Our volunteer centers are open in Des Moines and Ottumwa. We need you now more than ever! Learn more about how you can support our vision of a hunger-free Iowa.

Volunteer In Person

We welcome individual and group volunteers. If you’d like to volunteer as a group, please fill out our group volunteer form. You can count your hours toward school or work service, like Silver Cord, but not court-ordered community service.

Food Sorting

You’ll label, count and box donated food so we can distribute it. Here are some examples of what you’ll do:

  • Pack BackPack sacks
  • Sort food drive donations
  • Check dates and food safety of food drive items
  • Bag bulk produce
  • Repackage bulk rice, pasta or crackers into family-sized bags
  • Box up like items into equally weighted boxes
  • Sort bread
  • Pack family boxes


  • Minimum age: 10 years
  • Volunteers ages 10 – 15 years must be accompanied by an adult/guardian who is also registered for the shift.
  • Able to stand, move, bend and twist for the duration of your shift.
  • Able to read printed dates on packages and weight on scales.
  • Lift a minimum of 10 pounds. Some positions may require lifting up to 40 pounds

Skills-Based Volunteering

You’ll put your talents and experience to work for us. Opportunities are diverse and can be tailored to match your skills. Some common needs include:

  • Data entry
  • Drivers for large vans
  • Administrative assistance
  • Special events support

Please complete a skills-based volunteer form so we can match you with the right opportunity.

Volunteer from Home

You can help from home or virtually anywhere by creating inspiration cards for our BackPack Program™.

Then, deliver these items to our distribution centers in Des Moines (2220 E. 17th St.) or Ottumwa (705 W. Main St.). We’re open 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mondays–Thursdays and 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Fridays.

BackPack Program Inspiration Cards

We distribute more than 4,500 BackPack sacks for elementary students each week. These bags include nutritious, kid-friendly food for the weekend, plus an inspirational message. We need help creating these inspiration cards for kids and their families.

DIY T-Shirt Tote Bags

AS the need for food assistance increases, we need bags to support mobile pantries and school pantries. It’s easy to sew the T-shirt tote bags we distribute to partners for use at their pantries. All you need is a sewing machine, heavyweight cotton t-shirts and a few other common items.

Food Bank volunteers

Questions about Volunteering?

Contact Senior Volunteer Training and Development Manager Michaela Devaney Lowe at mdevaneylowe@foodbankiowa.org or 515-867-2886.