Food at First Serves 825 RAGBRAI Spaghetti Meals

WOW !!

Food at First served 825 patrons during the big FAF RAGBRAI fundraiser on Tuesday July 24, 2018 from 11am to 8pm. 20,000 RAGBRAI participants peddled into Ames and 5% of them dined at Food at First. Generous RAGBRAI patrons donated almost $4000 to the Food at First cause and the comments were all positive !!  The FAF volunteers saved the day and turned out in droves! Chris Martin made spaghetti and his secret sauce for 12 hours straight from 8 am to 8 pm without leaving the kitchen! RAGBRAI patrons had tours of the Food at First facilities throughout the day and rested their weary biking legs in FAF’s very cool air conditioned dining area. What a great FAF day it was.

And YES !  FAF will be serving our regular meal again today, and tomorrow and the next day, just like every day at the main Food at First location, 611 Clark, corner of 6th and Clark, directly North of Ames City Hall.

FAF RAGBRAI by the numbers

  • 825 RAGBRAI meals served
  • 825 smiling RAGBRAI bikers with full bellies
  • 825 positive comments
  • 1 big air conditioned dining hall + 1 expansion dining area needed during the 4 hour rush.
  • 1 day of beautiful weather (84˚)
  • 500 bottles of Gatorade
  • 700 servings of fresh fruit
  • 1000 bottles of water
  • 400 pounds of ice
  • $3950 donated
  • 9 continuous hours serving meals (thank you to the serving crew volunteers)
  • 55 volunteers (thank you !!)
  • 60 homemade pies (thank you to those who made the pies)
  • 600 bags of chips
  • 100 pounds of hamburger (meatless sauce was also an option)
  • 8 bottles of wine (cooked in the spaghetti sauce)
  • 15 signs placed all over Ames, Iowa (thank you to the volunteers who created and placed signs that drew in the 825 patrons)
  • 1000 flyers (thank you to those volunteers who distributed flyers)

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

Posted in Uncategorized

FAF RAGBRAI Spaghetti Fundraiser Volunteers Needed


Food at First needs more volunteers for the big RAGBRAI fundraiser especially on Tuesday July 24, 2018 and a few more on Monday July 23, 2018.  If you have never volunteered at FAF, then FAF wants you to give it a try, and this would be a great day to start. If you have volunteered with FAF before, then FAF needs you to help. There are many shift openings from 8am until 10pm on the big day of RAGBRAI.  FAF will be serving at our Food at First location, 611 Clark, corner of 6th and Clark, directly North of Ames City Hall.

Are you in or near Ames on Monday or Tuesday of RAGBRAI? If so, please put Food at First in your heart and on your calendar and click here to volunteer during RAGBRAI!!

If you can’t volunteer to help, can you volunteer to bake a homemade RAGBRAI PIE?  If so click here to volunteer to make a RAGBRAI pie!!

Also, FAF wants you and your family to join in the RAGBRAI experience and stop by FAF for the Fundraiser Spaghetti Lunch/Dinner on Tuesday July 24, 2018.  The serving will start at 11:30 AM until 8pm. Free will offering.  Spread the word.

If you can’t help for RAGBRAI Food at First always is short of and needs summer volunteers and FAF needs you! .  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 !!

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



Posted in Uncategorized

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 !!



Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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 !!



Posted in Uncategorized


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 !!


Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Donations, Food, Special Events, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , ,