Summer Volunteers Needed

Food at First is short of and needs volunteers starting mid-May thru August every summer. Do you want to help FAF, maybe you have never volunteered at FAF, or its simply been awhile, if so, please put Food at First in your heart and on your calendar and volunteer this summer.

Food at First needs summer volunteers and FAF needs you! Click here to volunteer.  Please sign-up for a shift before arriving to make sure there is an available slot and to help FAF manage hundreds of volunteers including you! THANK YOU !!



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Welcome New Volunteers

Welcome to the Food at First Family

welcome logo w people

Oh … and Thank you for volunteering!

The most important Food at First ingredient is YOU, the volunteer ! Food at First appreciates you and your time. Without volunteers Food at First could not exist.


You will love your volunteer experience at Food at First.

When you Arrive at Food at First for your Shift

#1 Remember your username and password (its OK, write it down, just don’t leave it laying around). #2 Timeclock in when you arrive and timeclock out when you leave. There are multiple computers available. If you don’t know how please ask another volunteer.

You and your time are very important to FAF: Every volunteer needs to use the Timeclock for every shift. It seriously helps FAF administrators plan and schedule 2000+ Food at First volunteers per year. So please get into the habit of entering your time first thing when you arrive. Thank you so much.

What if I Cannot Serve My Shift?

If your plans change, your car breaks down, you don’t feel well, FAF understands, life happens and you are busy, but please remove yourself from your shift so others can volunteer.

To remove yourself from a shift. Login , click the Schedule tab, find the shift you are assigned to and click x Remove

You may remove yourself up to 24 hours prior to your shift, if less than 24 hours from your shift please email

During your shift

Don’t be bashful. Ask other volunteers “what can I do to help”. Sometimes there is a lull, be patient, but don’t worry, it won’t last long, 99% of the time there is a something that needs to be done. FAF is normally very humble, but what Food at First does is huge, important, and changes lives and you should be very proud of what you do and your contribution to the community. THANK YOU !

One more small favor we ask of you, please adjust your privacy settings

Other volunteers would love to see who is volunteering along side them. Take a minute to set your name to be visible. You control your privacy settings.

Here’s how:


Click Login then login

click MY PROFILE (top right tab), click contact information, click/check all 3 boxes under  Privacy Settings , click SAVE.

Email reminders

Directly under Privacy setting see  Subscriptions , enable email reminders of your upcoming shift. Receive 1 email reminder per week, only if you are signed up. Please enable email reminders so FAF can remind you when you have an upcoming volunteer shift.


Food at First, rear entrance, lower level of First Christian Church, corner of 6th and Clark

611 Clark, Ames, Iowa 50010

Thank you so much !!

Your Food at First family

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NBC Today Show features Food at First

Food at First on NBC Today show March 23 2018

Very exciting to see Food at First and Story Theater Company featured in a 3 minute piece on national TV which aired on the morning of Friday March 23, 2018.  See Patty Yoder, Carol Corneleous, and Abby Lee at Food at First in made for NBC Today show TV production.

Click here to view the BIG NEWS !!



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Donate Salt & Pepper shakers

Food at First was going to purchase Salt and Pepper shakers, but why not ask friends of FAF if they have extra shakers?

Salt and Pepper shakers at Food at First IMG_20180117 copy

So, please look in your cupboards, see what you have to donate. Any type, or kind of Salt & Pepper shakers.  Metal, plastic or glass.  If you have extra Salt or Pepper you want to donate that would be great too.

While you are at it, bring  ToGo containers to Food at First. Tupperware, rubber maid, or cottage cheese or butter containers with matching lids.

2018-05-12 update:  FAF has received 50 pairs of salt and pepper shakers since January 2018, but needs another 50 pairs, so if you have extras bring them in.   T H A N K S !!


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Christmas Day Meal 2017


What a wonderful Christmas day at Food at First. Thank you to the  150 total volunteers: 80 Christmas Day (Monday Dec 25 2017) volunteers + 70 prep-day volunteers (Saturday Dec 23, 2017) that made the Christmas Day Meal run very smoothly. One of the best days ever at FAF as FOOD AT FIRST served 501 meals from 11:30 am to 1 pm on 12/25/2017. 286 of those were take out Christmas meals, either picked up or delivered.

Food At First annual community-wide Christmas Day meal was served from 11:30am – 1pm on Dec 25 2017. Everyone is always welcome!


