Answering Frequently Asked Questions about Getting Involved With the Food Bank

Reclamation volunteer smiles while holding bags of croutons

Reclamation volunteer smiles while holding bags of croutons

To find the answers to questions often asked by potential volunteers, donors and partners, take a look at the Q&A below!

What volunteer opportunities are available at the food bank?

  1. Help with clerical work in the office. With a relatively small staff, Feeding America West Michigan is often looking for help with data entry and other tasks in the office. If you have a background in bookkeeping or guest reception, we could use your help.
  2. Volunteer your skills. Because of our small staff, there are some skillsets we may not have access to, which means some projects might need to be outsourced. By volunteering your skills, we can find a project that best matches your expertise with our needs.
  3. Repack and sort food in the warehouse; this is called reclamation. Read more on what reclamation is below!

What is reclamation and what do reclamation volunteers do?  

The reclamation department is where we process food donations. The projects reclamation volunteers are assigned vary throughout the year. Some common projects include: breaking down bulk product—like cereal or diced carrots—into family-sized portions, sorting food drive donations into 25-pound food boxes, and repacking boxes (like Pop-Tarts, crackers and more).  

Is there a dress code for volunteering in reclamation? 

Yes, find it here.

Who can volunteer in reclamation?  

Anyone age eight or older may volunteer, although those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. We encourage both individuals and groups to get involved and we have a variety of projects for our volunteers to do. See all our volunteer requirements here. If you’d like to learn more, visit our volunteer page.

We support our church’s food pantry, why should we support you?

We’re happy you support your local food pantry. They may be one of our partners! When you support the food bank, you’re helping many food pantries and meal programs stretch their program funds and access a variety of food in the exact quantity they need. No other organization in our region is equipped to gather and distribute the volume of food that we do. We appreciate every dollar donated and gifts are always used efficiently: 97% goes directly to hunger-relief programs.

What impact can my financial donation make? 

Every $1 donated to Feeding America West Michigan helps provide 4 meals’ worth of food! If you were to go to the store and purchase the same amount of food, it would cost $11.01.

Are food drives helpful? 

Food drives are best used as an advocacy tool and as a way to get kids involved in the fight against hunger. It’s true that financial donations create a bigger and more direct impact but we don’t discredit the fact that food drives can elevate our mission. Learn more about food drives.

Can my food pantry or meal program partner with the food bank?  

If you’re located in our service area, probably! Learn about our agency partnership requirements or Mobile Pantry partnership requirements.

Written by Content Specialist Kelly Reitsma