Volunteer with Cooking Matters

18 Reasons offers free hands-on cooking and nutrition 6-week series to Bay Area communities through our Cooking Matters program. We work in partnership with various community sites and schools and provide the program to kids, teens, adults, and families. The classes are facilitated by a teaching team of an 18 Reasons staff member and volunteers as the cooking, nutrition, and class assistants for the series. Volunteers are an essential part of our organization! 

We have volunteer opportunities available for community-minded helpers passionate about sharing their love of good food, home-cooking, and supporting our vision of creating more equity and belonging through food education. There is no professional experience required to volunteer to teach a Cooking Matters series. We accept volunteers on a rolling basis. 

How to Become a Cooking Matters Volunteer

1. Fill out our volunteer interest form
Please complete the short volunteer interest formAn 18 Reasons staff member will follow up with you within a week. 

2. Sign up for an open volunteer position in a series 
We post new volunteer positions as they become available, and we fill them on a first come, first served basis. To sign up, review our class schedule below and email us to let us know what series and role you're interested in. If nothing fits your schedule right now, please fill out an interest form to receive updates on future classes. 

3. Complete the self-led volunteer trainings online and familarize yourself with the curriculum 
The volunteer manager will provide trainings once your application is completed. 

4. Submit proof of the COVID-19 Vaccination and valid Food Handler card 
It is required that all in-person volunteers submit proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and have a valid Food Handler card. Please submit here or email cookingmattersvolunteers@18reasons.org copies of these documents. The Food Handler Card through SafeServ costs $15 and takes about 1-2 hours to complete training, we are able to offer reimbursement if needed. All volunteers must be masked during class. 

5. Shadow a Cooking Matters class
When you visit an ongoing class series, the 18 Reasons Program Coordinator on site 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. 

Cooking Matters Volunteer Role Descriptions

Cooking Educator Role Description (In-Person) 
You are a cooking enthusiast! No professional experience required, just a love of sharing home-cooking and food. 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 Program Coordinator and class participants to select recipes for class each week. The coordinator brings the curriculum, food, and cooking equipment — no need to bring anything other than yourself and the instructor manual 18 Reasons will provide you. Required to have a valid CA Food Handler Card, the SafeServ certificate costs $15 and takes about 1-2 hours to complete training, we offer 20% off with the code EMPLOYEE20 

Nutrition Educator Role Description (In-Person) 
You do not need to have a professional background as a 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 using activities, lesson plans, and visual aids provided by 18 Reasons. Required to have a valid CA Food Handler Card, the SafeServ certificate costs $15 and takes about 1-2 hours to complete training, we offer 20% off with the code EMPLOYEE20 

Class Assistant Role Description (In-Person) 
Class assistants primarily help the teaching team with classroom set-up, food preparation, and cleaning up. Class assistants often do interact with students to help support their learning. Common class assistant duties include packing groceries for participants to take home, loading/unloading kitchen equipment, and washing dishes. Required to have a valid CA Food Handler Card, the SafeServ certificate costs $15 and takes about 1-2 hours to complete training, we offer 20% off with the code EMPLOYEE20 

Time Commitment

Cooking Matters classes meet once a week for six weeks. and we ask that volunteers are able to commit to a full 6 week series. Classes are held anytime between 9:00am and 8:00pm, Tuesday-Friday.
 Each week, Cooking Matters classes require a time commitment of class time, plus 30 minutes of prep time before class, and up to 30 minutes of clean-up after class (so that's 3 hours per week).
 In addition, communication (via email) with the Cooking Matters Program Coordinator about class scheduling, curriculum, etc. is expected. 
Volunteers are encouraged to contribute to all aspects of the class, including set-up, clean-up, and food preparation. If you need support around transportation, please reach out. 

Volunteer Benefits

We love our volunteers! In addition to creating and empowering community through food, volunteers receive a complimentary 18 Reasons membership, one meal per class, training and coaching, and are invited to volunteer appreciation celebrations! Volunteers earn a complimentary ticket to their choice of 18th Street Kitchen class after volunteering for 3 Cooking Matters series in year! 

Available Volunteer Opportunities

See below for our current and upcoming schedule of Cooking Matters series. Refer to the schedule to find a class to shadow or sign up for an open volunteer role for an upcoming series. We update the schedule on a rolling basis. Email cookingmattersvolunteers@gmail.com to sign up or with any schedule questions. *All in-person volunteer positions should plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of class time to help with set-up and plan to stay up to 30 minutes after class time to help with clean up. 

