Welcome to Hays County Food Bank!

Hays County Food Bank is passionately committed to improving lives through food assistance programs, nutrition education, and advocacy.
HCFB is a charitable, non-profit organization formed in 1984 to feed hungry people in our community. We partner with multiple agencies in Hays County in order to serve our community members who are in need.

We particularly focus on helping to feed the following groups:
  1. The elderly living on fixed incomes
  2. Working families considered to be low-income
  3. Individuals with medical or physical disabilities
  4. Homeless and transient people
  5. Individuals and families experiencing a temporary emergency (e.g. an illness, injury, or loss of employment)
Why Does Hays County need a food bank? There are 25,120 food insecure individuals residing within Hays County. This means that 1 out of every 7 individuals has difficulty getting their next meal. Hays County Food Bank provides an integral service in the fight against hunger--providing individuals and families a resource for food sustainability.

Our volunteers are an invaluable resource! Each day we strive to provide food to those most in-need, and without volunteers, we simply would not meet our goals.

Volunteering with HCFB is a wonderful way to:
  • Help families get enough to eat
  • Serve your community
  • See the real effects of grassroots organizing
  • Learn about the community
  • Meet new people
  • Ensure a greater sense of self, and well-being

Volunteers must be fully aware of our policies and procedures to ensure a safe and efficient workplace. This manual will introduce you to the basics of working at the food bank. Our staff is always available to provide further instruction as you perform the important tasks associated with feeding hungry families living in Hays County.
Please feel free to ask questions and voice any concerns you might have while volunteering here at the food bank.

Our staff is responsible for assigning and coordinating the daily work of all volunteers. Our goal is to make your volunteer experience with HCFB a positive one. We ask that you please be flexible and cooperative, as this type of work is impassioned, yet time-sensitive. We believe that all people who work at the food bank have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. We suggest three simple steps for success: 1. Show up on time. 2. Have a great attitude. & 3. Work hard. Together we can enact real change!

Food Bank Staff

Non-Discrimination Statement: Hays County Food Bank does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors.

Hays County Food Bank Orientation Manual

I. Opportunities

Hays County Food Bank requires enthusiastic volunteers armed with diverse sets of knowledge and skills. Below are general areas of need with a brief outline of the required duties. This list is by no means complete and we invite you to contact us if you have any additional skills you wish to bring to assist the food bank. We want your expertise to help us better serve the community.

Office Support
We need help answering phones, filing, data entry (Word, Excel), greeting clients, preparing promotional material, making copies, preparing mailings, and other duties as assigned.

Client Services
Provide support as a Client Intake Assistant. This requires some additional training with specific software prior to signing up for shifts. Client Services volunteers will also attend various distribution locations, help with filing, and provide additional support in an office setting.

Assist with food pickups, loading/unloading vehicles, distributions, food handling/sorting, checking the condition of all foods (appearance, expiration dates, etc.), general cleaning of work areas (including vehicles), stocking shelves, and preparing orders.

Transport volunteers to retrieve donated food items, assist in loading/unloading vehicles, conduct vehicle safety checks, and transport food and volunteers to food bank distributions.

Weeding, watering, mowing, edging, pruning, assisting with various tasks on partnering farms, and assist in maintaining various community garden sites.

Special Projects/Events
Event planning, promotion, and acting as food bank ambassadors by representing the food bank to the public. On some occasions, this could include wearing an assortment of costumes at events and photo opportunities.

Speaker’s Bureau
Speak at public gatherings and meetings to promote the numerous ways people can help the Food Bank to continue its mission. Must be at least 16 years old, have reliable transportation, and be familiar with PowerPoint. Training and presentation materials will be provided.

II. The Basics


Volunteers may be exposed to private information about food bank clients or volunteers in the regular course of their duties. To respect the dignity and privacy of all people affiliated with the food bank, client and volunteer information will be used only for agency business and will be kept confidential. Volunteers will not discuss private information about clients or other volunteers.

Workplace Violence/Harassment

Hays County food bank is a bully-free zone. All people working at the food bank have a right to be treated fairly and with respect. No inappropriate comments about anyone or toward anyone will be tolerated. Any verbal and/or physical abuse by any person must be reported immediately to food bank staff, which will investigate the matter and determine the appropriate actions to be taken.

Use Of Food Bank Resources

The food bank is a non-profit, public charity designed to feed hungry people. All donations become the property of the food bank and will be used to support our mission to our communities. No food bank resources (money, food, property, etc.) will be used for personal reasons or gain by any volunteer or employee. Volunteers are not eligible to take food home after completing shifts at the food bank. If any volunteer is also a client of the food bank, they are allowed to attend any of our public distribution sites in conjunction with their duties.

