Individual Volunteers

Jack's Story

Individual Volunteers“The scope of FCCMP is a very large machine and I was unaware of its many moving parts. In August, when exhausted staff members of the team took much needed vacations, I covered for some of them and learned about other pieces to the big puzzle. One such piece was two of us doing the weekly pick-up of donations from the Big Y and BJ’s in Greenfield, driving it to the pantry in Orange, weighing it all (2,400 lbs. that day), and storing it in the appropriate places. A team of four women arrived at the pantry on our heels to prepare boxes for the next team after them. Teamwork. No one can do it alone. That day, I started to see how many people are needed to execute all that FCCMP does. Magically, they somehow connect all the pieces and get a very large machine to run smoothly. It is stunning to see how hard they work to accomplish this.” – Jack McElaney

Your Role

In the past, The Franklin County Community Meals Program has relied on groups from local businesses or agencies to cook and provide our meals. Now, under the guidance and leadership of our Site Coordinators, we have expanded our volunteer base to include individual volunteers, like you!

Come spend some time at our meal sites, found all across Franklin County and the North Quabbin, and help us feed our neighbors! You don’t have to be a professional chef to donate your time and skills to the work; our individual model for volunteering includes a range of possible opportunities! Here’s a short list of some tasks we’ve recently asked our volunteers to take care of:

  • Be on call to help deliver meals
  • Help cook in the kitchen, alongside a group of individual volunteers just like you!
  • Wash dishes and clean up a kitchen after others cook in it
  • Lift heavy things up and down stairs
  • Direct traffic
  • Assist patrons
  • Help process donations of food for meal sites

Being an individual volunteer is a vital part of our operations. If you’re considering stopping by, take a look at the descriptions of our meal sites to get a sense of what they’d be requesting of you, and then reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator, Melanie Highlander, at [email protected] for more information!

(If you’re looking to bring a group of friends, coworkers or other dedicated people you know along with you to prepare a meal in the kitchen yourselves, you might be looking for our group volunteer page! Check that out here.)

Resources & Information about Volunteering With Us

You’re interested in learning more about individual volunteering, great! Here’s some information that you need to know to get a sense of what’s ahead of you and start that process:

Step 1: Check Out FAQ’s!

Look through our “Frequently Asked Questions” below, or contact Melanie Highlander at [email protected]

Q: Who should I contact if I have any questions?

A: It’s great that you have questions, that means that you’re thinking about this work! You can visit our Volunteer page on our website for information about our programs, or contact [email protected] with any questions!

Q: What are the safety measures like for volunteers working with knives, or lifting heavy things? What happens if I get hurt on the job?

A: It’s always our goal to remain as safe and healthy as possible throughout our work, but we’re all human, and sometimes unfortunate accidents happen! At the start of your shift as a new volunteer, you’ll read through our volunteer handbook and sign a health and safety waiver. While you’re working, you’ll be supervised by your Site Coordinator, who will guide you through the service and work right alongside you! However, as always, please don’t push yourself over your own limits. If you need a break, just let the Site Coordinator know.

For more information about our guidelines for safety and conduct, you can refer to pages 14-16 in our volunteer handbook.

Q: Food service can be intimidating. What’s one piece of information you’d give to new volunteers looking for a sneak peek into how the meal sites work?

A: You’re totally right, food service can be super intimidating, especially when you’re working with a group of people you may have never met before! It can feel challenging to find your place in the work, but I promise, your time is valuable. Here’s something about our meal sites that is important to know as a new volunteer:

  • As an individual volunteer, you’ll be guided through your shift(s) by a Site Coordinator. This person is chosen because they’re passionate about the work, they have the skills to organize the group, and they can help direct and instruct you through the shift! 
    • If you have any questions, feel free to send them all to the Site Coordinator you’ll be working with, or to our Volunteer Coordinator, Melanie Highlander at [email protected]

To learn more about our Site Coordinators, visit our Volunteer page on our website

Q: How are shifts divided, and how long are they usually?

A: Shift lengths vary from site to site, but typically are 2-3 hours in length. We do our best to mitigate burnout for volunteers and have found that by splitting up longer shifts amongst multiple volunteers, we’re able to support your process and allow you to be more focused and present! If you have any questions about specific meal site shift breakdowns, email [email protected] and we can provide you more information!

Q: Where do I go for more information about future volunteering opportunities?

There’s a few things that volunteers can do to find new volunteering opportunities!

  • Are you in the Greenfield or Northfield area? Sign up for shifts through our online sign-up sheets or email us! 
  • Email [email protected] with the subject line “Volunteer Inquiry” or call 413-325-6631 to talk to our Volunteer Coordinator, Melanie Highlander! Melanie is very kind and is eager to speak to anyone wishing to volunteer (the more the merrier!)
  • Check out our Volunteer page of our website ( and click the “Get Involved” button underneath the section titled “We Need You!” to fill out an online form and let us know you want to volunteer!
Q: Where is all of this food going? Who receives the food after volunteers make it?

A: We at FCCMP eliminate barriers for accessing food. Anyone who attends one of our meal sites or pantry locations, or calls us for a delivery, will receive food. We serve people of all walks of life across Franklin County and the North Quabbin. If we have surplus food at the end of a meal service, we work with local shelters to supplement meals for their residents. Every year, we distribute over 27,000 meals through our meal sites and provide fresh and shelf stable groceries to over 2700 individuals through our Orange Food Pantry. 

To learn more about the Franklin County Community Meal Program’s mission, goals and values, please visit our About Us section. We have a lot of info for you there!