In-Person Volunteer Positions

San Francisco

Cooking Matters for Kids
2 - 3pm* Tuesdays Tuesdays Nov 29, Dec 6, Dec 13, Jan 10th, Jan 17th, Jan 24th
Bayshore Elementary School, 155 Oriente St, Daly City, CA 94014
All positions filled

Cooking Matters for Kids
10:30 am - 12 pm* Tuesdays Jan 17 - Feb 28th 
Lee Newcomer School 657 Merchant St, San Francisco, CA 
Class Assistant Needed

Cooking Matters for Adults
11 - 1pm* Thursdays January 19th - Feburay 23rd 2023
Dignity Health, 2235 Hayes St #5, San Francisco, CA 94117
Class Assistant Needed

Cooking Matters for Kids
12- 1:30pm* Thursdays January 19th - Feburay 23rd 2023
Hillcrest Elementary School, 810 Silver Ave, San Francisco, CA 94134
Class Assistant Volunteer needed 

Cooking Matters for Adults
11 - 1PM Wednesdays January 25th - March 1st 2023
Dish SF at The Windsor -  238 Eddy Street San Francisco, CA 94102 
Cooking Volunteer Instructor needed, Nutrition Volunteer Instructor needed, Class Assistant Volunteer needed 

Cooking Matters for Teens
4:30 - 6pm* Wednesdays January 25th - March 1st 2023
Southeast Asian Development Center - 166 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA 94102 
All positions filled

Cooking Matters for Adults
11- 1pm* Thursdays January 26th - March 2nd 2023 
Native American Health Center 160 Capp St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Nutrition Volunteer needed, Class Assistant Volunteer needed 

Cooking Matters for Teens
10:30am - 12pm* Fridays January 27th - April 7 2023 (every other week for 6 weeks)
Thurgood Marshall High School Access Class 45 Conkling St, San Francisco, CA 94124 
Cooking Volunteer needed, Nutrition Volunteer needed, Class Assistant Volunteer needed 

Cooking Matters for Teens
4 - 5:30pm* Tuesdays January 31st - March 14th 2023 (Skip Feb 21) 
KIPP Bayview Academy, 1060 Key Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124 
Nutrition Volunteer needed, Class Assistant Volunteer needed 

Cooking Matters for Teens
10:30am - 12pm* Tuesdays January 31- March 7th
Balboa High School Access Class, 1000 Cayuga Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112
Cooking Volunteer needed, Nutrition Volunteer needed, Class Assistant Volunteer needed 

Cooking Matters for Adults
10am - 12 pm* Wednesdays February 1 - March 8th
Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, 800 Presidio Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115
Class Assistant needed 

Cooking Matters for Adults 
11 - 12:30pm Thursdays February 16th - March 16th (5 weeks) 
Openhouse 65 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Nutrition Volunteer needed, Class Assistant Volunteer needed 

Cooking Matters for Teens
4:45 - 6:15pm* Tuesdays March 7 - April 18th (Skip March 28th)
College Track, 4301 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94124
All positions filled

Cooking Matters for Kids
3:30 - 5pm Tuesdays March 7 - April 18 (skip March 21)

Dolores Huerta School 65 Chenery St, San Francisco, CA 94131
Cooking Volunteer needed, Nutrition Volunteer needed, Class Assistant Volunteer needed 

Alameda County 
Cooking Matters for Adults
1:30-3:30pm* Fridays, January 6 - February 10
Lifelong East Oakland, 10700 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94605 
Class Assistant needed

Cooking Matters for Kids
2:35-3:50pm* Thursdays, January 12 - February 16 
Sylvia Mendez Elementary, 2840 Ellsworth St, Berkeley, CA 94705
All positions filled 

Cooking Matters for Adults
10:30am-12:30pm* Tuesdays, January 17 - February 24
Ala Costa Centers, 1300 Rose St., Berkeley, CA 94702
Class Assistant needed

Cooking Matters for Teens
12:30-1:50pm* Wednesdays, January 25 - March 8 (skip March 1)
Arise High School, 3301 E 12th Street, Unit 205, Oakland, CA 94601
Nutrition Volunteer needed, Cooking Instructor needed Class Assistant needed
*Proof of background check and TB test required to volunteer at this site*

Cooking Matters para Familias (Spanish series)
2:35-4:00pm* Fridays, January 27 - March 3
Sylvia Mendez Elementary, 2840 Ellsworth St, Berkeley, CA 94705
Nutrition Instructor needed, Cooking Instructor needed

Cooking Matters for Teens
2:45-4:00pm* Tuesdays, February 7 - March 21 (Skip February 21)
Lincoln High School, 2600 Teagarden St, San Leandro, CA 94577
Class Assistant needed

