Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering

When can I volunteer?

Common Heart has a variety of opportunities throughout the week. These opportunities occur in the morning, afternoon, and evening at various locations in Union County. For more detailed information, please visit Once registered, you’ll be able to access our upcoming opportunities calendar where you’ll be able to get more information and sign-up for an opportunity that works for you.


What kind of work will I do as a volunteer?

While specifics may vary between opportunities, volunteers will typically be performing light physical activity while processing donated food items and preparing them for distribution. Volunteers may also interact with the neighbors we serve, which presents opportunities for building relationships and spreading kindness.


Can children/teens volunteer?

Absolutely! Common Heart is happy to give young people an opportunity to volunteer. Ages 6-13 can serve if accompanied by a supervising adult. Ages 14-17 can serve unaccompanied as long as their parent/guardian has cosigned their waiver at the time of volunteer registration.


Can Common Heart accommodate volunteers with special needs?

Due to safety regulations, we need to evaluate all situations individually. Please contact the Volunteer Engagement Leader, Riane Maltais at or by phone at (704) 218-9060 to discuss before scheduling a volunteer opportunity.


What should I wear when I volunteer?

Volunteers should dress comfortably to be physically active at whatever temperature it is outside that day. While our workspaces are generally enclosed, they are frequently open to the outdoors. Evening/Mobile Pantry volunteers will be working outside and should dress appropriately for the weather. While events are canceled in the event of dangerous conditions, pantries typically take place in the hot or cold, rain or shine. All volunteers MUST wear closed-toed shoes for safety. No sandals, flip-flops, or heels are permitted.


Can I perform court-ordered community service with Common Heart?

Yes, Common Heart accepts volunteers performing court-ordered community service. While each situation must be evaluated individually, Common Heart will not accept volunteers convicted of violent crimes, sexual crimes, or crimes against children. 

To perform court-ordered community service with Common Heart, please email the Volunteer Engagement Leader, Riane Maltais, at to begin the registration process. Be prepared to supply a copy of your court document or ticket stating your offense as well as the number of required service hours and the timeframe for completion. An official letter for the court will not be given without going through the proper procedures. 


Is there a minimum time requirement to volunteer?

While there is no long-term commitment required, we do ask that volunteers commit to the entire length of each shift. Shift lengths vary by opportunity from 2 – 4 hours.


Can I volunteer regularly?

Of course! Regular volunteers are always needed and play a major role in Common Heart’s mission to fight food insecurity. Volunteer opportunities are posted every quarter and registered volunteers are welcome to sign up for any opportunities where they plan to serve.


What if I need to cancel?

We understand that things don’t always happen the way we expect and ask that volunteers practice courtesy. If you are able, please cancel your registration for the opportunity as soon as you can as we often have volunteers who have been waitlisted who will be given a chance to take the space. If you are unable to cancel yourself, please email or call our office (704-218-9060) and we will cancel it for you. Absences without notification can result in volunteers being restricted from future opportunities.


Is Common Heart certified to grant the Presidential Volunteer Service Award?

Yes! In 2022, Common Heart became certified by Americorps and Points of Light to grant exceptional volunteers the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. 


Learn more about the PVSA and its eligibility requirements.