The most important Food at First ingredient is YOU, the volunteer.

76 FAF volunteers are signed up to prepare, serve cleanup the big community-wide Christmas Meal on 12/25/2017. If you are signed up thank you very much, please arrive at your designated time and clock in on the computer. If you are not signed up FAF is sorry, but please do not bring any extra volunteers. FAF knows you mean well, but there isn’t physically enough room for extra volunteers. If you are not signed up please DO attend and ENJOY the meal. Thank you very much for understanding.

As of 12/24/2017 one volunteer spot was still available at 9am on 12/25/2017, otherwise all the volunteer spots were filled. Thank you Food at First community for thinking of FAF on Christmas.

Sign-up and volunteer for Christmas 2017 at Food at First.

Family Volunteers

Families volunteering for Christmas, please sign-up each person in your family yourself, individually.  Its simple and fast.  We don’t physically have enough room for entire families unless they are all signed up with there own username and password. Thank you for understanding.

Everyone, please remember your username and password. Take 1 minute to timeclock in when you arrive & timeclock out when done with your shift. This helps Food at First a lot. Helpful hint: connect to FAF WiFi and use your smartphone to timeclock.

Christmas Volunteer Information

What a day this will be! Actually, 2 days! FAF volunteers start preparing for the big Christmas dinner 2 days before on Saturday Dec 23, 2017 and Christmas is on a Monday IMG_20161223_102950632this year. Prepare the meal, serve or cleanup. Christmas signups go FASTER and FASTER every year so Sign-up now. Thank you very much to all our caring volunteers !

Sat Dec 23, 2017 is the main food prep day. Food at First volunteers work hard, and have a great time cleaning, prepping and cooking 24 Turkeys. Volunteers wash dishes, setup the pie room, peel potatoes, slice turkeys, get supplies, clean areas, and generally have a great time . The first shift on Sat starts at 7AM and shifts run thru 4pm. Yes, you can sign up for more than one shift if you like.Jennifer making Christmas cranberries 2016 IMG_20161223_124647529

Christmas Day is the big meal (12/25/2017) shifts start early at 7AM and run thru 4 pm. The actual meal will be served from 11:30am to 1pm on Christmas Day and lots of cooking and more food prep will happen before 11:30am !!

Cleanup Volunteers

Cleanup volunteer shifts start at 1pm on Christmas Day Monday Dec 25, 2017. Cleanup is the most important part of the entire day. FAF would love for you to sign-up  for Christmas cleanup and please don’t leave your shift early. There is a prize if you stay till the very end.  See you there.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Did you miss signing up for Christmas?  Don’t worry, Food at First has volunteer opportunities every day of the year.  Its fun, its rewarding, you don’t need any experience, it will make you smile. Never volunteered before, its easy, click sign-up  today and volunteer at FAF.

Christmas Homemade Pie Donations

Sign up to bake and donate 1-pie, 2-pies, 4-pies or more.

Pies IMG_7042 Food at First Christmas Day Meal canon photobyEd pies pies pies copy

FAF loves Christmas homemade pumpkin or homemade fruit pies. If you can’t volunteer why not get in the Christmas spirit and please also consider donating a container or can of cool whip dessert topping too to go with the amazing pie you will bake.  As of today many slots are available to make pies.  If you have trouble figuring out our new PIE signup process please email

Homemade Pie Delivery time and location

Drop of pies to Food at First, 611 Clark, lower level Sat, Dec 23rd 2017 7am – 4 pm, or Sun Dec 24 2017 3:30pm – 6:30pm. A pie cooling rack will be in theHomemade pies here for Food at First IMG_20161223_102911687 main dining room 2 days before Christmas, Sat Dec 23, 2017 from 7 am – 3pm and also 1 day before Christmas, Sun Dec 24, 2017 from 3:30pm – 6:30 pm.

Please log in to your FAF account –> After logging in click OPPORTUNITIES and you will see the 2017 Christmas area, under that click either Bake 1 Pie or Bake 2 Pies or Bake 4 pies or more then click the Sign-up button.

Thank you for signing up and baking pies for another great FAF Christmas Day meal.

Oh, and if you have time, please also consider donating a container of dessert whip topping for the top of your amazing pie.

Everyone Welcome

Food at First Community-Wide Christmas meal 2017, Ames, Iowa Merry Christmas !!  Food at First is continuing this great tradition of hosting the annual Community-wide Christmas Day meal, free to anyone who would like to dine from 11:30 AM until 1 PM on December 25, 2017 in the lower level of First Christian Church, located at 611 Clark Avenue, Ames, Iowa.

