Rachel's Table

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Volunteer Code of Conduct

Rachel’s Table of Western Massachusetts Volunteer Code of Conduct 

RTWM's efforts to alleviate hunger and reduce waste of our food resources in Western Massachusetts could not occur without the ongoing work of its volunteers.  The individual volunteer is an essential component of RTWM's success. 

This Code of Conduct is designed to provide all RTWM volunteers with a set of principles and expectations for appropriate conduct and behavior.  

All volunteers shall abide by and conform to these professional standards: 

  1. Volunteers shall act honestly and ethically while in the performance of their volunteer duties. 
  2. Volunteers shall treat all RTWM employees, volunteers, and community members and partners with respect, courtesy, and dignity.
  3. Volunteers cannot demand work to be done by staff; staff members have supervisors to whom they report. 
  4. Volunteers shall abide by community partner rules and requests when working directly with community partners, especially on community partner property.
  5. Volunteers shall abide by RTWM rules and regulations on food safety as well as specific guidelines in each of RTWM’s programs. This includes following RTWM requests on the amount and nature of food pickup.  Volunteers cannot unilaterally decide to take more or less than is allotted for RTWM unless under the discretion of RTWM staff.  Volunteers shall not take any donated foods for themselves, unless approved by the RTWM staff, such as in some gleaning operations.
  6. Volunteers shall not discriminate and shall be respectful of ethnic, national, and cultural differences.
  7. Volunteers shall not harass, bully, or mistreat staff, other volunteers, or community members or partners. 
  8. Volunteers shall obey all applicable local, state, and federal laws, while acting on behalf of RTWM, including all laws and regulations that govern appropriate conduct in the workplace.
  9. Volunteers shall deter wrongdoing and ensure accountability for adherence to the Code of Conduct.
  10. Volunteers shall assist and cooperate with all RTWM investigations.
  11. Volunteers shall report violations or suspected violations of the Code of Conduct. Violations should be reported to the assigned staff manager or the executive director.
  12. Volunteers shall seek assistance if they have questions about any volunteer guidelines, including the Code of Conduct. If a staff member or volunteer has any questions or concerns about the code of conduct or wishes to file a formal complaint, they may contact the staff manager or executive director. In cases where the staff manager or executive director are a part of the complaint, then the volunteer can file a formal complaint with the board president. 
  13. Retaliation in any form against a volunteer who, in good faith, reports a violation of this Code and/or possible discriminatory harassment is strictly prohibited and will result in appropriate disciplinary action for the party found to have retaliated against the volunteer.   

Additional Terms of Participation for Gleaning: 

  • Do not bring dogs or other animals to a glean as they are unhygienic and put our farm partners’ operations at risk.  
  • All minors must be supervised by an accompanying adult.  
  • Pay close attention to and follow all instructions provided by RTWM staff regarding designated gleaning areas, harvesting techniques, parking instructions, property boundaries, and other pertinent information.  
  • Arrive promptly at the event start time to ensure you receive all necessary instructions and information. 

Adherence to Policies 

RTWM develops policies, procedures, and guidelines based on input from staff and volunteers and in consultation with legal, finance, and risk management experts; our policies, procedures, and guidelines are updated regularly as new situations emerge. Volunteers are expected to comply with RTWM policies including those described in this document. Failure to comply may be grounds for disqualification and/or removal. 

Removal or disqualification procedures 

Depending upon severity of non-compliance with code of conduct, disqualification or removal may be immediate. In less severe cases, the procedures will include a discussion and verbal warning, followed by a written warning and finally disqualification and/or removal.  

Attendance and Punctuality 

RTWM requests volunteers be reliable and punctual in reporting for scheduled volunteer activities. While RTWM will attempt to be flexible in all cases, volunteers are expected to notify a staff member if they will be absent or late, so arrangements can be made for handling their responsibilities.  


Bullying may rise to the level of harassment and is therefore prohibited. Bullying is defined as unwelcome or unreasonable behavior that demeans, intimidates, or humiliates people, either as individuals or as a group. Bullying behavior is often persistent and part of a pattern, but it can also occur as a single incident. Some examples of bullying behavior include but are not limited to: abusive and offensive language, insults, teasing, and spreading rumors. It can also include manipulation of the work environment or psychological manipulation. 


Volunteers may be asked to complete paperwork, provide updated information (including proof of insurance), or complete a criminal background check for certain volunteer roles. Failure to complete these requirements may disqualify a volunteer from serving in a particular role. If appropriate based on the circumstances, volunteers who are disqualified for a volunteer role may have the option to explore other volunteer opportunities with their staff partner or with RTWM. 

Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco use 

Business-related activities must be conducted free from the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs. In addition, these substances may not be possessed or distributed on RTWM premises. During business functions where alcohol is served, volunteers and employees are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. 

Use of tobacco or e-cigarettes in RTWM offices, on RTWM premises, at RTWM events and functions, and while representing RTWM at any time or function is prohibited. 

While medical and recreational marijuana use is legal in certain areas of the United States, federal and state laws indicate that RTWM has no obligation to accommodate cannabis use in our offices or at our events. 

Volunteers cannot report to the workplace impaired, nor should a volunteer smell of marijuana per the expectation for scents and hygiene in the workplace. 

The workplace consists of all property and facilities owned, leased, or rented by RTWM, including grounds, buildings, vehicles, and any other equipment, and any site where an employee/volunteer performs work. 

Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act, employers must prohibit in the workplace the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of controlled substances, including marijuana that is otherwise lawful under state law. 

If the volunteer’s personal vehicle is parked within an area defined as the workplace, the rules governing a drug free workplace apply. If a volunteer parks in a private lot not under the control of RTWM, the volunteer is subject to any applicable restrictions of the property owner and the laws applicable to marijuana in vehicles. 

Good Stewardship/Liability 

Serving in a volunteer position requires good judgment and management of reasonable risks. All volunteers will be given a general company orientation and specific training to understand and manage the risks in carrying out their specific jobs. Volunteers will be required to comply with company policy and to conduct RTWM business at the direction of RTWM and within the scope of their duties as a volunteer. This will help minimize the risk of liability to RTWM and reduce the risk of injury (physical or economic) to the volunteer and the people the volunteer associates with or tries to help. 

RTWM activities with inherent risks may include the transportation and handling of food in volunteer cars and in RTWM vehicles, interacting with youth, organizing fundraising events (athletic or social), assisting staff in carrying out office duties, or serving in a governance role, on a committee or in a leadership role.  

RTWM indemnifies its volunteers against liability incurred while performing their volunteer duties conducted at the request of RTWM. RTWM purchases and maintains insurance policies, wherein volunteers are additional insureds, to provide the financial ability to fully indemnify, defend and settle any claims of liability. 

Term of disqualification and/or removal 

RTWM is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for both staff and volunteers. 

Volunteers who do not comply with the Code of Conduct may be subject to disciplinary action, including and up to disqualification and/or removal. 

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