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A Week at the Pantry

How Our Volunteers Are Helping their Neighbors and Eliminating Food Insecurity in our Area 

Every Friday morning, just as the sun comes up, a dedicated group of volunteers arrives at the pantry ready to help. By the end of the day, we will have distributed food to over 500 people in the Greater Newbury/Newburyport community.


While Friday is the most visible face of our pantry, we depend upon the hard work of many more volunteers working “behind the scenes” to fulfill our mission of alleviating food insecurity. For those unable to help on Fridays, there are roles available on other days and times. 


Below is a day-by-day schedule of the tasks that lead up to Friday and make “Pantry Day” flow smoothly and efficiently.

  • Pickup food donations from local businesses.

  • Clean-up pantry and take cardboard to be recycled.

  • Restock shelves.

  • Finalize on-hand-Inventory.

  • Place orders for essential food items.

  • Plan & confirm staffing needs for Friday.

  • Move food from overstock area to shelves.

  • Finalize quantities of available items and update online ordering system.

  • Finalize caller assignments for guests who need assistance ordering.

  • Send callers email with instructions so they can answer guest’s questions.

  • Pickup additional food donations from local businesses.

  • Enable website so guests can begin to place their orders.

  • Callers call their assigned guests to assist them in placing orders.

  • Check inventory of bag tags for each guest to identify their bags on Friday and print any additional tags that will be needed.

  • Callers finish calling their assigned guests to assist them in placing orders.

  • All orders must be placed by noon.

  • Assign pickup times.

  • Review list of pickup orders by time slot to ensure an even flow of orders and call guests with any changes.

  • Review list of guests who requested deliveries and finalize delivery routes.

  • Receive, inspect and stock donations that are received from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

  • Receive and stock any food that has been ordered from local vendors.

  • Prepare paper bags for Friday’s orders.

  • Receive and stock produce from our partner Nourishing the North Shore.

Friday Morning

Volunteers start setting up the pantry at 6:30 a.m.

  • Coolers are stocked with frozen foods.

  • Bagging stations are organized.

  • Fresh produce is moved from refrigerators.

  • Volunteers start their shift at 8:30 a.m. with a brief informational meeting and a prayer.

  • Shoppers pick orders for guests.

  • Baggers bag items and tag each bag to identify the guest.

  • Loaders move bags from bagging stations and organize them by delivery groups.

  • Drivers arrive at 9:00 a.m. to pick up the orders for their assigned delivery route.


Friday Mid-Day Shift (12:00-2:00 p.m.)
  • Volunteers mark lanes in the parking lot so guests can pick up their order.

  • Beginning at 12:30 p.m., guests start to arrive at their assigned time to pick up their order.

  • Guests are greeted and receive parking directions.

  • The mid-day shift includes new shoppers, baggers, loaders and a greeter.

Friday Afternoon Shift (2:00-5:00 p.m.)
  • The afternoon shift includes new shoppers, baggers, loaders and a greeter.


Other Tasks that Volunteer Perform
  • On the 3rd Thursday morning each month, we receive our largest order from the Greater Boston Food Bank. We need assistance with loading and unloading trucks and stocking all items.

  • Answering Phones - Answering the pantry phone number and assisting guests with questions. 

  • Social Media - Keep donors and guests up to date with social media posts and publicity.

  • Website – The website is updated periodically. 

  • Outreach – Stay in contact with local Councils on Aging and distribute posters to inform the community about our services.

  • School Food Pantries – Visit assigned schools and restock food as needed. 

  • Finance & Accounting – All expenses and donations must be documented, recorded and monthly financial statements prepared. 

  • Food Drive Coordinator – Donations are a major source of food. The coordinator(s) ensure that volunteers are available to receive and inspect donations from food drives.

  • Donations – All donations are recorded, and monetary donations are acknowledged with a thank you letter.

  • Building & Grounds Maintenance – Volunteers are needed to do maintenance projects.

  • Reporting – Reports include weekly and monthly reporting on orders, bags and pounds of food donated as well as the number of households and family members served.

  • Grant Writing – Periodically assistance is needed to apply for grants.

  • Volunteer Coordinators – The coordinators communicate with new and current volunteers to ensure we have adequate staffing for all of our projects. 

  • Trainers – Our most experienced volunteers help new volunteers learn new roles.

If you would like more information or want to volunteer, call us at 978-358-1077 or email us at

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