How You Can Help


You can sign-up to volunteer by clicking the button below.
Volunteer here

Volunteering at CFR is a rewarding experience. All of the tasks below are performed by volunteers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the days CFR is open and serving clients. We invite you, your friends, your co-workers or your faith community to come join us and see our amazing volunteers in action. Email our part-time coordinator or call 507-281-5061 for more information about how to become a volunteer.

Day Coordinator/Opener — greets the other volunteers, provides direction to drivers who pick up the food, sets up for food distribution, gives direction to the food sorters and provides training for new sorters, and helps ensure safe food handling by all volunteers.

Opener support — helps prepare coolers for the drivers, ensures a sanitary food sorting area, assists as drivers unload coolers and assists the day coordinator as needed.

Drivers —  use their own vehicles to collect food from a list of pre-determined donors.  Drivers pick up coolers loaded with ice packs at CFR, drive to each donor listed on their route, pack the donated food into the coolers, and return the full coolers to CFR.

Food Sorters — unload the food from coolers, sort it and place it in the walk-in refrigerator. Food sorters also help pull food from the freezers and help maintain the cleanliness of the freezers, refrigerator and coolers.

Food Distributors — help assemble and distribute bags of food to clients who visit CFR during open hours. As coolers loaded with food are emptied, food distributors also help wash coolers and put leftover food into the freezers or walk-in refrigerator.

Host/Hostess — greets clients in the vestibule and waiting area, helps distribute client surveys when needed, and provides additional help or information as needed.  The host/hostess may also help keep the food on the tables in the waiting area tidy or re-stock if needed.

Closer — provides food distributors with instructions on how to assemble client food bags, and any details about the night’s food inventory (shortages/surpluses), as needed. Closers also register new clients using the Community Information Sharing System (CISS), a computerized system card that allows them to use CFR and other county services. Closers must attend a one-time training to learn how to register clients in the CISS.

Volunteers age 55 and older: CFR is now partners with Common Good RSVP, a network for volunteers age 55 and over. Volunteers who enroll in Common Good can receive reimbursement for mileage to/from/during CFR volunteer activities. Common Good is a program of Catholic Charities Diocese of Winona, operated under the direction of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency. Common Good also provides supplemental insurance for volunteers. Enrollment forms are available at CFR.

Join the Board

CFR invites you to consider joining our board of directors. For information regarding our board’s responsibilities and any openings, please email us or call 507-281-5061. Please include your contact info and indicate that you want more information about becoming a board member.

Donate Food

CFR welcomes packaged food and food prepared in a professional/commercial kitchen that requires little or no preparation for clients to eat, including non-perishable products; juices, milk and other beverages in sealed containers; and prepared refrigerated/frozen items such as soups, sandwiches, salads and vegetables, pasta and potato dishes, bread, produce and desserts in commercially sealed packaging. We cannot accept home prepared food items.

CFR also welcomes nonperishable items, such as:

  • Canned meals: stews, soups, tuna, ravioli and other pastas, etc.
  • Peanut butter, and other nut butters
  • Canned vegetables
  • Grains: Cereal, rice, pasta and dried beans
  • Fruits: Fruit cups, dried fruit, applesauce, juice boxes and bottles containing 100% fruit juice.
  • Kid-friendly items: Granola bars, popcorn, graham or animal crackers, and fat-free/sugar-free pudding cups

CFR supplies food donors with packaging containers. Volunteer drivers collect food on Mondays, Wednesdays and/or Fridays, at a time convenient to the donor.

Garden produce: CFR also welcomes your extra garden produce of all kinds. Produce must be free of mold or decay and have enough shelf life to remain in good condition for at least 3 days. If possible, please pack your produce in cardboard boxes, crates, or other sturdy containers in order to prevent damage and bruising.

Prospective food donors can click here or call 507-281-5061 to leave a message for the CFR coordinator.

Donate Funds

By donating to CFR, you can help hungry people living in our community right now. Please make your check payable to Community Food Response, and mail it to: Community Food Response, Bethel Lutheran Church, 810 3rd Avenue SE,
 Rochester, MN 55904

You can Make a secure donation online right now. Your contribution will be processed by PayPal, a secure online donation service. You do not need to join PayPal to donate online.

Hold a Fundraiser

If you, your church, workplace, club or friends are interested in holding a fundraiser to benefit CFR, we are most happy to help you do so. Please send us an email or call our part-time coordinator at 507-281-5061.