Join the TBU Family of volunteers! Share your time, expertise and kindness to care for people in need. Meet other warm hearted people who generously donate their time in our kitchen, meal service, urban farm and warehouse. We are forever grateful to the countless volunteers who have contributed their time, commitment and effort to making A Real Meal a true success.

Volunteer Roles

Kitchen meal prep volunteers from 2 pm to 6 pm

Kitchen meal prep volunteers from 2 pm to 6 pm will be responsible for creating delicious meals using rescue food and produce for our street meal service under the supervision of our Head Chef and volunteers. This role will include engaging in all kitchen operations, including food preparation and cleaning. 

Meal service volunteers from 6.20 pm to 9.30 pm

Meal service volunteers from 6.20 pm to 9.30 pm will set up the communal dining space and serve an array of dishes buffet style to our friends on the street.  

Outreach/time caring volunteers from 6.20 pm to 9.30 pm

Outreach/time caring volunteers from 6.20 pm to 9.30 pm will spend the majority of their time engaging in general conversation with our friends on the street/clients in a relaxed atmosphere. This is not in place of counselling or therapy but a friendly, light chat. 

Logistic volunteers from 2 pm to 6 pm

Logistic volunteers from 2 pm to 6 pm will work with our Logistics Coordinator in:

  • Sorting through rescued produce

  • Composting 

  • Sorting, labelling and packing food donations

  • Sorting and packing fresh produce

  • Preparing a range of material aid to hand out at our meal service 

Urban Farm volunteer from 2 pm to 6 pm

Urban Farm volunteer from 2 pm to 6 pm will work with our horticulturalists to:

  • Maintaining existing vegetable garden beds

  • Weeding 

  • Compositing 

  • Planting new crops 

  • General garden maintenance

Sign up to volunteer

Over the past 12 years, we have proudly worked side by side with more than 38,000 volunteers and rescued over 492 tonnes of food from going into landfill. Our incredible volunteers have prepared and served more than 350,000 healthy, nutritious meals for our friends on the streets; rain or shine, every single week our volunteers have shown up. 

Fill out the form to join us at TBU

We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help support the running of our meal service! To register your interest or for more information, please fill out the form, email us at volunteering@thebigumbrella.org or contact us on 0499 012 150. 

Volunteering FAQ's

You can volunteer with a guardian present in our kitchen if you are between 15-17 years old. You must be 18 years old and over to volunteer at our Federation Square meal service.

We operate every Wednesday and Thursday.

Yes, we plan to open on Tuesdays in Brunswick. 

Our Brunswick kitchen meal preparation starts at 2 pm and finishes at 6 pm.

Our Federation Square meal service starts at 6.20 pm and finishes at 8.30 pm. Clean-up back at Brunswick begins at 8.30 pm, finishing at approximately 9.30 pm.

No. You can attend kitchen only from 2-6 pm or meal service and clean up from 6.20 pm to 9.30 pm.

Volunteers can attend on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

No, under current COVID-19 regulations, you do not have to be vaccinated; however, at The Big Umbrella, we continue to maintain covid safe practices.

All volunteers wear our pink TBU t-shirts to be easily identified in our kitchen and at our meal service. This works as our high-vis wear. You can purchase a new pink t-shirt from https://thebigumbrella.bandtshirts.com.au/ for $30.

Volunteers must wear closed toe non-slip shoes and long pants/jeans/leggings while in the kitchen to ensure safety.

A secure free car park shared with Middy's is available at Brunswick HQ. There is limited parking available at Federation Square, with paid on street parking available on Russell St and a Wilson Parking car park 3 minutes away from our location. 

Alternatively, if you are not driving there are several public transport options available. The Big Umbrella is a 3-minute walk from Brunswick Station and a short walk from Sydney Road trams. 

We have limited spots available in our TBU cars for volunteers to join from Brunswick HQ to Federation Square and back. 

No. All volunteers have different skill levels; you do not need any specific skills to volunteer in our kitchen. Other options are also available if cooking is not preferred, including volunteering in our Urban Farm or within our logistics team sorting rescued produce.

On your first day, you will go through an induction and a kitchen safety briefing. Before commencing meal service, all volunteers will go through a briefing. Our qualified chef and Team Leaders will continue to support you throughout your day. You will also shadow an experienced volunteer on your first day to ensure you have ongoing support.

Yes. At the end of our meal preparation at Brunswick HQ, we have a taste test where volunteers can try the delicious meals they created. We also highly encourage volunteers to grab a plate of food and share a meal with our friends on the street at some point during our meal service. 

To become a volunteer, you will need to fill out the above form. Volunteers must provide a current volunteer Working With Children Check and complete a free online Food Handling Certificate.


A volunteer Working With Children Check can be obtained for free from www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/ . The occupational code to use in the application is 40. If you already hold a WWCC through another organisation, you can add code 40 online.

The Food Handling Certificate can be completed at www.dofoodsafely.health.vic.gov.au . Upon passing, you will receive a  certificate that can be forwarded to volunteering@thebigumbrella.org .

No, if you are a teacher, you do not need to apply for a wwcc; however, you do need to provide a copy of your teaching license. 

Yes, you still need to provide a wwcc. 

No. Other than purchasing your t-shirt, there are no additional costs.

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