We rely on the support of our volunteers, who receive inventory, shop for food, assist clients and more. They also help create a welcoming environment where clients feel safe and comfortable.
All volunteers must be 16 years or older. Any volunteer 15 years or younger must be accompanied by one adult per four children.
Register online and arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled shift. Check in with the volunteer coordinator and sign in. Sign out when you leave. The manager will refer to the sign-in sheet when signing off on your hours if needed.
If you think you may be sick, you must notify us as soon as possible, even if you've already arrived for your shift. We'll reschedule you for another time.
Wear closed-toe shoes and comfortable/athletic clothing. Avoid "loose" clothing and articles that may fall into food, such as gum, jewelry and sunglasses.
We provide a space to leave personal belongings. However, NIU and the pantry are not responsible for the security of your personal items. We recommend leaving them at home or in your vehicle.
In general, volunteers may not take items from the pantry. However, if you signed up to receive pantry services, you can take items during your shift. Notify the volunteer coordinator and get a number at the start of your shift. Someone must be available to cover your shift while you shop.
Wash your hands before your shift and each time you work with a new product. Wash your hands in the bathroom sinks only. For other uses, such as cleaning rags or washing produce, use only the sinks located within the pantry.
Throw away any item that isn't sealed airtight. Gently squeeze items to determine if the seal has been broken.
Don't open items or repackage large items, such as a five-pound bag of rice. However, if a product contains individually wrapped items, you may open it to give more clients access to the contents. Ensure that the nutrition information appears on each individually wrapped item, if applicable.
Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of contamination:
Food that was previously refrigerated may be outside of refrigeration for a maximum of two hours. After two hours, it's unsafe for consumption and must be thrown away.
Donated items are accepted if they're past their best-by/use-by date. These dates indicate peak freshness, not that an item has expired.
All surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized at the end of each shift. First, use a rag and warm water to remove debris from serving surfaces. Then, sanitize the surface with a disinfecting wipe.
Want to get more involved? Join our student team. You'll help with projects that build our program while gaining valuable leadership experiences that complement your academic studies. Previous Huskie Food Pantry experience required.
August 24 – December 15, 2022
Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Thursday: 5–7 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving break: Nov. 23-24.
If you can’t get to the pantry during regular hours, you may call or email the Center for Student Assistance (CSA) to make alternative arrangements.
Have an urgent need for food outside business hours or during campus closures? Contact NIU Police and Public Safety at 815-753-1212 to pick up a to-go food bag.