Personal Property

Volunteers are advised not to bring purses, backpacks, cell phones, or other valuable items to the food bank or leave their property unattended. The food bank is not responsible for the loss or theft of personal items.

Dress Code

All volunteers must dress in attire that is suitable for the workplace. Casual attire is appropriate but clothes that show the midriff, low-cut blouses, muscle shirts/tank tops, short shorts, or low rise jeans will not be allowed. No high heels, sandals, Crocs, flip-flops or other types of open-toed footwear will be worn in the warehouse or processing area due to safety concerns. Staff reserves the right to ask any inappropriately dressed volunteer to leave and change into acceptable clothing before continuing to work their shift.

Personal Hygiene

Volunteers are expected to maintain a high level of personal hygiene so as not to intrude on the comfort others.

Smoking Policy

Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the building, around the building, in the vehicles, at pickup points or at any of our distribution locations. 

*** Scheduling *** EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

All scheduling is handled through our online Volunteer Information Center Network (VicNet). To log in, click here (also found under the “Get Involved” tab) and sign in with your email and the password you created when you submitted your application.
Instructions for signing up for a shift: 
  1. Login to VicNet using your email and the password you created in your application.
  2. Click on the “My Schedule” tab
  3. Click on any day in the calendar that has a “Help Wanted” label
  4. Choose a shift that you know you can work, and click “Schedule Me”
  5. Click “Yes” to confirm
If you need to cancel a shift for any reason, you can do so through VicNet and the “My Schedule” tab as long as it is at least 24 hours in advance. If you need to cancel and it is less than 24 hours in advance, contact the Volunteer Services Coordinator at (512) 392-8300 ext. 222.

*** Tracking Volunteer Hours *** EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

It is important to track volunteer hours accurately because credit cannot be given for hours worked when the following instructions are not properly followed. It is the responsibility of each volunteer to make sure they sign in AND out at the computer check-in station using your unique PIN # that is assigned to you. If you did NOT receive a PIN # or if you have forgotten your PIN #, contact our Volunter Services Coordinator at 512-392-8300 ext. 222 and ask to make a new pin. If you require a copy of your service hours for school, court, or any other reason, please give our Volunteer Services Coordinator at least 48 hours prior notice.
HCFB staff workload is dependent upon a volunteer's time commitment. Volunteers are expected to work according to the established schedule and honor their commitments. They are generally not permitted to come in whenever they desire. Volunteers who wish to come in at a time for which they are not scheduled should first contact the Volunteer Coordinator to see if their help is needed.


All volunteers should be fit for duty when they begin their shift. Volunteers will not be allowed to work when sick, running a fever, or in ill health. If you are ill, please do not come to work. Staff reserves the right to ask a volunteer who appears to be sick to sign out and leave until fully recovered.

Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather, Hays County Food Bank will follow the operating guidelines of the San Marcos Independent School District (SMCISD). Notification is usually scrolled across the bottom of local morning news outlets, as well as located on the SMCISD website. If the district delays the opening of schools, the food bank will delay opening for the same amount of time. This will allow for the safe travel of all volunteers and staff. If school is not in session, food bank management will determine if the office will be closed and contact scheduled volunteers. Please be sure and check our Facebook for notices on closures.

Telephone and Computer Use

The food bank Bank’s phone system is for conducting official business. Volunteers are permitted to make emergency phone calls, please ask for assistance and please keep the call brief and to the point. Computer systems are reserved for official food bank use and are only available to those volunteers assisting with the completion of food bank business.


You may take a 10-minute break after every two hours of volunteering--remember to notify leaders of your intentions. Food and drinks are not allowed in the processing or warehouse areas. You are welcome to bring food/drinks to put in the refrigerator (please label your personal items).

Substance Abuse

No person may use, possess, sell, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on food bank premises or while conducting food bank related activities. The legal use of prescribed drugs is only permitted on the job if it does not impair a person’s ability to safely and effectively perform the essential job functions required. If any individual is threatening, causing harm to anyone or destroying property, notify a staff member IMMEDIATELY.


When reporting for a shift at the food bank, you may park in the church parking lot across the street unless there are signs posted and/or on weekends. On weekends or when the church parking lot is not available park along the street or in the driveway to the right of the food bank next to the herb garden (no farther than the white rock).