Cooking Matters for Adults
12-2jpm* Tuesdays, February 7 - March 14
Downtown Hayward Senior Apartments, 808 A St., Hayward CA 94541
Nutrition Instructor needed, Class Assistant needed

Cooking Matters for Adults
1:30-3:30pm* Fridays, February 24 - March 31
Lifelong East Oakland, 10700 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94605
Cooking Volunteer needed, Class Assistant needed

Contra Costa  

Cooking Matters para Padres (Spanish)
12:00 - 2:00pm*Tuesdays, January 10 - February 14
East County First Five, 355 E Leland Rd, Pittsburg, CA 94565
Class Assistant needed (it's okay if you don't speak Spanish for this role!) 

Cooking Matters for Families 
4:30 - 6:30pm*, Thursdays January 12 - February 9 (5-week series)
Rocketship Futuro Academy,  2351 Olivera Rd, Concord, CA 94520
Class Assistant needed 

Cooking Matters for Families 
3:30 - 5:30pm* Fridays, January 13 - February 17 
Garden Park Apartments, 387 Lisa Ln, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
All positions filled

Cooking Matters for Adults 
11:30 - 1:30pm*, Wednesdays, January 18 - February 22 
Native American Health Center, 2566 Macdonald Ave, Richmond, CA 94804
All positions filled

Cooking Matter for Teens 
2:45 - 4:15pm*, Wednesdays, January 18 - February 15 (5 weeks) 
Kennedy High School, 4300 Cutting Blvd, Richmond, CA 94804
Cooking Volunteer, Nutrition Volunteer, and Class Assistant needed 

Cooking Matters para Familias (Spanish
4:30 - 6:30pm* Tuesdays, January 31 - March 7 
Lifelong William Jenkins,  150 Harbour Way Suite 200, Richmond, CA 94801
All positions filled 

Cooking Matters for Kids 
1:30 - 2:45pm*  Wednesdays, March 1 - March 29 (5 weeks) 
Riverside Elementary School, 1300 Amador St., San Pablo, CA 94806 
Cooking Volunteer, Nutrition Volunteer, and Class Assistant needed 

Cooking Matters for Parents 
9:30 - 11:30am* Tuesdays, February 21 - March 28  
Hillview Junior High School,  333 Yosemite Dr, Pittsburg, CA 94565
Class Assistant needed 

Cooking Matters para Adultos (Spanish
9:30 - 11:30am* Wednesdays, February 22 - March 29 
Hillview Junior High School,  333 Yosemite Dr, Pittsburg, CA 94565
All positions filled 

Cooking Matters for Kids
1:30 - 2:45pm* Wednesdays, March 1 - March 29 (5 weeks) 
Riverside Elementary School, 1300 Amador St., San Pablo, CA 94806 
Cooking Volunteer and Class Assistant needed

Cooking Matters for Kids 
2:30 - 4:00pm* Wednesdays, March 1 - April 12 (skip 4/5) 
Dover Elementary, 1870 19th St, San Pablo, CA 94806
Cooking Volunteer, Nutrition Volunteer, and Class Assistant needed 

Cooking Matters for Kids
3:30 - 5:30* Fridays, March 3 - April 7
Los Medanos Apartments, 2000-2070 Crestview Dr, Pittsburg, CA 94565
Cooking Volunteer, Nutrition Volunteer, and Class Assistant needed 

Cooking Matters for Parents 
12:00 - 2:00* Tuesdays, March 21 - April 25 
East County First Five, 355 E Leland Rd, Pittsburg, CA 94565
Cooking Volunteer, Nutrition Volunteer, and Class Assistant needed 

Cooking Matters for Kids
3:00 - 4:30pm* Thursdays, March 16 - April 20 
Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL), 2200 Macdonald Ave, Richmond, CA 94801
Cooking Volunteer, Nutrition Volunteer, and Class Assistant needed 

Online Volunteer Positions

Cooking Matters at Home
4:00-6:00pm, Wednesdays, January 25 - February 15 (4-week series)
Online program over Zoom, in partnership with Rubicon Programs
Virtual Cooking Volunteer Instructor and  Virtual Nutrition Volunteer Instructor needed

Cooking Matters at Home
5:30 - 7pm Thursdays Feb 23 - March 16th (4 weeks)
Online program over Zoom, in partnership with Native American Health Clinic
Virtual Cooking Volunteer Instructor and  Virtual Nutrition Volunteer Instructor needed

Contact Us

If you have questions about volunteering with the Cooking Matters program or would like to sign up for one of the positions listed above, please email us at CookingMattersVolunteers@18reasons.org.