Volunteers are the beating heart of North Helpline.

We are actively looking for new volunteers at this time. Please spread the word!


Volunteer Application

If you haven’t volunteered with North Helpline before, please take a few minutes to fill out and review our Volunteer Application. We will usually process it in a day or two.

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Once we have processed your application, you will receive an automatic email with a link to our online calendar, where you can select a shift.

Questions or Concerns

Reach out to our volunteer team: volunteers@northhelpline.org or call the volunteer line at (206) 413-8271! 

You can also read the Volunteer FAQ below!

Before Your First Shift

Please read the Volunteer Orientation and Procedures.

Volunteer Positions & Shifts


The Client Services volunteers welcome our neighbors and share the services North Helpline offers and how to access them. These roles are crucial in helping us meet the needs of our community with compassion and respect. These volunteers will help neighbors by being an outdoor Greeter, a Check-in volunteer or working inside the CS office. The Greeter welcomes our neighbors, asks if they are registered and hands out numbers to those waiting in line to access the food bank on distribution days. The Check-in volunteer calls out the numbers outdoors under the blue tent and scans the neighbor's membership card to check them into our database. The CS office volunteer is available to register neighbors into our database system and assist them in accessing other resources both internally and in the community. Volunteers interested in Client Services should join us for distribution regularly first to have a better understanding of the needs of this position.
Supplying our locations with food items from local stores allows us to serve our neighbors every week! Grocery volunteers pick up donations from grocery stores in the north Seattle area. This is a weekly volunteer job that requires some training and a sincere commitment. Because we rely on these groceries to serve our neighbors, we do need someone who is consistent and extremely reliable. We ask for volunteers to commit to a minimum of six months. Volunteers interested in grocery rescue must have their own vehicles with enough room to carry pick-up items and be able to lift at least 50lbs in weight. For this particular position, volunteers will be working alone. There is some flexibility in the day, but grocery pickups are always done in the morning.
Sharing food and resources with our neighbors is at the heart of our mission! Volunteers helping in this position will work directly with our neighbors to assist neighbors in selecting foods that match their needs. Volunteers will stand at stations in the warehouse and neighbors will select foods according to the allotted amounts for their household size. You can expect to serve with 10-20 other volunteers. Please show up on time and sign in at the door. We keep volunteer crews small to help with social distancing but that means we count on everyone to show up for their shift and be on time.
Every day we get wonderful donations from local stores, pea patches, and individual donors. Help us ensure we are only distributing food that we would pick up ourselves! Volunteers are needed to inspect the quality of food coming in from donations and partner organizations. Food that looks delicious will need to be prepped for distribution. This means volunteers will bag produce and fruit and may also assist with bagging bulk items such as rice, dog food, potatoes, etc. Bread and pastries also get sorted after being inspected. You can expect to work with eight to nine other volunteers as we sift through items. Please show up on time and sign in at the door. We keep volunteer crews small to help with social distancing but that means we count on everyone to show up for their shift and be on time.
Some of the people who need to access services are unable to come to us – so we go to them! With our Home Delivery Program, volunteers pick up pre-made boxes from our location in Lake City to deliver to clients in the area. This is a weekly volunteer job that requires some training. Volunteers interested in Home Delivery must have their own vehicles with enough room to carry at least 12 boxes of food (boxes are usually slightly larger than the maximum size of a carry-on suitcase) and be able to lift 50lbs in weight as the boxes can be quiet heavy. Currently, this position only operates out of Lake City. This program is special and has volunteers working one on one with our neighbors. We anticipate that neighbors and volunteers will form a friendship as they get to know each other. For that reason, it is imperative that we find volunteers who are able to be consistent and reliable. We have a minimum expectation of nine months for volunteers in this program. Right now, our program operates Thursday afternoons between 1 and 5. If you are interested in this program, the first step is to join us for a shift at the warehouse on Thursday mornings to help pack the boxes. This provides a better idea of how the process works and what the expectations are. After volunteering in the warehouse consistently, we will place you as an on-call driver to start to make sure this is a good fit for you and for us. When we have enough neighbors to create a new route, we will then assign you to that route. For this particular position, volunteers will be working alone. Additionally, we need volunteers to help us pack boxes for people who are unable to make it into our regular distribution. These boxes will be packed according to dietary restrictions and then be delivered by volunteers later in the day.
Our Development & Communications department is looking for a graphic designer to design social posts, flyers, reports, and other assets for our website, social media, and events.

