Volunteers are what make our work possible. We welcome thousands of individuals each year from every sector of the community to engage in direct service to homebound seniors and adults with disabilities who also are experiencing isolation, loneliness, and in some cases extreme poverty. Together, our volunteers provide on average 23,000 hours of service per year! Our volunteer programs and training also provide participants with an empowering experience. Service with us is more than volunteerism, it’s an opportunity to connect with the community through shared moments of compassion and understanding.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we have adapted many of our volunteer programs as we are concerned for the safety of all our volunteers, clients, and staff. While we have modified our programs, we have a wide variety of opportunities available depending on your area of interest, availability, and skillset.
Watch the recording of our Volunteer Appreciation Chef Demo
by Tim Quaintance and Richard Crocker from Boulevard Restaurant.
Client Communication Survey | Home Delivered Groceries | Friendly Social Call
Grocery Shopper | Cards for Seniors
To become a Volunteer for Friendly Social Call, Grocery Shopper, or Home Delivered Assembly, you will need to submit an application. The online form will only take a few minutes to fill out!
Client Communication Survey
This is a great option for short-term remote volunteering! We have a large, diverse senior client base and through the Client Communication Survey, we are learning how best to reach them either through postal mail, calls, texts, or email.
Volunteers will call an assigned list of seniors and ask a series of short questions regarding their technology use and their preferred contact methods. This can be done from home using a computer with internet access. This survey will help us to provide better service and resources to the thousands of seniors we serve in San Francisco.
We ask for a commitment to reach out to at least 50 people. An application and orientation session is required to participate in this program. Please fill out the application and sign up for a new volunteer orientation. If you have any questions, reach out to email@example.com
Home Delivered Groceries – Assembly & Delivery
A GREAT WAY TO START YOUR WEDNESDAY! Join MOWSF outside and socially distanced to (1) help pack fresh groceries on-site or (2) deliver the groceries to clients in SF! Our Home Delivered Grocery program in partnership with the SF-Marin Food Bank is a 100% volunteer-staffed program, and is a great way to connect and help serve our seniors and people with disabilities of every neighborhood in SF. We are operating with all CDC and City of San Francisco safety protocols.
We serve over 450 people every week, by providing fresh produce to them via the SF-Marin Food Bank. Unlike our cooked meal service which services 5000 homebound clients daily, this program serves a separate group of seniors and people with disabilities who are able to cook for themselves but have some difficulty purchasing groceries weekly or getting to a local food pantry.
We ask for a minimum of a 3-month commitment and since we are keeping this program small, please contact the Program Manager, Stephanie Galinson, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and how to sign up. An application and orientation session is required to participate in this program.
Day of Logistics:
- Address of Meals on Wheels: 1375 Fairfax Ave. SF, CA 94124
- Time: Every Wednesday rain or shine.
- Grocery assembly runs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am (limited partial shifts available as needed).
- Grocery delivery runs from 8:30 am to 11:00 am
- Dress: Please wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers since this is an outdoor activity. Wear low-heeled shoes because our driveway is uneven and can be slippery.
- Delivery volunteers use their own car to deliver groceries on a pre-set route.
Be matched with a senior to call and check in on them on a weekly basis to help lessen isolation and create a meaningful friendship over the phone. Many of our clients are isolated and lonely and would appreciate the someone to call them regularly each week to converse about topics of interest to both the client and volunteer plus check in on their well-being. Since this volunteer opportunity is virtual, you can be located anywhere in San Francisco to be matched with a senior. As a Friendly Social Call volunteer, you will schedule the calls directly with the client based on the best time that works for both parties. Calls typically last 15-30 mins but may go longer if desired.
- Background check required
- 6-month commitment
- Must attend an online training webinar before being matched
Grocery shop for an isolated and homebound senior. Many of our seniors are unable to go to a nearby grocery store in their neighborhood to shop for food and household items. In this program, you will be paired with a senior to assist them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to shop for essential items they need during the current crisis. You will coordinate a regular shopping schedule directly with the client. As a Grocery Shopper volunteer, you will shop for the items by yourself and then drop them off at the client’s home. Many of our clients that need help grocery shopping live in neighborhoods such as the Bayview, Tenderloin, and Mission, etc. so please be flexible and willing to be paired with a senior living in one of those areas or other neighborhoods as well. This program does require a car so you are able to be matched and do the deliveries if public transportation is not accessible during the pandemic. We are following all Social Distancing practices and deliveries are “No Contact Deliveries”.
- Background check required
- 3-month commitment
- Access to transportation (car or public transportation)
- Must attend an online training webinar before being matched
Please note, we operate this program in all weather.
Cards for Seniors
Let homebound Meals on Wheels seniors know that people care about them, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic where social isolation is at its highest. Make "Thinking of You" cards that we will distribute with our meals to brighten a seniors day. these are accepted all year long.
Download guidelines below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I have to attend training to volunteer?
Yes, in order to volunteer in the Grocery Shopper or Friendly Social Call program, you must attend a 1-hour online training via Zoom. You will receive a confirmation after signing up for a training session. If you do not receive a confirmation email, check spam/junk and/or fill out the form at the bottom of the page. If you still do not find a confirmation email for the training program, please email email@example.com
If I cannot participate in the Friendly Social Call program or Grocery Shopper program, how else can I help? Are there other volunteer programs?
The card program is a great alternative as MOWSF is trying to provide an uplifting “thinking of you” card with each seniors' meal! We currently have over 3500 seniors! You can also help financially, we are accepting donations to help us continue providing meals and services to homebound seniors and adults with disabilities in San Francisco.
Do I need to complete a background check if I have already done so in the past for a different organization?
Yes, we require all volunteers to complete an online background check through Sterling Volunteers for Meals on Wheels of San Francisco. It typically takes 5 minutes or less to complete and you will be sent a link via email after you fill out our online application.
Are there volunteer opportunities on the weekend?
We do not have any specific volunteer programs on the weekend. However, both the Grocery Shopper and Friendly Social Call programs are coordinated directly with the client and you pick the days and times you’d like to volunteer with the senior as long as it works for you and for them. The card program is also another great way to volunteer at any time you want.
Are there any volunteer opportunities at your office or in the kitchen?
No, unfortunately at this time, we only allow full-time paid staff to work in our offices and kitchen.
Do I have to make a minimum length commitment to the Friendly Social Call or Grocery Shopper Volunteer Programs? Yes, we do require a 6-month commitment for the Friendly Social Call program and a 3-month commitment for the Grocery Shopper program. Our hope is to have you volunteer with us longer as you build a meaningful friendship with the senior! Both programs require a weekly time commitment.
Do I have to live in SF/Bay Area to volunteer in the Friendly Social Call program?
Yes, we ask that volunteers live in San Francisco or the Bay Area.
Will you accept food or goods donations?
We cannot accept many food donations due to the guidelines we follow for senior prepared meals. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more specific questions around donations.