Frequently Asked Questions

 

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: 120 volunteers (140 evenings and weekends starting March 2015)
    Chanhassen, MN: 110 volunteers
    Coon Rapids, MN: 120 volunteers (140 evenings and weekends starting March 2015)
    Eagan, MN: 90-140 volunteers (140 evenings and weekends starting March 2015)
    Libertyville, IL: 140 volunteers
    Schaumburg, IL: 75 volunteers (day shifts), 90 volunteers (night shifts)
    Mesa, AZ: 100 volunteers
    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 student to 1 adult
    3-6 grade: 3 students to 1 adult
    7-9 grade: 4 students to 1 adult
    10-12 grade: 5 students to 1 adult

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

  • Yes, if there are still spots available.
  • 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.
  • If you are the Group Leader, please release any spots you will not be using within 5 days of your session or as far in advance as possible.
    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 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.

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."

Are we supposed to wear any particular clothing?

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

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

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 but spirited “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.

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.
  • If your group includes youth, you must follow our Age Requirements:
    Kindergarten-2 grade: 1 student to 1 adult
    3-6 grade: 3 students to 1 adult
    7-9 grade: 4 students to 1 adult
    10-12 grade: 5 students to 1 adult

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.

How many meals is each volunteer requested to pack in a 2 hour shift?

  • There is no requirement on the quantity of meals each volunteer should pack. On average, each volunteer packs one box of food, which costs FMSC about $50. There are 216 rice meals/box.

May we purchase merchandise before our packing session begins?

  • The FMSC MarketPlace is open at all of our permanent sites during packing hours. The ideal time for MarketPlace purchases is before or after volunteer shifts. Each MarketPlace purchase supports artisans around the world and our FMSC food program.

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.

Are your sites handicap accessible?

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

Do you have interpreters at your sites?

  • No. If volunteers need interpreters, they are welcome to bring their own.

Are there tasks for volunteers who are blind?

  • Yes! Volunteers who are blind are welcome to label 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 there other ways we can help?

  • We are always in need of donations. Each volunteer packs about one box of food, which costs FMSC about $50. FMSC does not receive meal ingredients for free. We count on the generosity of our volunteers and donors to help us feed His children. Make a financial donation today.
  • To make an in-kind donation to one of our packing sites, see our  Wish List under the "For Volunteers/Support Us" menu of our website.

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.

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 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 online before or after you pack. Please share this information with every member of your group and prayerfully consider the impact you can make.

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 they understand this is 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.