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 or pasta 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 sewing T-shirt tote bags or 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 increases, we need bags to support mobile pantries and drive-through school distributions. It’s easy to sew the T-shirt tote bags we prepack with food for these programs. 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.