Training/Orientation/Checklist for Food Distribution & Intake Person

Revised May, 2014


A. Training/ Orientation

For questions or concerns, please leave a message at 751-7779.

1. The Mission of the Food Pantry is to provide food to the residents of Bowdoinham and Bowdoin, Maine who are having difficulty providing food for their households.

2. Hours of operation: 3 to 5 PM every Wednesday (Periodic changes are sent by e-mail and will be posted at the BFP 2 weeks in advance.)

3. There shall be two volunteers at all times at the Food Pantry.

4. Volunteer hours are 2 hours (preferred) or 1 1/2 hours.

5. After training you will be added to the Contact List and receive weekly sign up emails. Reply with dates you want to work and the Scheduler will confirm with you by e-mail.

6. If you find you cannot do your shift, e-mail or call the Scheduler up to 1 day in advance or by telephone if it is the same day. Joanne – 207-373-8253

7. If KEY is beside your name on the schedule, pick up the keys by 2:45P.M. at the Town Landing Restaurant.

8. It is recommended that one of the volunteers have a cell phone.

9. “Safe Area”-If anyone comes in who makes you feel uncomfortable (intoxicated or threatening in any way) go to the Town Landing Restaurant and get help there.

10. Treat all clients with respect and common courtesy.

11. Confidentiality:

Volunteers must keep confidential the identity, addresses, personal circumstances of our clients and refrain from disclosing any of these details to friends, family, or other volunteers. When it is necessary to discuss clients’ needs with other volunteers, volunteers must take precaution to ensure that the conversation is not overheard.

12. Inclement Weather – Follow school cancellations for SAD 75.  Call Kathy Tome if weather becomes severe during hours of operation.

13. Donations/Incoming Items Book- We keep track of everything that comes in: food, money, equipment. Collect required information in the Donation/Incoming Items Book.

a. All foods- Estimate wt. and record in Donation/Incoming Food Book.

Put canned/dry foods in “Unprocessed Food Box,” Shelf 2 bottom in back.

Perishables/freezer food- Cross off bar code. Store appropriately.

If you have time, process foods: cross off the bar code, shelve items placing latest expiration date in back. Extras go in labeled boxes on bottom shelves.

b. Money & equipment donations-Record & notify Kathy Tome

14. Expiration Dates- If time allows, check expiration dates following these guidelines:

a. Cans, jars and dry goods may be kept on the shelves up to 1 year after the expiration date, then discarded.

b. Baby foods are to be discarded on the expiration date.

c. Any suspicious container (rusted, torn, cracked, ie., is to be discarded immediately. If in doubt, throw it out.


B. Checklist

1. Arrive 15 minutes before the opening hour.

2. Keys: (1 external, 1 internal) Pick up at the Town Landing Restaurant (on a red string behind the cash register). Owner or worker will get them for you.

Wear the keys around your neck to avoid locking yourself out.


Before Opening

1. Sign the “Volunteer Sign In” Book.

2. Check thermometers. Freezer should be 0℉ or below. Refrigerator should be 40℉ or below.

Adjust temperatures as needed, recheck in 30 minutes. Call Kathy Tome if problems.

3. Have shopping bags at hand.

4. Pre-package bulk food as necessary in small bags.Using wipes, wash hands before handling.

5. Check refrigerator and discard spoiled items.

6. Signs: Hang the outside sign on the road entrance in flag holder.  Put the Inside Food Pantry sign hanging on the inside door.

7. Be sure to keep external door ajar so that clients can access inside door.  Note: Door will lock behind you and clients will not be able to enter.

8. If this is a “Soup Day,” get Soup Table ready for the arrival of homemade soup.

9. Turn on outside light as needed.


Opening and Intake

1. Open the BFP at the designated time. Do not open earlier unless an emergency.

2. Welcome one client/family at a time into the Food Pantry and ask if they have any special needs today. Ask any others to wait in the lobby area.

3. Use the Shift Log Form to enter information for the client.

4. If they are new, assist them in filling out the BFP Registration form and give them a # on the form and a card with the matching # on it.

5. If they are from out of service area, complete the  “Client Out of Service Area Log.’”

Give them one bag of food of their choice and the brochure that lists area food pantries and the “211” Community Quick Card.


Food Distribution 

We try to keep stocked some frozen food, fresh refrigerated items, canned & dry goods, personal items and cat and dog food

1. Give 1 bag for 2 people

2. Give 2 bags for 3 or more people

3. Give 1 of each of their choices as supplies allow until their bags are full.

4. Put food items in 1 bag, personal items (soap, shampoo, etc.) and  cleaners in separate bags.

5. Use recycle or paper bags. Some clients bring in their own.

6. Use your judgement to vary these guidelines, for example:

a.If the item is a potato or beet or individual serving of something, give 1/person

b. If we have an abundance, give more

c. If items are close to expiration date, give more

d. If the can is small (ex. tuna) give 2 cans or enough to make a meal for the family

e. If it is an Emergency situation, give more.

7.Remind them of any changes in hours (holidays) & that they can come weekly.



1.Check the refrigerator, freezer and shelves for items that need to be restocked.  List them in the “Shopper’s Notebook”.

2. Shelves:  bring items to the front, later expiration dates in back.

Return perishables to refrigerator.

3. Freeze anything that will not last 7 days.

4. If there are spoiled or expired foods, discard them in trash.

5. Take signs in.

6. Lights – Inside are Motion Sensor. Outside turn off manually.

7. Lock both doors

8. Return the keys to Town Landing Restaurant owner or worker.