Participant Volunteer Guidelines

Volunteering at BCS

  • All volunteer shifts need to be scheduled online. Participants may sign up to volunteer through the link in the weekly participant email. 
  • Each family volunteers a minimum of two hours a month, increasing to four hours a month after three years in the program.
  • Any adult or teen (14 years and up) living in the family household can fulfill the family’s required volunteer shift.
  • Family volunteer requirements cannot be satisfied by helpers outside of the immediate household.
  • A minimum of two hours per volunteer is required every time you volunteer in the warehouse and cannot be split by two family members.
  • Every family is required to complete one closing shift every third shift. Having volunteers in the warehouse when it comes time to clean up the warehouse is vital. We like to make sure volunteers are evenly dispersed throughout the day, so we ask that you rotate warehouse shifts between the morning, afternoon, and closing shifts. This means that in the course of a year you do four morning, four afternoon, and four clean up shifts. You must work your required volunteer shift every month. You cannot “bank” hours for future months.
  • Each family is required to do at least one garden shift every year between March 1 and October 31.
  • In order be fair for everyone, please do not help yourself to items during your volunteer time.
  • If you sign up for a volunteer shift and fail to show up, it will be noted on your account. Multiple no-shows may jeopardize your participation in the program.
  • There are cold helper beverages in the cooler located on the side of ‘George’. Feel free to take a beverage during or after your shift.
  • If you have any physical limitations, be sure to let the volunteer coordinators know as soon as you check in with them.
  • Please wear comfortable clothes, with close-toed shoes that cover your feet entirely. We suggest wearing warm clothes in the winter, as the warehouse can get cold.
  • We do not allow pocket-knives in the warehouse. We will provide safety box cutters as needed.

Getting Started in the Warehouse

  • Check in at the same door you use for shopping (door #2).
  • If this is your first time volunteering, please ask the check-in volunteer to contact the office to let us know.
  • Print your name and start time on the volunteer log sheet.
  • Use a Sharpie to clearly print your name on a laminated name tag.
  • Volunteers will report to Gregg or Jeanelle in the warehouse.
  • The volunteer coordinator will assign you jobs to do during your shift. Remember, all shifts are a minimum of two hours.

Warehouse Volunteer Hours


 8:00am to 8:00pm

(Clean-up shift begins at 5:00pm)


8:00am to 8:00pm

(Clean-up shift begins at 6:00pm)


8:00am to 2:00pm



8:00am to 8:00pm

(Clean-up shift begins at 5:00pm)

After Volunteering

  • Please check out on the volunteer log located at the check-in station.
  • As a ‘thank you’ for your time and service, please help yourself to a ‘volunteer gift’ after you have finished your two-hour shift, logged out, and returned your name tag to the basket. Please ask a staff member if you are unsure where the ‘volunteer gift’ area is located.

For Your Safety

  • Always give equipment the right of way. Never expect that operators see or hear you. Do not run quickly in front of machinery or try to ‘sneak by’. Please step back and make eye contact with the operators.
  • Absolutely no one may operate our power equipment without authorization. Equipment operators must first be trained and authorized by one of our employees. This includes power jacks, forklifts, the floor scrubber, and the baler.
  • Wear a back brace when you are lifting heavy items. We have them in the warehouse, just ask. Gloves are available as well.
  • Please do not take calls, text, or use your phone while volunteering (emergencies only).
  • Wear shoes that cover your entire foot.

Pickup Drivers

  • All pickup routes are scheduled in advance. Watch for our weekly emails for pickup opportunities. Please email our dispatcher at dispatch@bcsi.org to inquire about a route. We will email all the details and instructions regarding your assigned pickup.
  • You must volunteer in the warehouse at least three times before signing up for a pickup route. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the BCS community and gain insight into how we operate.
  • Email dispatch@bcsi.org if you can’t make your designated pickup so we can send a sub. Please avoid same day cancellations.
  • You must unload, weigh, and log all product donations that you deliver back to the warehouse. Ask a staff member for help if it is your first time.
  • Record your volunteer time at the check-in desk, beginning from when you leave your house to when you are done unloading and logging product.

Garden Shifts

Before Coming to the Garden:

  • Every family is required to do at least one garden shift a season, between March 1 and October 31. The only families exempt from this requirement are those that do a regular, weekly pickup route or a regular, monthly children’s overseer shift.
  • All volunteer shifts can be scheduled online through the weekly participant email. (Please let Ashley know if you need any help scheduling a shift).
  • After you sign up, you will receive a confirmation email with directions to the garden.
  • After you sign up, we are counting on your help! If you need to cancel, please do so online. 
  • Infants in carriers and responsible children 10 and older are welcome. 
  • Pets are NOT welcome.

At the Garden: 

  • Park on the lawn to the left upon arrival and walk to the left (north) of the house, down the hill. 
  • Bathrooms are NOT available at the garden, except for emergencies. Please use restrooms BEFORE coming. 
  • Bring mud boots, work gloves, drinking water, sunglasses, hat, and/or sunscreen. We will garden rain or shine! Basic tools are provided, but you may bring your own if you prefer. 
  • Arrive on time. The garden will not stay open late for you to finish your full two hours. 
  • No experience necessary! You will receive instructions and direction from the Garden Manager on site. 
  • Please DO NOT help yourself to the produce without permission. 
After the Garden: 
  • Return harvested produce to BCS warehouse, if applicable. 
  • Follow the weigh-in procedure at warehouse (see Warehouse Staff for help). 
  • Log your time on the volunteer clipboard the next time you are in the BCS warehouse. Please log time for any household family members that served at the gardens.

All questions regarding volunteering at the garden can be directed to our Garden Volunteer Coordinator, Ashley Schreiner, at ashley@bcsi.org


Questions? Contact Us.