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Volunteers and Interns

An excellent way to strengthen educational efforts in the cafeteria is through experiential learning, such as Lunchroom Education events. Volunteers and interns are a huge help in this area because they can assist your staff and provide one-on-one engagement with students, helping to make lasting impressions.

Volunteers and Interns

An excellent way to strengthen educational efforts in the cafeteria is through experiential learning, such as Lunchroom Education events. Volunteers and interns are a huge help in this area because they can assist your staff and provide one-on-one engagement with students, helping to make lasting impressions.

Who Makes a Great Volunteer or Intern?

Parents, Family Members, and Guardians

When caregivers volunteer, not only do they get to spend more time with their kids, but they also serve as informal ambassadors for your school lunch program well beyond their volunteer experience.

College Students

College students studying school- and food-related fields such as education, communication, culinary arts, nutrition, etc. can be valuable volunteers and interns. This is a win-win for both parties, since students gain real-world experience and can often receive school credit for their time.

High School Students

Engaging high school students from the district is a great teaching and marketing tool. Students learn more about the school lunch program while honing important life skills and can sometimes receive volunteer credit for their time.

Employees from Local Businesses

Local businesses often encourage volunteer service among their employees. Reaching out to these groups is a great way to increase your presence in the community as well as launch discussions on partnering opportunities and event sponsorships.

Local Restaurant Chefs and Cooks

Thanks to reality television, chefs have become cultural icons in American culture, which makes them perfect volunteers for your school food program. Showing kids the value of cooking first-hand is instrumental in fostering healthy relationships with food.

How-To Guide

Volunteers and interns can be an invaluable addition to your team. Before hiring these helpful aides, be sure to review your district or school policies on volunteers and interns. Most districts do require a background check for volunteers and interns, so be sure to allow enough time before your first event to make that happen.

How-To Guide

Volunteers and interns can be an invaluable addition to your team. Before hiring these helpful aides, be sure to review your district or school policies on volunteers and interns. Most districts do require a background check for volunteers and interns, so be sure to allow enough time before your first event to make that happen.

Finding Volunteers

1

Create a volunteer guide so that there is organization and standards set for your volunteer program. See our Sample Volunteer Guide.

2

Give people at least two weeks notice when reaching out for event volunteers. Take advantage of our volunteer outreach letter templates: Weekly Volunteer Outreach Letter, Tasting Volunteer Outreach Letter, Chef Demo Volunteer Outreach Letter, Rainbow Day Volunteer Outreach Letter.

NOTE: We recommend sending your volunteer guide along with outreach letters to give a clear understanding of what is expected.

3

Invite college volunteers or other community members if there is not a strong parent/guardian presence available.

4

Prior to the event, be sure to send out essential information including location, address, time to show up, and dress code.

Volunteer Training and Responsibilities

Welcome volunteers and go over the following information:

  • Introduce volunteers to the food service team.
  • Take a walk through the kitchen. Show them necessary safety and sanitary procedures: washing hands, proper kitchen communication, etc.
  • Explain their responsibilities and your expectations for the day.
    • If the day involves a tasting or chef demo, clearly indicate all allergens to volunteers and reiterate the importance of allergy precautions.
    • Assign duties (i.e. salad bar duty, portioning out samples, handing out stickers, etc.). Offer demonstrations when possible

Dismiss and thank volunteers as appropriate for the lunch period or event.

Volunteer Training and Responsibilities

Welcome volunteers and go over the following information:

  • Introduce volunteers to the food service team.
  • Take a walk through the kitchen. Show them necessary safety and sanitary procedures: washing hands, proper kitchen communication, etc.
  • Explain their responsibilities and your expectations for the day.
    • If the day involves a tasting or chef demo, clearly indicate all allergens to volunteers and reiterate the importance of allergy precautions.
    • Assign duties (i.e. salad bar duty, portioning out samples, handing out stickers, etc.). Offer demonstrations when possible

Dismiss and thank volunteers as appropriate for the lunch period or event.

Hiring Interns

1

Interns are helpful at the district level, especially in planning multi-site events. When hiring interns use our Sample Intern Ad to post with food and school-related departments at local colleges and universities as well as through online job listings. Interns who have experience and interest working with children are recommended. Additional paperwork may be required for paid or for-school-credit interns.

2

We suggest starting an intern at the beginning of the year and have them attend staff training since they will be working together on many events and programs.

3

Explain responsibilities and expectations. You may also discuss the volunteer guide, types of events food service will be hosting, the number of events planned for the year, how samples and supplies will be ordered, how you will evaluate the success of your events, volunteer outreach, and direct administration communication.

4

Schedule time to offer feedback and evaluation for the intern.


Documents and Resources

Explore these resources and documents when recruiting volunteers and interns. We recommend tailoring them to meet your program specifications.

Lunchroom Education Activities

Rainbow Days

Rainbow Days are a great way to acclimate students to the salad bar in your cafeteria. It also introduces the concept of eating a plate full of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Farm to School

Planting gardens, visiting farms, and using local ingredients is just the beginning of Farm to School. Kids can learn about the food that they eat each day and the community benefits of eating local.

Art Contests

Connecting your school food program to the classroom increases food literacy among students. Art contests are an especially easy way to work with teachers.

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