not register your group on the online registration system without contacting the supervisor first.

If I'm allergic to one of the ingredients is there something I can still do? »

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) advises volunteers with food allergies to exercise caution when determining whether or not to participate in food packing. We are able to provide a complete list of ingredients in FMSC's food products, but we cannot guarantee the environments of our ingredients' manufacturing. Volunteers with extreme food allergies or allergies to any of the listed ingredients are advised not to pack.

Other FAQs


What is a Fully Invested session & why do you require a donation for your special Fully Invested shifts? »

"Fully Invested" packing sessions take place on days when our sites are normally closed: Sundays or holidays. These sessions require all volunteers to support us with a donation of $50 per person or $150 per household. The $50 donation will fund 216 meals for children who desperately need our help. These shifts are designed for those who would like to help with their hands and also pay for the food they will be packing. Everyone who signs up for a Fully Invested session must acknowledge that they understand this is a special session that requires a donation. All of our other packing sessions that are not clearly marked as "Fully Invested" do not require a donation.

How much does the food cost? »

Each meal costs us only 22 cents to produce.

How much of my donation goes to the food? »

92% of the total donations goes directly to the food program. 8% goes to fundraising, administration, and overhead combined.

Where do you get your financial support from? »

Most of our support comes from individuals, followed by churches, foundations, and corporations.

Do you buy the ingredients for the meals? »

Yes. We purchase all of the raw ingredients - soy, rice, vegetables, and the vitamin and mineral vegetarian chicken flavoring mix. The ingredients are one of the largest expenses that we have.

Do you have any fundraising ideas or resources? »

Yes we do. Feel free to check out Ten Great Ways to Fundraise.


Do you have to be a Christian to pack? »

No. We welcome people of every faith to participate in our life-giving mission.

Do you require delivery of a Christian message when the food is served? »

No. Our food is given to the neediest children, regardless of their faith or whether a Christian message is delivered. All of God’s children deserve to be fed.


How do you determine who receives the food? »

We receive food aid applications daily. The distribution committee meets and reviews each application, evaluating them in several different categories, including physical condition of the children, percentage of children vs. adults served, other food available, the type of feeding program and the ability to receive and store the food safely. At the end of the discussion, the committee prays for God’s guidance and then rates each application. Food is allocated based on the rating each application receives.

Where do you send your food? »

We have sent food to more than 70 countries in our history including Haiti, Sudan, Jamaica, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Lesotho, Liberia, Ghana, Guatemala, Malawi, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Cameroon, Niger, Colombia, and El Salvador, and to Hurricane Katrina victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and many more. Check out a visualization of where we've sent FMSC food.

Do you feed children here in the United States? »

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) targets feeding programs to children who are in the most severe circumstances, those suffering from severe malnutrition and threatened with death from starvation. The United States does not have that level of hunger on a widespread basis. In the past we have supplied food to an Indian reservation in South Dakota and to those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Do you sell the food? »

No. All of our food is donated to the recipients. We do ask that the partnering (or recipient) organization pay for the shipping charges.


Are you affiliated with any other organizations? »

No, we are not associated with any other feeding businesses. We are not the same company as Kids Against Hunger, Feed the Children, Impact Lives, or any other feeding group. We are a Christian 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are independently audited every year and received an "Exceptional" rating by the Charity Navigator, indicating our organization exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause.

Who are your partners? »

We partner with worldwide Christian and humanitarian relief organizations including Salesian Missions, Reach Now International, Samaritans International, Love A Child, Church of Bible Understanding, OC Ministries, Cross International, and many others. See a full list of our partners from the past two years.