The 2017 community-wide Christmas meal is for EVERYONE – Those who have a lot to be thankful for, those who are struggling, or lonely, those who have “more than enough” family …  everyone !! If you are reading this, you are invited!


Email  We hope to see you this Christmas!

New Signup Process – Food at First has a new signup system for Thanksgiving this year. If you have trouble figuring out our new signup process please email


Summary Christmas 2017 at Food at First – The FAF Christmas meal 2017 was amazing. 150 Food at First volunteers prepared enough food over 2 days (Saturday prep day and Monday Christmas Day) and served 501 guests (including 286 take-out meals) on Monday December 25, 2017 from 11:30 AM – 1PM.  By the numbers, 360 pounds of Turkey, 115 pounds of ham, 200 pounds of sweet and regular potatoes, 70 homemade pies, and a big thank you to the 150 volunteers over two days of preparation, serving and cleanup.

Pie drop off times

Sat, Dec 23, 2017  7 am – 4 pm
Sun, Dec 24, 2017  3:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Christmas Meal date and time

Monday December 25, 2017 11:30 am – 1 pm


Food at First, 611 Clark, Ames Iowa.


Sign-up for either Sat Dec 23 or Mon Dec 25

Food at First already knows what a wonderful 2018 we have in store for us, so get ready to volunteer in 2018, Food at First will have volunteer opportunities every day in 2018.

Thank you.

Christmas 2017 Flyer

Food at First Christmas Flyer PDF  <– Click to view or download printable flyer PDF, then please print/display prominently on business/public bulletin board.  Thank you.

Food at First Chirstmas 2017 flyer PDF 859KB

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Pass Along Party 2017 was held Dec 9 2017

Pass along Party 2017 Summary

2017 Pass Along Party was held December 9, 2017. Pass Along Party 2017 had a big impact putting smiles on many families faces in 2017:  By the numbers: 40+ volunteers, 2000+ very nice gifts donated, 200+ patrons received gifts, 100+ cookies eaten, 1 Santa, 200+ smiles. Thank you to all those that donated gifts or donated time or both.


The most important Food at First ingredient is YOU, the volunteer. Sign-up and volunteer for Pass Along Party 2017 at Food at First

Sign-up to volunteer.  Thank you to all the setup volunteers that helped setup from 1:30 – 4 PM and also to the event volunteers from 3:30 – 6 PM.


DO YOU LIKE TO BAKE?IMG_20161210_153610004

Food at First needs lots of homemade cookies for the Pass Along Party Sat Dec 9, 2017. Please bring to Food at First, 611 Clark, from 1:30-4pm (before the event) on Saturday December 9, 2017. THANK YOU !!

What to Donate

Gift Ideas – Please donate items for the “Pass Along Party”. We especially need children’s gifts, gently used or new toys, games, children’s books, dolls, toy trucks or other items. Please consider donating something YOU or your children love to receive for a gift? Sorry, no clothes, no furniture or other large items.

There will be a gift wrapping station, so please also donate gift bags, ribbons, tape, a few bows. FAF has plenty of wrapping paper this year so keep that till next year.
Other donation ideas: games, children’s books, new coloring books, a nice boxed set of gently used crayons or a set of colored markers. new children’s sticker books. Thank you so much !!

What is a Pass Along Party

Ames, Iowa – The PASS ALONG PARTY event is Saturday December 9, 2017 4-5:30pm at Food at First, back door, lower level, 611 Clark (First Christian Church) Ames Iowa.

Food At First hosts the annual Christmas PASS ALONG PARTY gifting or re-gifting event every December just before Christmas to help some special families in our community. Children and adults are given the opportunity to Christmas shop from the donations. The best part about it, FAF gathers gently used or new items you no longer need or that your kids have out grown. It is a great way to help make the holidays extra special for many families in our community that often struggle to put food on the table, let alone gifts under the tree. It is also great life lesson for your kids as well, especially this time of year. I am confident we can all find a toy around home that our children would never even miss. We accept new or gently used items, including household items because, keep in mind, kids shop for their parents too. We will even have a gift wrap station, so gift-wrapping supplies are greatly appreciated as well. Sorry, due to space limitations, we will not be accepting clothing or furniture or large items

Two (2) donation drop off times: Fri Dec 1, 2017 5:30-6:30 PM + 2nd drop off Tue Dec 5, 2017 1-2 PM. Please donate gently used or new toys, and other items (see above for what to donate gift ideas) to Food at First, 611 Clark, corner of 6th & Clark, lower level, Ames IA.

