Role: Volunteer at our warehouse

The Harpenden Foodbank Warehouse is the backbone of our organisation. It is run entirely by volunteers and is open 3 afternoons a week.

Here's an overview of what our volunteers do each week:

The Harpenden Foodbank Warehouse is the backbone of our organisation. It is run entirely by volunteers and is open 3 afternoons a week.

Donations are collected from numerous drop off points around the local area and brought here for processing. They are then sorted, dates checked and marked and all items carefully stacked away.  On a weekly basis we create the food boxes that will be delivered to each of our distributions centres so that they can be given to those who are in need.

Here’s an overview of what our volunteers do each week:

About the warehouse

The warehouse is currently based at 28-30 Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden, AL5 4UN.  The warehouse is unheated, so dressing warmly is important, especially during spells of cold weather.  Limited parking is available at the warehouse.

Food Donations

Food is donated by just about anyone – supermarket shoppers, churches and other religious organisations, schools, companies and individuals.


We have Permanent Collection Point (PCP) boxes in a number of supermarkets throughout the district.  These are emptied once or twice a week on a schedule normally by our van but sometimes volunteers will also collect when the van is otherwise occupied.

Harvest Festivals

In most cases Harvest Festival collections are collected by our van, although in some cases the school or other donor may deliver to the warehouse.

Other donations

In most other cases, the donations are dropped off at the warehouse.


All donations are weighed and recorded in the stock-in binder before being transferred onto the computer system.  Each item is then checked to ensure that the item is within it sell by date and is undamaged.  The month and year by which we need to use the item is written on the with a permanent marker in the format MM/YY.

Items are then sorted into type e.g. beans, soup, pasta and year before being stored in stackable crates ready for use when needed.

Distribution of food

Each week boxes are packed, normally on a Thursday from 11:00 – 13:00, using picking lists.  Each box is then weighed, labelled and recorded before being stacked ready for distribution to our distribution centres.

Our van has a number of ‘rounds’ where it takes boxes to a distribution centre, then goes to collect from a supermarket PCP, returns to the distribution centre to pick up empty boxes and vouchers before returning to the warehouse.

On Tuesdays and Fridays from 12:00 – 15:00, the volunteers on those days ensure that:

  1. the packing area is fully stocked in readiness for the next packing day; and
  2. carry out the processing of donations described above.

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