Cooking Matters

Give Back





1. Fill out our online volunteer application

You can find our application by clicking here. An 18 Reasons staff member will follow up within a week. You can also call or email us at any time. 

2. Complete the Cooking Matters online volunteer training

You can find the online volunteer training on the Share Our Strength website.

3. Shadow an ongoing class

When you visit, the class coordinator will walk you step-by-step through a typical Cooking Matters class. You’ll have the chance to observe other volunteers teaching and ask any questions you have about the program.

4. Sign up for an open volunteer position

We post new volunteer positions every two weeks and fill them on a first come, first served basis. To sign up, please review our class schedule and call or email us. Only the series that have "volunteers needed" listed below have open volunteer positions. 

5. Attend a Class Zero

Once you are signed up for a class, your class coordinator will invite you to a Class Zero meeting where you will meet your volunteer team, get to know the classroom space, receive a copy of the curriculum, and prepare for your first class.





Cooking Educator

You are a cooking enthusiast! During class, you will lead highly participatory cooking lessons featuring simple, healthy recipes. You will demonstrate and practice basic cooking techniques and terminology, proper knife handling, and food safety and sanitation measures. You will work with the 18 Reasons staff coordinator and class participants to select recipes for class each week. The coordinator brings the food and cooking equipment.


Nutrition Educator

You do not have to be a professional nutritionist or dietitian to succeed in this role; you just need a love of healthy eating and an eagerness to help others. Some of our nutritionist volunteers do have a background in nutrition, food science, dietetics, or a related field, but it is not required. Class topics include using MyPlate as a tool for healthy eating, planning balanced meals, eating healthier fats, food budgeting, serving sizes, reading nutrition labels, and physical activity. The classes are intended to be interactive, and the nutrition educator facilitates open-minded conversation in class including using activities and visual aids that are provided by 18 Reasons.


Class Assistant

Class assistants primarily help instructors and facilitators with classroom set-up, food preparation, activities and clean up. Other duties may include packing groceries for participants to take home, unloading and loading kitchen equipment, and washing dishes. Many people volunteer as a class assistant for their first series.



Classes meet once a week for six weeks.
 Classes are held anytime between 9:00am and 8:00pm, Tuesday-Friday.
 Each week, the classes require a time commitment of two hours plus 30 minutes of prep time and up to 30 minutes of clean-up each week.
 In addition, communication with the Cooking Matters coordinator regarding class scheduling and the curriculum is expected. 
Volunteers are encouraged to contribute to all aspects of the class, including set-up, clean-up, and food preparation.


If you have questions about volunteering with the Cooking Matters program,
please email


Please note: if you are interested in volunteering for events in our 18th St. Classroom (i.e. the events posted here), you must attend a separate orientation. To review the steps to volunteer for 18th St. Classroom events, please click here and follow the directions for "18th St. Classroom Crew." 



San Francisco County Classes

Cooking Matters for Teens
Wednesdays, 12:40pm-2:17pm, April 17th-May 22nd
Abraham Lincoln High School 2162 24th Ave SF

Cooking Matters for Kids
Fridays, 3:30pm-5:00pm, May 3rd-May 31st
Hillcrest Elementary 810 Silver Ave. SF

Cooking Matters for Kids
Wednesdays, 12:30pm-2:00pm, June 12- July 17th
Monroe Elementary 260 Madrid St. SF

Cooking Matters for Adults
Wednesdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, July 3rd- August 7th
North East Medical Center 728 Pacific Ave, SF
Volunteers needed: Chef Educator, Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Adults
Thursdays, 10:00am-12:00pm, July 18th- August 29th
Sister Mary Philippa Health Center, 2235 Hayes St. SF
Volunteers needed: Chef Educator, Class Assistant

Alameda County Classes

Cooking Matters for Kids
Fridays, 3:30pm-5pm, April 26th- May 31st
ASPIRE School 6200 San Pablo Ave Oakland, CA 94608

Cooking Matters para Padres (Spanish)
Wednesdays, 5:30pm-7:30pm, May 15th- June 19th
Family Resource Center 725 Whipple Road, Union City, CA 94587
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters For Families
Saturdays, 10am-12pm, May 18th-June 8th (4-class series)
Our Families Coalition Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St Berkeley, CA 94702
Volunteers needed: Nutrition Educator, Class Assistant

Cooking Matters For Adults
Tuesdays, 1:30pm-3:30pm, June 11th-July 16th
Bay Area Community Services 629 Oakland Ave Oakland, CA
Volunteers needed: Nutrition Educator, Class Assistant

Contra Costa County Classes

Cooking Matters for Adults
Fridays 10:30-12:30pm April 5th-May 24th (skipping 4/19 & 5/17)
Eden Housing 2 Irwin Way, Orinda, CA
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters para Padres
Thursdays 1-3pm April 11th-May 16th
Cesar Chavez Childcare 1187-A Meadow Lane, Concord, CA
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Families
Thursdays 6:00-8:00 pm April 25th-May 30th
Rubicon Programs 101 Broadway Rd. Richmond, CA
Volunteers needed: Nutrition Educator, Cooking Educator

Cooking Matters para Padres (Spanish)
Fridays 9:00-11:00 am April 26th-May 31st
Richmond High School 1250 23rd St, Richmond, CA
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Adults
Wednesdays 1-3pm May 1st- June 5th
EAH Housing Crescent Park 5004 Hartnett Dr. Richmond, CA
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Adults
Wednesday 5-7pm May 1st-June 5th
Lifelong Brookside Clinic 2023 Vale Rd, San Pablo
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Adults
Wednesdays 1-3pm May 8th-June 19th (skip 6/12)
Healthy Hearts Institute, 62 Treatro St. Pittsburg CA
Volunteers needed: Cooking Educator, Class Assistant