Drop off gently used or new donations to Food at First (First Christian Church, back door, lower level), 611 Clark, the corner of Clark and 6th, Ames Iowa.

Donation drop off times

Friday, Dec 1, 2017  5:30-6:30pm
Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017  1-2pm

PASS ALONG PARTY Event date and time

Saturday December 9, 2017 4-5:30pm


Food at First, 611 Clark, Ames Iowa.


Sign-up to volunteer at the Pass Along Party. Two volunteer shifts available: setup shift & event shift.

Pass Along Party FAF 2017

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30th Annual Food at First Thanksgiving Meal was Thur Nov 23, 2017


Thanksgiving 2017 at Food at First – FAF Thanksgiving meal 2017 was amazing, 100+ Food at First volunteers prepared enough food for 700+ patrons and served 581 actual meals on Thursday November 23, 2017, with over 200+ carry out meals delivered or picked up.  Don’t worry, the extra 120 meals will go to good use as the head cooks will cheerfully heat up the left-overs on Friday and Saturday at FAF. By the numbers, 474 pounds of Turkey, 130 pounds of ham, 250 pounds of sweet and regular potatoes, 100+ homemade pies, and a big thank you to the 100 volunteers over two days of preparation, serving and cleanup. Did we mention the weather that day was perfect, almost a sunny summer day at over 60˚. FAF is starting to think about Christmas Meal, so check back soon.

30th Annual Community-Wide Thanksgiving meal 2017 – Food at First is continuing this tradition of hosting the annual Community-wide Free Thanksgiving Day meal. 2017 marks the 30th year for the feast in Ames, which is free to anyone who would like to dine from 11 AM until 1 PM in the lower level of the church, located at 611 Clark Avenue.


Thanksgiving 2017 at Food at First – Sign up to volunteer at the 2017 Thanksgiving meal, prepare the meal, serve or cleanup. As of today, most shifts are full except there are still a couple cleanup shift openings from 1pm to 3:30pm, Thanksgiving signups go FASTer every year. Thank you very much to all our volunteers !!

PIE Donations

Thanksgiving 2017 – Sign up to make & donate a pie (or two or three) if you can’t volunteer, but would still like to help, then sign up to make and donate a pumpkin or fruit PIE ! As of today FAF has many slots available to make pies.  If you have trouble figuring out our new PIE sign up process please email

Donate Pies Thanksgiving 2017. Thank you for all the great homemade pies !!

Pies for the Thanksgiving meal can be dropped off at Food at First on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017 by 4 pm. Place your pie in the pie rack in the main dining hall near the kitchen.

Click sign up to get to your FAF account then click  “Log in to your account” it will be on the right side of the page or below. After logging in click OPPORTUNITIES  find the “2017 Thanksgiving” area, under that click “Pie donation” then click “Sign-up button.  Bring in 1, 2, 3 pies per signup. Thank you!

Everyone Welcome

Ames, Iowa It’s that time of year again!  The 2017 community-wide Thanksgiving meal is for EVERYONE – those who are struggling, those who have a lot to be thankful for, those who are lonely, those who have “more than enough” family …  everyone !! This Thanksgiving is the 30th year for this community feast, started originally in 1987 by First Christian Church and since 2012 the tradition has been carried on by Food at First which is now also located at First Christian Church, 6th & Clark, Ames Iowa. So a big thank you to FCC for initiating this very cool tradition.


Email  We hope to see you this Thanksgiving!

Sign Up

New Signup Process – Food at First has a new signup system for Thanksgiving in 2017. If you have trouble figuring out our new sign up process please email

Thanksgiving sign-up 2017. Thank you Thanksgiving volunteers. FAF couldn’t be FAF without you!

Click sign up to go to your FAF account then click “Log in to your account” it will be to the right or below. After logging in click OPPORTUNITIES and you will see the 2017 Thanksgiving sign-up area. Select any shift you want to volunteer click that shift and then click the sign-up button. Thank you.

Not registered with the new FAF volunteer system (implemented July 1 2017)? Click sign up  then click “Fill in an application”

FAF Thanksgiving 2017 flyer

FAF Thanksgiving 2017 flyer

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