Thank you for volunteering to share our work with your community! This guide should provide the main talking points and logistical information you need to tell folks about Hope’s Harvest RI and what we do. Your time and efforts are invaluable in making sure we can deliver fresh, healthy food to people in need. Contact melanie@hopesharvest.org with questions or feedback on how we can make your experience as a Hope’s Harvest Outreach Ambassador better, and thanks for everything you do. 

Background

HHRI MISSION AND VALUES

Hope’s Harvest RI’s mission is to “bring local bounty to people in need”. We mobilize volunteers to rescue surplus food from farms and deliver it to hunger relief agencies across Rhode Island. As an efficient and effective solution to the challenges of food waste and hungry people, farm-based food recovery (also known as gleaning) strengthens our local food system and makes our communities less dependent on commodity food shipped from thousands of miles away. 

FIRST YEAR ACCOMPLISHMENTS  

  • Over 150 volunteers recruited
  • Gleaned 36,000 lbs of fresh local fruits and veggies 
  • Partnered with 17 farms in RI and southeastern MA 
  • Distributed food to 10 Hunger Relief agencies serving over 6,000 individuals per month 

GOALS

  • Along with farmers and hunger relief agencies, volunteers are a crucial part of our work; volunteers allow us to rescue far more produce than we would otherwise be able to. 
  • In addition to rescuing food, Hope’s Harvest RI volunteers also lend legal, financial, marketing and organizational assistance, deliver recovered produce, and help with special events.
  • Volunteer outreach and recruitment expands our network of volunteers and raises awareness of how HHRI addresses gaps in the food system. By empowering  people with knowledge and information, they can spread the mission of Hope’s Harvest RI to their networks as well. 

Logistics

REQUIREMENTS FOR OUTREACH AMBASSADORS 

  • Access to a car
  • Able to carry 20lbs of slightly awkward tabling materials
  • Able to conduct outreach events for a minimum of 3 hours per month
  • Flexible schedule to pickup/dropoff tabling materials at Farm Fresh RI offices in Pawtucket
  • Complete short Outreach Ambassador in-person training with Hope’s Harvest RI staff (email melanie@hopesharvest.org to schedule)
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, and a friendly and welcoming attitude! 

OUTREACH AMBASSADOR BASIC HOW-TOs

  • Sign up in Eventbrite for outreach opportunity. First time outreach ambassadors meet with Hope’s Harvest staff for training at Pawtucket office.
  • Prior to event, pick up tabling/event materials at Farm Fresh RI between 9:00 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday.
  • Arrive at farmers’ market or event 15 to 30 min before starting time to set up.
  • Conduct outreach, answer questions and encourage prospective volunteers to sign-up on sheets provided.
  • At the end of event, break down and store materials until you can return them (ideally within 24 hours)  to Farm Fresh RI offices between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM during weekdays.
  • Take a photo of sign up sheet(s) and email to: melanie@hopesharvest.org
  • If you are unable to make your scheduled event, notify HHRI staff at least 24 hours in advance at melanie@hopesharvest.org. Last minute cancellations should text 407-202-1838. 

TABLING/EVENT MATERIALS CHECKLIST

  • Sign-in sheet and clipboard
  • Poster board tri-fold and stands (4 brackets, 4 clamps)
  • Table
  • Table cloth,
  • Banner
  • Zip-ties
  • Table weights (4)
  • Chair
  • Clippers (to remove zip-ties)
  • Take-away program info postcards 
  • FAQ sheet
  • Pens

SITE SET UP INSTRUCTIONS

  • Please arrive 15-20 minutes before the opening of each market to set up 
  • Remove banner, zip ties, poster standards, any other materials from folding chair bag
  • Set up the chair, if desired, next to the table 
  • Open table and place leg side up; depress both pegs on either side of the leg at the same time to raise the legs (2x on each side) 
  • Once the table is upright make sure the drilled holes on the table edge are forward 
  • Fold the table cloth in half and lay across the table
  • Unroll the banner and place 2 zip ties in the holes of the table and through the  to the top of the banner, tighten. 
  • Arrange brackets (4) on the table so the short end is facing forward
  • Open tri-fold and place on brackets (Might take a few tries, it will get easier with time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a market staff member!)
  • Secure the brackets to the table using the clamps (to help secure from wind) 
  • Use 2 table weights to weigh down the legs of the table and/or materials if windy, by placing 2 behind the trifold for support
  • Double check that everything is secure and attractive and then place: sign up sheet, pens, and notecards on the table

Reaching Out

Hope’s Harvest RI has a few key ways of reaching out to event attendees that can help break the ice. We have found this language to be clear, concise, and descriptive enough to engage the attention of people just walking by. Please try this language a few times, and then see what works for you! Different people are drawn by different approaches – try to use your instincts, be friendly, respectful, and enthusiastic and you should be just fine. 

Opening Lines

  • Would you like to volunteer on farms to feed the hungry?
  • Would you like to learn more about how Hope’s Harvest gets fresh, healthy food to people in need? 

Follow up

  • Hope’s Harvest mobilizes volunteers to rescue surplus food from farms and distributes it to hunger relief agencies across RI. Last year we rescued 36,000 lbs of food! 
  • There is no experience or equipment required to be a volunteer
  • We encourage you to sign up but there is no pressure to volunteer; we send invitations out when we have upcoming trips and when you sign up for the event you will receive further details and instructions. You only sign up when it works for your schedule.
  • Being outside increases vitamin D production in your body which boosts your mood. The fresh air is vital for your lungs too!

Remember rejection is normal **Thank everyone ** It’s ok not to reach out to every person that walks by, but also make sure that your body language is open and inviting. 

Thanks again for your commitment to the work of Hope’s Harvest RI – we’re so grateful for your help and support! Again, direct feedback, questions, etc. to melanie@hopesharvest.org