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

Cooking Matters for Adults
Wednesdays, 6:00pm-8:00pm, August 7th-September 11th
Lighthouse for the Blind,1155 Market, SF

Alameda County Classes

Cooking Matters for Families
Wednesdays, 3:30pm-5:30pm, July 17th-Aug 28th (Skip Aug 7th)
Tri-City Health, 39500 Liberty, Fremont
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Adults

Thursdays 3-5pm, July 25th-August 29th

Civic Center 14 Apartments, 632 14th St., Oakland

Cooking Matters para Familias
Wednesdays, 2:30pm-4:30pm, July 31st-Sept 4th
La Familia Hayward 22366 Fuller Ave, Hayward, CA 94541
Volunteers needed: Chef Educator, Class Assistant

Cooking Matters para Adultos
Thursdays, 9-11am, Sept 5th-Oct 10th
Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center 16110 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94578
Volunteers needed: Chef Educator, Class Assistant

Contra Costa County Classes

Cooking Matters for Kids
Tuesdays 2:00-4:00pm June 18th-July 30th (skipping July 23rd)
EAH Housing Crescent Park, 5004 Hartnett Dr., Richmond, CA
Volunteers needed: Chef Educator, Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Teens
Thursdays 1-3pm July 11-August 15th
YES Nature to Neighborhoods, 3029 Macdonald Ave, Richmond, CA
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters para Padres
Friday 9:30-11:30am July 12th-August 9th
First 5 East County, 355 East Leland Road, Pittsburg
Volunteers needed: Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Adults
Thursdays 12-2pm August 15th-Sept 19th
Miraflores Apts 150 South 45th Street Richmond,CA
Volunteers needed: Nutrition Instructor, Chef instructor, Class Assistant

Cooking Matters for Families
Saturdays 10:30-12:30 pm September 7th-October 12th
San Pablo Community Center, 2450 Rd 20, San Pablo, CA
Volunteers needed: Nutrition Instructor, Chef instructor, Class Assistant