Q: If I need to miss a shift or can no longer volunteer with FCCMP, whom do I contact?

A: There are two people to contact, and please contact both! They are your Site Coordinator and our Program Coordinator, Melanie – message both so that they can work to provide adequate coverage for your shift. (refer to contact page on pg. 18 of volunteer handbook, or check out our “About Our Coordinators” section of the website for more info).

Q: What are the COVID regulations at the sites?

A: At FCCMP, we take the health and wellbeing of our community seriously, and our volunteers are part of that community! Each of our sites first and foremost refers to the town it operates in for general COVID guidelines and regulations. If the town is mandating masks, we mask. From there, we make decisions by group consensus and the needs of the individuals we are working with. If one person feels uncomfortable and wants to wear a mask, we all mask. We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and safe!

If you are experiencing symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, we ask that you stay home and do not come back to volunteer until you have quarantined for 5 days and/or are no longer symptomatic.  

Step 2: Get in Touch

Step 3: Onboarding

If you’ve submitted an intake form, Melanie Highlander, our Volunteer Coordinator, will follow up with you, find the right fit for you and connect you with a Site Coordinator. From there, your Site Coordinator will be your main point of contact. (See each site description for name and contact info of your Site Coordinator, or visit our “About Our Coordinators” section, linked here.)

If you signed up in Step 2 – you’re all set! We look forward to meeting you during your volunteer shift!

 Information about each of our Program Sites!

There are different ways to engage with us across our 5 programs. Read on to learn more about each site!

Greenfield Meal Site

second congregational church greenfield MAAre you a passionate, community-driven individual in the Greenfield area? Are you looking for ways to engage more actively with your neighbors? Join the Franklin County Community Meals Program in the kitchen at Second Congregational Church (located at 16 Court Square) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, shifts ranging from 2 pm – 5:45 pm, and help us serve our community! Meet our Co-Site Coordinator Lynn and others, and support them as they guide you (and others) in executing their menu; you can sign up for meal preparation and meal-service set up, or to be the “second wind” that helps package hot meals and clean the kitchen, or both! 

If you have any questions or concerns about joining our team, email [email protected] with the subject line “GF Kitchen Inquiry” or call 413-325-6631. ALL are encouraged to join our team. Let’s make sure our neighbors are fed!

For more information about our Greenfield Site Coordinators click their name or reach out to them directly: 

Lynn Parker
[email protected]

Orange Food Pantry

Orange Pantry ready for Food-a-thon 5-13-20Orange Food Pantry contact:
Jennifer Newton
Orange Food Pantry Coordinator
118 East Main Street
Orange MA, 01364

Each week we serve over 100 households at our Orange Food Pantry and across its outreach programs. Join our Site Coordinator and the team at 118 East Main Street on Thursdays or Fridays! The Orange Pantry works a little differently than the rest of our meal sites:

On Thursdays, from 9:30am – 12pm, or 12pm – 3pm, you will be tasked with processing donations, aiding patrons, or directing traffic! 

On Fridays from 9am – 12pm you could package groceries for household deliveries, or be a backup driver from 12pm – 2pm and drop off groceries to households! (Note: by “backup”, we mean that you’d be on call to fill in if our regular is not available! Any help is welcomed.)

To find out more about current volunteer opportunities, email [email protected] with the subject line “OP Volunteer Inquiry”. We welcome all who are willing to donate their time and skills. Come help feed your neighbors!

Orange Meal Site

orange united methodist churchDid you know that about half of the households we serve at our Orange meal site are delivered to doorsteps in Orange and Athol? Do you want to help our Site Coordinator, Laurie, with preparing and packaging her meals to go? Or sign up to be a backup meal delivery driver? You can join us at the Orange United Methodist Church (located at 104 South Main Street) and lend a helping hand! Meal prep with Laurie on Wednesday afternoons from 1-4pm, or be a backup meal delivery driver on a Thursday from 4:30-5:30pm! (Note: by “backup”, we mean that you’d be on call to fill in if our regular is not available! Any help is welcomed.)

Email [email protected] with the subject line “OMS Volunteer Inquiry” to get connected!

For more information about our Orange Meal Site Coordinator click her name or reach out to her directly.  

Laurie MacDonald
[email protected]

Turners Falls Meal Site

ourladypeace-turnersfallsMAWhile we have a hearty group of volunteers each Monday at Our Lady of Peace church (located on 7th Street) weekly, they sometimes need help, especially from those who can handle stairs! The group needs able-bodied people on Mondays, from 3:30-4:30pm for setup and from 5:30-6:15pm for breakdown! If you’re happy to help carry things up and down stairs, move large boxes of food, tents, etc. then this is the site for you!

To learn more about our Site Coordinator Amy’s needs, you can email [email protected] with the subject line “TF Volunteer Inquiry”.

For more information about our Turners Falls Site Coordinator, please see their bio or reach out to them directly.  

Amy Connelly
[email protected]

Northfield Meal Site

northfield trinitarial congregational churchOur Northfield meal site continues to grow in its capacity to serve. We’re currently looking for volunteers to join us the 4th Thursday of every month at Trinitarian Congregational Church (located at 147 Main Street). Under the guidance of our Site Coordinator, Lisa, you can be a part of vital operations- she needs packagers, servers, a car line monitor, & dishwasher. 

Be part of the action! Contact our Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you! Come, help us feed our neighbors!

For more information about our Northfield Site Coordinator click her name or reach out to her directly.  

Lisa Dewitt
[email protected]

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