Volunteers Serving Food

Hunger remains a potent problem for many Americans. Forty-one million Americans suffer from hunger. Therefore, food insecurity is a problem that many Americans want to do something about.

Fortunately, a variety of nonprofits exist - such a like food pantries, meal services and shelters. Many of these systems operate on volunteer labor. These volunteers are dedicated and a godsend to these nonprofit organizations. But they do present a liability risk.

Whenever volunteers enter your nonprofit, you must protect them. Nonprofits have the option of insurance to help them protect their volunteers.

Volunteer Insurance

Volunteers pose risks to the organization, and the organization poses risks to them. Your organization’s insurance policies should address these two factors. A couple of specific forms of protection might serve volunteers effectively:

  • Volunteer Liability Insurance: Volunteers often complete extensive work. If they make a mistake in their duties – including food service - they might harm one of the organization's guests. That person might sue the organization or the volunteer. This coverage can help the volunteer compensate the injured person or cover legal expenses.
  • Accident Medical Reimbursement: Because of their duties, volunteers might sustain accidental injuries. This coverage might provide help them afford medical care or other recovery costs.

The nonprofit's broader insurance also often provides benefits for volunteers. For example, workers compensation or commercial auto insurance might provide added benefits. When you enroll in insurance, tell your agent specifically how you plan to utilize your volunteer workforce. Your agent can help you determine which coverage options you need to most benefit those workers.

Keeping Your Volunteers Safe

Even if you get insurance for your volunteers, you still must protect them against risk. You'll want to prevent volunteers from sustaining or causing harm. There are things that all food service non-profits can do to enforce safety:

  • Make sure that all volunteers acknowledge certain safety rules to keep themselves safe. Post notices throughout your food service areas. These should mark hazards and provide preparation and safety instructions.
  • Require all volunteers to abide by certain sanitation requirements. These might include washing hands, and wearing masks, hairnets and gloves.
  • Teach your service and preparation teams how to cook and serve food safely. Do not let them provide contaminated or undercooked items to patrons.

Do your best to keep your volunteers safe at all times. Should the volunteers cause damage to the nonprofit, work with them to settle the damage.

Insurance can likely provide assistance, provided you have adequate coverage. Contact California Church Insurance Services to review your coverage today.

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