Shift Calendar:

Contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@northhelpline.org to sign up for a shift or for more information.  Please don’t show up for a shift unless you have signed up. Thanks!

Holidays and inclement weather may alter schedules. All changes to regularly scheduled hours will be announced through our social media, email, and website.

General Volunteer Requirements

  • All client-facing volunteers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 at this time.
  • We welcome kids ages 12-14 with an adult guardian’s presence and 15-17 with guardian permission.
  • We are asking that anyone exhibiting symptoms of a cold or virus within the last two weeks, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, not come in.
  • We will happily provide masks and gloves for volunteers if you do not have them! Lastly, please wear closed-toe shoes and warm clothing as our warehouse is not a climate-controlled environment.
  • Volunteers will be standing the entirety of their shift and will be lifting boxes that weigh 15-25 lbs*

Volunteer FAQ

Volunteers can check with the volunteer coordinator to confirm the number of hours they have served at the food bank.
The Volunteer Coordinator will sign your papers to confirm the number of hours served for school or court. Volunteers will bring papers to sign at the end of the food distribution shift. If you need your form signed for dates you served prior to bringing your form in, that can done after the food distribution or any other time during regular office hours.
Please arrive on time to scheduled shifts. We ask new volunteers to arrive at the food bank 5-10 minutes prior to the start of their first shifts. We need to orient volunteers to their roles in advance in order to open the food bank on time.
Like all other volunteers, Service-Learning students must complete a volunteer application before they can begin serving in the food bank. This can be done by clicking here and submitting an application online. Upon your completion of the application, Service-Learning students will receive a full orientation and tour of our facility upon the first day that they arrive to serve as a volunteer.
There are some positions in the food distribution that require volunteers to serve the full length of the distribution as to not interrupt service to food bank clients. Therefore, if a volunteer needs to leave early they need to tell the Volunteer Coordinator before arriving for the volunteer shift. The earlier that you inform the coordinator of your schedule, the more we will be able to accommodate you. If you must consistently leave before the food distribution ends, we may not be able to offer volunteer opportunities and will try to provide references to other locations that may work with your schedule better.
Volunteers must arrive on-time or earlier to serve in the food distribution. If volunteer are late then there is no guarantee that their volunteer position will be held as we need to have all positions filled before the start of the distribution. If you are going to be late, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator to find out if there will be any more space for you to serve.
Yes, volunteers are permitted to use the food bank at the beginning of the food distribution provided they have not already used the food bank earlier that week. All volunteers must check in with their food bank card and are subject to the exact same rules as a food bank client.
Yes, older siblings can act as guardian to other siblings while volunteering as long as they are 18 years or older.
The volunteer coordinator will be able to sign a form or school or court to confirm your hours. All forms will be signed at the end of the food distribution. If you ever forget to bring your form with you, you can bring your form the next time that you come to volunteer or during regular office hours. The volunteer coordinator will be able to sign for all the days that you have served in concert with the time of service listed on the volunteer sign-in sheet.
No, volunteers need to hold on to their own forms. The volunteer coordinator will only take the form to sign and then return it to the volunteer.
We recommend that group sizes are between 7 and 10. There are a limited number of volunteer positions available to ensure social distancing. We will check in with your group a week before to ensure all of your spots are still filled. If you do have anyone who drops out of their shift, please let us know immediately so we can try to fill the spots.
North Helpline wants to make sure that everyone has a chance to serve the community who would like to. While at the same time, it is paramount that clients and volunteers feel that the food bank is a safe environment to work in. Therefore, we will only turn away anyone who has been arrested for violent crimes, including assaults, domestic violence, etc. We will provide references to other food banks and non-profits if we are unable to find a position for you with us.
Yes. Volunteers will receive a link to our online calendar to sign up when we have processed the background check. All volunteers should use the online calendar to find a shift that is open and works for their schedule.
North Helpline strives to find volunteer positions for everyone. During COVID, we have limited some of our roles but encourage you to contact our volunteer manager, Lara, directly to discuss what positions might work best.