How to get started volunteering

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington. We appreciate all of the support we receive from our community and friends. There is a lot of information here, including volunteering opportunities for individuals and volunteering information for groups. Please read through and if you still have questions after reading, email us at pcmafoodpantry@gmail.com. Thank you.

We ask that all of our volunteers be at least 15 years old. Please let us know if you are working off court-ordered community hours and why.

We depend on approximately 80 volunteers to serve the 600+ people who need our help monthly, so we schedule volunteers much like employees; ahead of time to insure we have enough volunteers for every day that we are open for clients. Therefore, it is not always easy to accommodate groups. Very rarely do we have the need for a group (or even more than one volunteer at a time) and when those opportunities arise, they are limited because so many groups want to volunteer. We do, however, try to accommodate when we can. At the moment, all of our regular volunteer shifts are scheduled for the rest of the year. We sometimes need substitute volunteers. While we have over 100 people on our substitute volunteer email list, we don’t always find a volunteer for every request and therefore, continue to add people to our substitute list.   Opportunities for individuals to sub in come up on a regular basis, (illness, vacation) being part of the substitute list is the best way to get temporary and permanent assignments.

From time to time, we send out requests for help (via email) to all volunteers. If you can help, please reply immediately, and we will confirm your assignment.  If you cannot help, please do not reply as we send these email requests to all of the people on our substitute volunteer list. Please do not share these requests via email or on social media, as we try to accommodate those already on our substitute list first.

When volunteering regularly at our Food Pantry, you will be asked to sign a “Volunteer Agreement and Civil Rights / Non Discrimination Agreement.” Please click on the links provided to read the forms.

Click here for the Civil Rights Training Guide

For other community service opportunities in Fairfield County, please visit the United Way of Fairfield County.

Our client hours are:

  • Mondays 6:30PM-8:30PM
  • Thursdays 10:00AM-12:00PM
  • Saturdays 10:00AM-12:00PM

ALL volunteers are asked to enter/exit the Food Pantry through the Volunteer Door which is located on the side of the building, in the alley way, next to the red dumpster. Please ring the bell. When volunteering at the Food Pantry, please wear closed toe shoes. NO SANDALS.

Please email us at pcmafoodpantry@gmail.com if you would like to be added to the substitute list. 

Below are a few ways for individuals to get involved

  • Client Shopper: help sort & display produce and bakery items in preparation of client hours, help clients shop, replace shopping bags, sweep/mop if necessary, clean containers, break down boxes, empty trash, clean coolers, etc. Hours are: Mondays 6:00pm-9:00pm, Thursdays and Saturdays 9:30am-12:30pm.
  • Holiday Boxes: help sort, distribute and/or deliver food baskets before Thanksgiving and/or Christmas
  • Deliveries: unload and store food deliveries from Mid-Ohio Foodbank
  • Desk: register clients during client hours
  • Food Drive Processing: weigh, log in, date check, sort, store and/or stock items
  • Food Pick Up: pick up donations and bring them to the Food Pantry
  • Fundraising: help with fundraising events
  • Order: order food from Mid-Ohio Foodbank
  • Recycler: break down cardboard and take it to the recycling location
  • Stocker: stock the shelves, break down boxes
  • Grocery Shoppers: shop for a client and deliver food to that client (9am on Thursday or Saturday)
  • Thank You: help write thank you cards and mail
  • Cleaning once a month: dust/wipe down shelves, dust window sills, clean restroom, wash windows, vacuum, power wash rugs, carts, clean storage bins, etc.

Below are a few ways for groups to get involved

  • The Annual Food Truck Frenzy is scheduled for the first Sunday in June. You can email pickfoodtruckfrenzy@gmail.com to get on that volunteer list for future Frenzies. We are proud to say that the Frenzy has recently been nominated in the 2017 “Best Food Festival in Columbus” by CityScene Magazine.
  • Thanksgiving and Christmas Box Distribution Days are scheduled for the Sunday prior to the holiday. You can volunteer to deliver food boxes to some of our clients or help distribute them at the Food Pantry that day. We won’t schedule this until October, we will need groups of 4-6 at each shift.
  • Our Annual Festival of Lights is scheduled for the first Friday in December.  We will need 4-6 volunteers that evening. We won’t schedule this until November.
  • We are normally open for clients on Monday evenings, Thursdays and Saturdays mornings, except if there is a 5th Monday, Thursday or Saturday in a month. On those 5th days, we schedule volunteers to help with the cleaning of our facility – cooler doors, shelves, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the restroom, sinks, some rearranging of food items and/or stocking, power washing rugs, etc. This option includes a tour of the Food Pantry.  We can also schedule cleanings on days we don’t serve clients. We will need 4-6 people for this opportunity.
  • Hosting a simple breakfast or hors d’oeuvres for our clients on either a Thursday or Saturday morning – your group would supply the plates, napkins, plastic wear, cups and of course donuts, muffins, bagels, coffee and hot chocolate for approximately 10-20 clients.  The night before, we would confirm the number of clients scheduled for the breakfast day so you can shop the next morning. No tour with this option, but you will be able to walk around yourself. We will need 4-6 people for this opportunity

In addition to volunteering, we love to hear how people and/or businesses get creative and fundraise for us, for example, the Pickerington Education Association recently held a Dollar Drive in conjunction with the end of the school year. Participants were able to bring in a dollar amount and wear a hat, or jeans, etc. on designated days, they raised over $1,200!! The local school bus company held a chili cook-off and collected $1 per vote. They raised $300!! You could consider holding a dollar drive and helping the Food Pantry in that way or you can get creative and host a diaper drive or deodorant and shampoo drive, school supplies drive, etc. (please check with us at the time to ask about current and specific needs).  Another option is for teams to collect donations for every goal or basket made during the season.

Monetary donations are always appreciated. Mail check to P.O. Box 914 or donate using PayPal  For every $1 donated, the PCMA Food Pantry can purchase $10 worth of groceries. Please feel free to contact us if you have any ideas.

Please email us at pcmafoodpantry@gmail.com if you would like to be added to the substitute list. 

Carmen and Jordan Bloomster get help stocking our shelves from Ellie and Elvis.
Dick Sloan, Paul Trombley and Bob Stein sporting their volunteer shirts on a Saturday morning at the Food Pantry.
Kelly Zimmerman, Roger Shahan, Gene and Maureta Ott and Robert Peraza after having picked up several pallets of produce from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank in Grove City in November.