Volunteer FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering at Lakeview Pantry

Do I have to schedule in advance or can I just show up to volunteer?

All volunteering must be scheduled in advance.

How do I sign up to volunteer?

The first step is to attend a new volunteer training session. During this time, we will fill out a little paperwork, go over all of the opportunities we have, answer any questions that you may have, and get you signed up for your first day.  The best time to schedule an appointment is between the hours of 2pm and 4pm, Monday – Friday at 3831 N. Broadway.  If these times do not work for you, please contact Erin and schedule a time which better fits your schedule.

How do volunteers help LVP?

Volunteers at Lakeview Pantry are scheduled to help with three main programs, East site distribution, West site distribution, and Home Delivery.  During these shifts, volunteers perform a variety of tasks, but all revolve around our mission to provide emergency food relief to the Lakeview community.

May I schedule a group?

Groups of ten are the easiest to accommodate, however there are opportunities available for larger and smaller groups. We are open Monday – Saturday, but scheduling is done on a case-by-case basis. If you have a group that is larger than 15 people, we can accommodate up to 50 people at a time for special projects.  When scheduling these large groups, we usually have them volunteer on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday afternoons.  These volunteers help us with housekeeping projects like stocking shelves, cleaning fridges and freezers, sorting donations, etc.  We also periodically conduct bag drives and food drives and groups are so great at helping us with these large events. See our Group Opportunities.

Can students and children volunteer?

We have a few different opportunities for children (under the age of 18) to volunteer at Lakeview Pantry. They are welcome to participate, with parent or guardian supervision, on Saturday mornings with our Home Delivery program or on Tuesday and Thursday as part of the set-up crew at our 1414 W. Oakdale location.

We do schedule students for community service hours; however the student is responsible for keeping track of all hours acquired while volunteering with Lakeview Pantry.

Student groups may be scheduled on a case-by-case basis depending on availability and need. Please contact the Director of Volunteers, Erin Stephens, to schedule your child or students to volunteer with Lakeview Pantry.

What should we wear?

All volunteers should wear clothing that is comfortable and can potentially get messy. We also require all volunteers to wear closed-toed shoes for safety and to refrain from any offensive writing on shirts, hats, etc. Also, all volunteers are welcome to volunteer t-shirts at no charge, so please feel free to ask a staff member about them.

Do we need to bring anything?

Volunteers are not required to bring any materials with them, but we do provide lockers to secure any personal belongings. Also, if volunteers would like to bring a snack, there is a refrigerator at each location.

Is there parking available?

At our East site, only street parking is available. The West site has two options: you can pay to park in the St. Alphonsus lot or you can park for free on the street.

I have mandated community service hours.  Can I fulfill them at Lakeview Pantry?

Lakeview Pantry welcomes volunteers that need to perform volunteer service hours for church, school, or court. For each of these instances, Lakeview Pantry offers a maximum of 10 hours per person.

If you are seeking volunteer hours, please contact our Director of Volunteers to schedule an appointment to fill out the introductory paperwork.  This is the same process for all volunteers, however you should also come prepared at this initial meeting with any paperwork requiring a signature or date. Also, throughout the duration of the service, the volunteer is solely responsible for tracking all hours acquired at Lakeview Pantry.

Minors seeking mandated service hours are welcome to participate, with parent of guardian supervision. They are welcome to participate with the following programs:

  • Saturday morning at 9am for the Home Delivery program filling bags of groceries; East site (3831 N. Broadway)
  • Tuesday or Thursday, from 4:30 to 6:30pm, for the set-up crew; West site (1414 W. Oakdale)

Another suggestion for minors seeking hours would be scheduling a group to volunteer together. Please contact the Director of Volunteers for more details, or consider the following options:

Conducting a food drive. We can provide helpful materials, just contact Community Outreach Coordinator Lothar Greski.
Volunteer on our behalf at Greater Chicago Food Depository. If you’d like, your volunteer time at GCFD can turn in to credit for our account – you must designate “Lakeview Pantry A00014″ for the credit to apply. We pay just pennies per pound of food from GCFD, so any volunteer labor credit helps us in a big way! See the site.

For volunteers seeking court-ordered service hours, please note that we do not schedule volunteers that have committed a violent crime or theft of any kind. Those who have committed other offenses are eligible to volunteer. However, each case is subject to the discretion of the Director of Volunteers, as to whether you will be scheduled.

We encourage all volunteers to continue their service to Lakeview Pantry, beyond their mandated hours. We appreciate your service in any capacity as we fulfill the mission of providing emergency food relief and other services to the Lakeview community.

I’m a client, can I volunteer, too?

If you are a client, please know that we do not expect anything in return – but you are more than welcome to volunteer if you’d like. We ask that you do not schedule a volunteer shift at the same time you come for services.

I’m a volunteer and need food or services, what should I do?

If you need food assistance, anyone who meets our criteria is more than welcome – but please come during a time that you’re not on a volunteer shift. If you’d rather go to another agency for help, just ask staff for a confidential referral, or contact the Greater Chicago Food Depository at 773.247.3663 or click here.