18 Reasons depends on an active and vibrant team of volunteers to carry out our mission: empowering our community with the confidence and creativity to buy, cook and eat good food every day. 

As a volunteer, you are an essential part of our organization’s success. Therefore, we strive to make your experience satisfying. We encourage you to have fun, to learn, and to share what you glean with others. We hope that your service will be a valuable experience that contributes to your life.

Interested in Volunteering? We have two programs with different onboarding steps for volunteers: 18th St Classroom in the Mission District in SF and in Cooking Matters classes around the Bay Area. Read on for next steps.

18th St Classroom Crew Volunteers

18th St Crew members set up the classroom and kitchen, serve guests, assist chefs and instructors, and clean up. Volunteering takes place at 3674 18th St. in San Francisco. Volunteering has many perks, including working alongside our instructors and chefs, connecting with other food-loving people, receiving recipes for the events they assist, and free food from events. Crew members may earn additional benefits by fulfilling the volunteering requirements, such as free year of membership to 18 Reasons, a free or discounted ticket to 18th St. Events, and Bi-Rite Market gift cards.

Due to the schedule of our public classes and events, we prioritize training volunteers who are available on weeknights and Sunday evenings for 6 hour shifts. Volunteer shifts are 5-10:30 pm Monday through Thursday, 5-11 pm on Fridays, 10 am-3 pm on Saturdays, and 3-9 pm on Sundays. We expect volunteers to be present the entire time of the shift.

If you are interested in volunteering for the public classes and events at our 18th St. Classroom in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, we ask that you fill out an application for review. Please note that our 18th St. volunteer crew is currently at capacity, so applications to volunteer in our 18th St. classroom are currently closed. We encourage you to check out volunteering for our Cooking Matters program instead, as there is still a lot of opportunity to give back through this free community program for low-income families.

Once your 18th St. crew application is submitted, we will review, and email you if we approve of your application to join the 18th St. Crew. New crew members are required to attend a 2-hour orientation. We may hold another orientation in 2020, depending on the need for new volunteers. After the orientation, you will be able to sign up for volunteer shifts right away. To stay an active member of the 18th St. Crew, we ask that you volunteer a minimum of 6 times a year.

Have additional questions? Please email volunteering@18reasons.org.


If you are interested in volunteering in our Bay Area-wide cooking workshops for low-income families, please read the below information to learn more about how to get involved. 18 Reasons shares our culinary skills and creativity with local communities through Cooking Matters, a program offering free, six-week cooking and nutrition classes throughout San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties. 

Each Cooking Matters class is taught by a volunteer Cooking Educator, Nutrition Educator, and Class Assistant, and this stellar instruction team is led by an 18 Reasons staff coordinator. You don’t have to be a professional chef or nutritionist to volunteer – if you are passionate about healthy food and eager to engage others, we welcome you as a volunteer. Cooking Matters volunteers are required to commit to a six-week series of classes.

Classes are held anytime between 9am and 8pm, Tuesday through Friday.
 Each class requires a time commitment of two hours plus half an hour of prep-time and about 20 minutes of clean-up, as well as communicating with the 18 Reasons staff coordinator between classes. 
Volunteers contribute to all aspects of the class, including set-up, clean-up and food preparation.

The steps to becoming a volunteer for Cooking Matters, as well as answers to FAQs about the program, can be found here.

Have additional questions? Please email cookingmattersvolunteers@18reasons.org.


Join your fellow volunteers in our 18 Reasons Volunteers Facebook group (link here). After your group membership is approved by staff, you can get to know your fellow volunteers and learn from one another.

We send a quarterly email newsletter to current volunteers with recipes and information from staff and our community partners. We also will invite you to socials and gatherings throughout the year. Thank you for your service to our organization and community!