Vehicle Use

Staff and volunteers must go through a driver approval process, and be formally approved to operate any of the food bank vehicles. Operating a vehicle without obtaining formal approval is PROHIBITED. Eating food in the vehicles or using a cell phone (texting or talking) while driving is NOT allowed. Drinks are only allowed in the vehicles if they have a cap or a secure lid.


The Lead Volunteer will briefly train volunteers in their basic duties, but the majority of tasks are learned through “on-the-job” training. A new volunteer may be assigned to work alongside an experienced volunteer. Staff will continually educate volunteers on important issues such as Food Safety, Workplace Safety, and the Basics of Safe Lifting.


The Staff or a designated representative of the food bank will provide supervision of all volunteers and make assignments to coordinate the daily work.


III. Safety and Cleanliness

Facility Cleanliness

The food bank must maintain the highest standards of cleanliness to ensure public safety. The facility will be cleaned daily, and staff will make cleaning assignments as needed. Always wash your hands before and after each task when handling food products. Remember to wash your hands after using the restroom, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face or head. Keeping surfaces (counter tops and tables) clean between uses is mandatory to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination. Duties may include: cleaning the restroom each day, emptying trash cans when necessary, cleaning the sinks, floor, and all other areas within the warehouse and processing areas. Staff will advise when the break room, coolers, and freezer need to be cleaned. When washing your hands, make sure you wash with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Also, please keep an eye out for any signs of rodent or insect infestation.

Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is a top priority at the food bank. In order to promote a safe working environment, our policies need to be fully understood and followed. Violations of any of these policies may result in disciplinary action, including dismissal. Please bring any safety concerns to the attention of a food bank staff member. To promote a safe work environment, the following practices are prohibited:
  • Use of cell phones within the warehouse/processing area
  • Using earbuds to listen to music from any type of electronic device while working
  • Mixing chemicals when cleaning
  • Climbing on shelves, standing on rolling carts or using the rolling carts as skateboards
  • Standing or sitting on the industrial scale 

The following are best practices that must be followed when volunteering for Hays County Food Bank:
  • Keep aisles and walkways clear and refrain from placing food items on the floor. This is a health regulation.
  • Place items only in designated areas, away from doors and high traffic areas
  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Use the caution signs to indicate wet floors
  • Use a ladder when retrieving items above eye level
  • Alert others near you of your movements to avoid collisions or other accidents
  • Learn and use proper lifting procedures with loading/unloading all vehicles
  • Use cleaning products as directed by the manufacturer, use proper protective gear and never store chemicals around food items. Material Data Safety Sheets (MSDS) are available should any volunteer have a concern regarding all of our cleaning products. These are located in a binder above the sink in the food processing area. 
  • All injuries, accidents and other incidents need to be reported to our Operations Coordinator or your supervisor as soon as possible.
  • It is mandatory that all carts be pulled, not pushed, through the warehouse and processing areas of the Food Bank.

Safe Lifting

Staff and volunteers will observe the basics of Safe Lifting as described in this training manual. A healthy person with no physical restrictions on lifting will not pick up or move boxes weighing more than 45 pounds by themselves. Any person with physical or medical limitations will not exceed the limits set by their doctor under any circumstances. Volunteers are responsible to make staff aware of any physical limitations they might have and will be reassigned to tasks that they can safely complete.

Food Safety Rules

We are licensed as a food salvage operation. For reasons of public safety, we must handle the food as any grocery store or restaurant would. food bank staff members are responsible to make sure that food safety rules are followed AT ALL TIMES. All food will be transported and handled safely according to Health Department regulations. Volunteers and staff must use gloves, hairnets, and aprons when handling and sorting non-packaged food items. Food must be stored at least 6” above the ground for sanitation and pest control reasons. Cold foods must be stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Coolers should be closed and sealed when in use. Food storage areas for frozen foods should be closed and locked when not in use. Do not leave freezer/coolers propped open for extended periods. Staff and volunteers must watch for spoiled or opened food containers, dented, swollen or rusty cans, moldy breads and sweets, and spoiled or opened meats, etc. Such items will be disposed of properly as follows:
  • Properly label repackaged food items with the current date, content in the package, and a food bank address label.
  • All spoiled or open packages of food will be removed from the original packaging and placed in the trash cans marked for animal feeding.
  • All spoiled or open meat will be placed in the designated container in the freezer. 
  • Under no circumstances will food designated for animal feeding be given to any individual. 

Remember: When In Doubt, Throw It Out!

