Over 72% of work done at Food for Others is performed by volunteers. That is the equivalent of 13 full time staff members! We could not provide the level of service and quantity of food to our clients without the dedication of our amazing volunteers. Thank you so much!
Groups of people can volunteer on-site in our warehouse or off-site by holding a food drive, assembling weekend food packs (called Power Packs) for elementary school children, or distributing food at one of our neighborhood sites. Specific information on organizing these types of events can be found by clicking through the volunteer tabs or under the Take Action menu on our website.
General Group Volunteer Info:
- Group shifts in our warehouse are Monday-Friday from 10:00am-12:00pm or 3:00pm-5:00pm
- Group size is between 5-20 people
- Volunteers must be at least 12 years old
- Children ages 12-15 must be accompanied by an adult
To schedule a group, please email email@example.com
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The warehouse is the heart of our operation. This is where all of our food donations are stored and where volunteers and staff members sort, package and distribute USDA and emergency food supplies to our clients. The warehouse is high energy, full of activity and a great place to roll up your sleeves and make a difference!
Group Volunteer Qualifications:
- Our warehouse is open for volunteers Monday through Friday
- Groups are scheduled on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3:00 PM – 5:00PM, Monday and Wednesday from 5:00PM – 7:00PM, and Saturday from 10:00AM – 2:00PM
- Groups are between 5 and 15 people (1 – 4 people = see individual opportunities)
- Volunteers must be at least 12 years of age
- Ages 12 – 15 must be accompanied by an adult; over 16 may volunteer unaccompanied
- Everyone MUST wear closed toe shoes. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!
- Sort food donations
- Stock shelves
- Bag produce/frozen foods/non-perishable items
- Unload trucks
- Assemble weekend food packs for elementary school students
- Assist with cleaning the warehouse & other tasks
To schedule a group in the warehouse, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPORTANT NOTE: Parking is extremely limited. Please strongly consider transporting a large group via bus, van, or carpool or parking at an alternate lot:
- Merrifield Plaza – located at Gallows Road & Lee Highway
- Pan Am Shopping Center – located at Nutley Street & Lee Highway
- Dunn Loring Metro – located on Gallows Road
- Mosaic Shopping District – located District Avenue & Lee Highway
Food is our #1 need! Every food donation helps in the fight against hunger – no matter how small or large.
Food for Others accepts donations of food at the Merrifield warehouse Monday through Friday, preferably during the hours of 2:00pm–5:00pm or during normal operating hours, 9:30am–5:00pm.
Our most requested items include:
- Fresh fruits (oranges, apples, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, grapes, berries)
- Fresh vegetables (cucumbers, celery, peppers, lettuce, eggplant)
- Single-serve macaroni & cheese or pasta meals (Chef Boyardee, Hormel, etc.)
- Canned chili
- Canned pasta
- Canned tomato products (crushed, peeled, diced, etc.), 4oz – 1lb
- Canned meat (chicken, beef, turkey, or seafood), 2oz – 15oz
- Rice, 16oz packages
- Spaghetti sauce, 14oz – 1lb (ideally in cans instead of glass)
- Canned fruit (packed in fruit juice instead of syrup) 11oz – 20oz
- Beans, dried or canned (black, kidney, pinto, refried)
- Fruit juice (100% juice) 32oz – 64oz
- We are also happy to accept perishable items such as meats or dairy products that are sealed, still in their original packaging, and unexpired
How to Hold a Successful Food Drive
Local food drives are an easy way to get your business or local community involved and make a difference. Here are some helpful documents to achieve your goal:
For additional information or questions about holding a food drive, please email email@example.com
The Good Samaritan Law
On October 1, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act to encourage the donation of food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations for distribution to needy individuals and limit liability for those who provide food. This new law makes it easier to donate. Here’s how:
- It protects donors from liability when donating to a nonprofit organization.
- It protects donors from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the needy recipient.
- It standardizes donor liability exposure. Donors and their legal counsel no longer have to investigate liability laws in 50 states.
- Congress recognized that the provision of food close to recommended date of sale is, in and of itself, not grounds for finding gross negligence. For example, cereal can be donated if it is marked close-to-code date for retail sale.
Donating is easier now than ever before. For complete text of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, visit the Feeding America website.
Help Food for Others alleviate weekend hunger by supporting our Power Pack Program (P3). The P3 initiative provides supplemental weekend food for elementary school children in Fairfax County. Click here to visit our how to support P3 page.
Volunteers assemble and deliver the packs to over 30 elementary schools where staff will distribute them to students in need. Most of the students served by P3 are in the free-or-reduced-meals program during the week, and are at risk of food insecurity and hunger on weekends.
You can help Food for Others guarantee nutritional weekend food packs for area elementary school students we serve, so they stay healthy and arrive at school ready to learn.
Through a grant from Fairfax County, Food for Others is also working in partnership with Britepaths, which partners with the Parent Teacher Associations, social workers, and staff at participating FCPS schools to help them create packages of non-perishable foods and drinks to send home each weekend with children in their school who have been identified as having need for food assistance. This self-sufficient model run by Britepaths, entitled Food4Thought, was created to serve elementary schools with a smaller number of students in need of weekend food assistance. Britepaths and Food for Others are working together to make their different service models available to schools throughout Fairfax County in order to give as many children in need as possible access to healthy food over the weekend.
What is a Power Pack?
A Power Pack is a large Ziploc bag which contains two items each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two snacks and two drinks.
Groups make a big difference by assembling Power Packs either here on-site in our warehouse or off-site at your own location. This is a great team-building activity for businesses, churches, schools or service groups.
Documents for running a successful P3 event:
- Food Drive P3 Planning Kit– Food drive instructions tailored to P3
- Assembly Event Calculator– Helps calculate food and volunteers needed to assemble desired number of Power Packs
- P3 Pack Assembly PowerPoint – Details what a Power Pack looks like and the best types of food to put it them
- P3 Putting Packs Together – Details how to organize a packing event, assign tasks for each participant, etc.
- What is a Power Pack? – Simple signage to post during the event to remind people what goes into each Power Pack
Food for Others relies on generous individuals and groups to donate food and funds to make this program possible. With the help of donations, Food for Others was able to provide over 70,000 Power Packs to 31 area elementary schools during school year 2018/19.
To schedule a group Power Pack event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please indicate this interest on the registration form
Good for organizations or churches that can regularly pick-up from grocery stores or farmers’ markets allowing members to schedule in advance for pick-up day/s.
- Ages 21 plus
- Must use your own vehicle
- Pick up containers from FFO
- Pick up food from grocery store between 8 am and 11:30 am.
- Pick up food from farmers’ market at noon, must arrive by 11:30 am.
- Return donated food to FFO
- Minimal training required.
Indicate this interest on the registration form
Good for: Church group can run a Neighborhood Site allowing parishioners to sign up for distribution day/s.
Companies, organizations, church groups can Adopt-A-School and distribute Power Packs on a regular basis
- Ages 21 plus
- Must use your own vehicle
- Pick up food at FFO
- Neighborhood Site Distribution – 1 of 16 sites at 6, 6:30, or 7 pm, dependent on site.
- Power Pack Delivery – deliver weekend food packs to a school between 10 am and 2 pm.
- Minimal training required.