Volunteers and Interns 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:

    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

  1. 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 
  2. 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. Here are some points to keep in mind 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 following:
    • Volunteer guide
    • Types of events food service will be hosting (i.e. Junior Chef, Tastings, and Rainbow Days)
    • Amount of events planned for the year
    • How samples and supplies will be ordered
    • How you will evaluate the success of your events (i.e. surveys, gauge participation increase, or social media engagement)
    • Volunteer outreach
    • Direct administration communication
  4. Schedule time to offer feedback and evaluation for intern.


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