Volunteer FAQ

If you can’t find your answer here please contact Patty Yoder

WhAt Door do I use?
  1. Enter thru the West Door, 611 Clark, Ames, Iowa.
Where Do I park?
  1. Park in the further lot from the back west door so that guests can use our closer lot.
What do i do when I arrive for my volunteer shift?
  1. Wash your hands at the hand washing station
  2. Use the “Timeclock” menu tab on the website foodatfirst.com/timeclock to start your time (computers are available or you can use your phone). Every volunteer needs to timeclock in for every shift! Remember your username/password and timeclock in & out when you arrive & leave. Use our computer or your smartphone connected to Food at First WiFi. If using your smartphone MyImpactPage.mobile is easy for timeclocking (if connected to FoodatFirst WiFi)
  3. Wash your hands again and often during your volunteer shift
What do i do during my volunteer shift?
  1. If you have signed up for a Prep shift, you will be prepping food for the daily meal that day. The Head Chef will give you specific instructions.
  2. Ask how you can help!
  3. Be patient and courteous
  4. If you have signed up for a Serving/Clean-Up shift, you will be serving the meal and cleaning after. The Head Chef will give you specific instructions.
  5. Ask how you can help! and be patient and coureous.
  6. If you have signed up for a Free Market shift, you will be prepping food and helping distribute items to guests during the Free Market open hours.
  7. Ask other volunteers how you can help!
What do i do after my volunteer shift?

Once you are done with your shift, please timeclock out using the “Timeclock” tab on the website to end your shift (remember your username and password).

Thank you for volunteering !!

What if i have a conflict and cannot serve for a shift i signed up for?

To remove yourself from a shift. Login FoodatFirst.com/login, click the Schedule tab, find the shift you are assigned to and click x Remove

You may remove yourself up to 12 hours prior to your shift, if less than 12 hours from your shift please email Patty Yoder

How old do i have to be to volunteer?

Anyone 5th Grade or 10 years or older is welcome to sign up for a volunteer position. A parent or adult should volunteer alongside anyone age 10 to 13.

Can I bring a friend or relative who has not signed up for a shift?

We encourage you to have your friends and relatives sign up for a shift and volunteer with you, but please do not bring extra volunteers who have not signed up. Food at First has carefully calculated how many volunteers are needed for each shift and it is important for Food at First to have a record of volunteers.

if i don’t see any spots open on the volunteer sign up, can i still help with a meal?

Check back regularly as spots open up if someone has to cancel their shift. Shifts are open month by month so check back towards the end of the month to sign up for a shift. If there are no slots open, then Food at First really does not need help for that shift.

if i don’t see any spots open on the volunteer sign up, is there another way i can volunteer?

Food at First often has other “less glamorous” jobs that could be filled, such as defrosting freezers, mopping floors or deep cleaning. Please email Patty Yoder, let us know your deadlines and when you might be available. Food at First encourages teachers/professors to have students check as far in advance as possible, we all have a tendency to wait until the last minute.

i haven’t volunteered in a while and now better IMpact won’t let me sign up for shifts, what do i do?

All volunteers that have not served a shift in over 6 months are archived in the Better Impact System. To start volunteering again with your same account, please email Patty Yoder, and we will switch your account back to active.

We have a group who would like to volunteer, how can we sign up?

We encourage groups to volunteer. It is a great way to get to know each other and serve the community at the same time!

  1. Look at the monthly calendar (click on the arrows in the upper left corner of the calendar to check future dates).
  2. Figure out 2-3 dates that work for your group and email Patty Yoder with the dates you are available, number of volunteers, and organization you are affiliated with (if applicable). Please include Volunteer Group on the subject line.
  3. You should expect a reply within a week – if you do not see one, please feel free to email again.
What do the letters on the monthly calendar mean?

HC stands for Head Chef.  Prep is the preparation shift, and S/CU stands for Serve / Clean Up.  If there are letters after these words, they are the initials of the group who is hosting the meal (for instance, CPC = Collegiate Presbyterian Church).

I signed up. I can login but don’t see a way to Sign up for a volunteer shift and I don’t see the Food at First opportunities tab

Question: I signed up and can log in with my Username and Password but I don’t see a way to sign up or a Food at First opportunities tab.

The most likely reason you don’t see the Food at First Opportunities tab is because the 2nd page of the application didn’t get submitted. The 2nd part of the application process asks if you can you lift 60 pounds and what age group you are in. Maybe your internet connection had trouble before you got the 2nd page submitted, the good news is the system will remember your password and username and all the questions you answered so far.


  • 1) go to FoodatFirst.com
  • 2) click Volunteer 
  • 3) click  Sign Up or Sign In to Volunteer  button
  • 4) A new page opens. Under I already have a username enter Username and Password
  • This will start the application process again, you don’t need to enter contact details, the system will remember
  • 5) Continue with the application. Answer the questions with the flags next to them
  • 6) at the bottom of the page click   Submit Application   button
  • 7) Once you Submit the Application, you will see all other tabs and can sign up for a volunteer shift

If you still have trouble signing up let us know, we want you to volunteer!