Flexibility: High

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: Too many people go to sleep hungry in America every night. Fortunately, there are organizations addressing the problem all over the country and many people willing to give their efforts to serve meals and stock food pantries.

Amava Take: If you’re lucky, nobody in your family has struggled with poverty, hunger or homelessness, but millions have. Though solving the social problem on the macro level is complex and political, making a difference one person at a time is simple. You can serve meals, stock food pantries or find another way to help.

From the Front Lines:

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these jobs?

Anyone with the heart and humility to give of themselves and connect with other people.

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

Talk to everyone you encounter as though they have something to teach you. Odds are, they do.

What’s a typical daily schedule like?

Most organizations that address poverty and hunger need teams of volunteers at different times, so often the schedule will be flexible, but likely according to some kind of shift.

From the Trenches:

What’s the most satisfying part of the job?

Helping to deliver basic nutrition to an individual or family when they really need it is enormously rewarding.

How would you describe the hard parts?

Noting how profound the homelessness problem has become.

What made you decide to do this work?

I wanted to do something fundamental to someone else’s survival.

Special Requirements: Requirements vary, but generally you should be over 18 unless you are accompanied by an adult. Some organizations may offer training or guidance in advance of you interacting with their clients. Here’s some information about food pantry volunteering and here’s some information about soup kitchen volunteering.

Finding a Position: There are so many organizations you can connect with. Many nonprofits list nationwide opportunities to feed the hungry. Many municipalities have organizations in place to feed their local homeless populations, like this one in San Diego, CA. Here’s a food bank in New York City with a developed and accessible volunteer program. If you search “food bank” or “soup kitchen” you’ll find many opportunities on the internet.