There are many volunteer opportunities throughout D.C. to do good and give back. You can volunteer at a school, clean your local park on a weekend, or help out with animal adoptions. If your interests lie around good food and good people, what better way to get outside and engaged in your local community than to volunteer at your local farmers market?
As a new transplant to Columbia Heights in April of 2011, I was struggling to find my roots, you might say. I’d just left my first apartment in another neighborhood, due to circumstances beyond my control, after only two months in the District. I knew hardly anyone in Columbia Heights; during the long walk down 14th street to my apartment, I watched my neighbors socialize on the street and in the Civic Plaza. I wanted to meet them, but didn’t know how best to get to know my neighborhood. But I knew I’d want to do something related to my two big interests: people, and food. One late-night google search brought me to CHCM; an email to Justine, our volunteer coordinator, and I soon found myself at the bright orange info tent facing Kenyon Street on a sunny Saturday in June.
At the info tent, you serve as a “welcome” to the hundreds of people who walk by CHCM each Saturday at the Civic Plaza. During a two-hour shift, you answer questions from passerby, explain our Festibucks program to shoppers using nutrition assistance, sell merchandise, and advertise market fundraisers. There’s never a dull moment!
The market crew made me feel incredibly welcome after my first shift, and I made fast friends with market staff and other volunteers. I soon came to look forward to waking up early on Saturday mornings (especially before the temperature hit triple digits!). As the number of Saturdays I spent at market grew, I started to recognize our regular shoppers, and learned more about the issues facing both our vendors and our vibrant, changing, and expanding neighborhood. As the seasons changed, I got more involved, helped administer market surveys, and worked with market staff, volunteers, and board members to brainstorm new ideas for the market for 2012. This regular interaction with folks passionate about food access for all made me feel at home, no longer a weak-rooted transplant. Now, I’m on the board of the market, and am so excited that this year I’ll get to be a part of the market for our entire 35-week run, from this Saturday through December 15.
Whether it’s distributing Festibucks under the warm June sun, setting up tents on a balmy August morning, helping one of our vendors sell their fresh products, or serving cider to passerby on a brisk November afternoon, I hope you’ll consider joining us. You’ll be surprised how quickly the market grows on you. Read more and sign up on our “Get Involved” page, and email email@example.com with any questions.
Jessica, CHCM Board Member
Do you have a couple hours to spare on Saturday to help us? SIGN-UP TO VOLUNTEER TODAY! Our most needed volunteer opportunities are:
Set-up or Break-down Volunteer: Help set-up/break-down the community tents as well as farmer and artist areas for the day. Contact our volunteer recruiter.
Festibucks/Community Outreach Volunteer: Work the community table by helping to promote the Marketplace’s Festibucks program (we double WIC and food stamps!), sell t-shirts, distribute community information, and assist farmers. Spanish speakers are much needed for this opportunity! Contact the Market Manager and/or our volunteer recruiter.
Events Volunteer: Help us plan and execute our seasonal events. Contact our volunteer recruiter.
Chef’s Assistant Contact our Outreach Coordinator to assist with food demos.
Other skills or talents you want to bring to the market? Let us know!