IV. Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities

Volunteer Rights

Volunteers have the right to:
  • Perform meaningful work in a healthy and safe environment 
  • Have personal information about them kept confidentially
  • Be treated fairly and without discrimination
  • Be fully informed and trained about job duties and expectations
  • Be recognized for their contributions to the organization

Volunteer Responsibilities

Volunteers have the responsibility to follow food bank guidelines. These guidelines have been briefly summarized in this orientation packet.


Volunteers who do not adhere to the rules and procedures of the organization or who do not satisfactorily perform their volunteer assignments are subject to discipline and/or dismissal. Disciplinary action shall range from verbal warnings to immediate discharge, depending on the seriousness of the offense in the judgement of management.  Possible grounds for immediate dismissal may include:  gross misconduct or insubordination; theft of property or misuse of organizational materials; abuse or mistreatment of clients, staff or other volunteers; not abiding by organizational policies and procedures; habitual tardiness or absenteeism; falsification of volunteer work hours; and not satisfactorily performing assigned duties. In most situations, any problems brought to the attention of the Volunteer Services Coordinator will be discussed with the CEO/Programs Director to determine an appropriate course of action.
In the event of termination for community service workers and students, the Volunteer Coordinator will contact the probation officer or teacher to inform them of the termination.

V. Thanks for Volunteering!

We are glad you are here to help. Our faithful and hardworking volunteers are the heart and soul of the food bank. We appreciate everything you do to help us succeed. Our top priority is to promote a safe and efficient workplace for all. We thank you for your cooperation with the staff as they coordinate the daily work of the food bank.

Social Media Opportunity

Help us increase awareness of Hays County Food Bank! Utilize your own social media to document your volunteering experience. Share your philanthropy with your followers and encourage them to get involved. Join our social media army and help us reach those who need help and those who can give help. We are currently on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Linked In. Be sure to tag us @haysfoodbank. 



  • Take the extra minute to lift properly
  • Plan each lift – split heavy loads into two boxes if needed
  • Keep a shoulder-width stance with your feet
  • Tighten your stomach muscles
  • Stand close to the load with your feet apart
  • Bend at the knees and hips into a squatting position
  • Lift with your legs, NOT with your back!
  • Move your legs, DO NOT twist at the waist while lifting
  • Get help when needed; use the buddy system
  • Use special handling equipment as available (e.g. carts)
  • Exercise and stretch to keep your back in good shape
  • When lifting with another person, work together to avoid injuries
  • Inform the staff of any injury or problem IMMEDIATELY!


  • Lift a load that is too heavy for you (i.e. Don’t be a hero.)
  • Be in a hurry 
  • Lift an object that you cannot move with your feet
  • Reach for a load over your shoulders
  • Bend or Twist at the waist while lifting
  • Try to catch a falling load

Who is Hays County Food Bank?

  • We have a 34-year history of service to the community.
  • We access various sources of food and pass it along to people in need. 
  • We operate out of a 2,300 square foot facility with 5 full-time employees. 

Why Does Hays County Need a food bank?

  • There are 25,120 food insecure individuals residing within Hays County. This means that 1 out of every 7 individuals have difficulty getting their next meal. The Hays County Food Bank provides an integral service in the fight against hunger--providing individuals and families a resource for food sustainability.

Who Needs Us?

  • Community members who are elderly and living on fixed incomes, who are sick and/or disabled, and low-income families with children.
  • People who earn less than a living wage, live in poverty, and who struggle with the high cost of food, utilities, rent, and healthcare/medicine. 
  • Breadwinners dependent on a next paycheck to meet expenses, but who lose that paycheck. 
  • People experiencing temporary hardships. 

How Much Food Did We Provide Last Year (2017)?

  • 838,000 pounds of food was donated from Central Texas Food Bank and the community.
  • ~2,022 individuals a week and ~3,368 households a month were served.

What is the Bottom Line?

  • A regular supply of nutritious food is crucial to overall health and quality of life. The food bank has a direct impact on the overall health and quality of life for the citizens of Hays County.
  • We provide food at no charge, and our application process only collects the basic information required.
  • Support of our food bank allows us to access, distribute, and develop various sources of food--passing it along to those in need.

What’s Next?

Now that you have read this entire orientation manual, contact our Volunteer Services Coordinator at (512) 392-8300 ext. 222 or by email to request your PIN # for checking in and out each day that you volunteer at the food bank.

We need your help, and we can’t wait to meet you!

How NOT to pack pies for distributions.


Hays County Food Bank © 2016   |   220 Herndon Street San Marcos, Texas 78666