Volunteering

Filling Bellies and Hearts.

We love our volunteers and couldn’t do this without them. Want to join in?

Many friendships built, 968,520 meals packed, 161,420 backpacks made, countless lives changed.

Cultivate’s success is driven by our volunteers. Every day of the week, volunteers make our mission tangible.

In 2023, over 8,000 volunteers prepared and packaged 362,000 meals. Whether showing off their culinary skills in the kitchen, processing food into frozen meals on our volunteer assembly line, packing meals into backpacks, driving our rescue van to pick up food, helping at our fundraising events and yes, even washing dishes, our volunteers do it all!

VOLUNTEERING

A Typical Volunteer Shift?

Choose Your Activity:

Packing Meals

The most common type of volunteering at Cultivate is packing meals. Companies use it as a team building initiative, church groups use it as a service project, sports teams use it to build chemistry, and groups of friends come in together for a fun and impactful afternoon. 

In a typical two-hour shift, groups will pack between 500-1,500 meals (although the record is 5,749 in three hours!) We use an assembly line method that allows for maximum efficiency and creates a collaborative team environment.

Some of these meals go to food banks and homeless shelters while others are packed into backpacks for some of the most vulnerable kids at our local elementary schools.

Two smiling volunteers slicing squash in the commercial food rescue kitchen

Making Meals

We’ve got regular volunteers that come in and process the food we rescue and turn the raw ingredients into meals. This team makes sure there is food to pack into meals and ensures any perishable ingredients that are donated to Cultivate get used.

While this type of volunteer shift is available (and we’re always looking for extra hands!), we’re looking for people who can come in weekly to fill specific shifts.

Rescue Drivers

This is another specialty group of volunteers. While you don’t need a CDL to operate one of the Cultivate Rescue Trucks, you do need some serious experience. These volunteers are the logistics glue that keep our organization feeding our hungry neighbors. If you want to apply to fill this role, please complete the information in this form.

Operations staff and volunteers also rescue food at all Notre Dame home football games!

Dishwashers

Perhaps the largest unsung heroes at Cultivate–our dishwasher volunteers. What do you say about the wonderful, humble, warm-hearted people that come in and do the dirty work with bright smiles on their faces? Our operation could not continue the way it does without these volunteers. We are looking for more people with the same passion for doing good work that makes an impact, and sometimes prefer staying out of the spotlight to join this team. Sound like you? Get started here.

Thank you to our wonderful dishwasher team. Many dishes are created in the process of delivering thousands of backpack meals each month!

Special Event Volunteers

When you host numerous events, including a golf outing and 700-attendee fundraiser each year, it takes additional volunteers.

Coordinating and executing events like this is no small task and this special group of people pulls out all the stops to make sure our guests have a great experience. We could not raise the money we do without them.

  Looking to donate food? This page is for you!

Hear from our Volunteers:

From the first day [of volunteering], I have been impressed with the Cultivate team and the network they have created and the amount of food that has been rescued that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill. Volunteering at Cultivate has been a rewarding experience. It has also been an eye-opening experience to see and better understand the growing need of meal options for children and families in our local communities. Cultivate Food Rescue is an outstanding non-profit that is making a difference. Fun place to volunteer and you always leave with a smile on your face.

Laurie Mehrbrodt

Volunteer

The wonderful people who work at Cultivate are always smiling and so happy to see you. But most inspiring has been meeting the other volunteers who walk through the door and are willing to give up a few hours of their week to help people they will never even meet.

People of all ages from all around town who see that need too and want to do their small part to bring hope to their neighbors. It makes me so proud and grateful to live in our amazing community.

Carrie Walsh

Lead Volunteer

Volunteer with Cultivate today!

MAKE A DIFFERENCE RIGHT HERE IN YOUR COMMUNITY:

Our Impact

Pounds of Food Rescued

Hours Volunteered

Meals Distributed