Volunteer Opportunities with So What Else ... Can We Do To Help?

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So What Else?


Looking for a way to give back to your community? Support So What Else Food Security operations!

So What Else (SWE) (sowhatelse.org) is in need of volunteers to help with our food distribution and walk-up pantry operations. All of our operations follow CDC C19 protocols regarding safe social distancing, masking and sanitation precautions. Fully vaccinated volunteers are preferred.

Food Pantry Team

This is a person-to-person high-contact volunteer opportunity. Please do not sign up if you are immunocompromised. Volunteers must be ages 14 and older or accompanied by a parent / guardian.

Regular Opening Hours:
The Food Pantry is open to walk up clients from 10AM to 4PM Tuesday to Friday.

Volunteers are welcome from 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday. Typically, volunteers come anytime between 8AM and 3PM.

On Monday’s volunteers are primarily involved with deliveries (unloading; stacking in storage or designated area) or pickups (collecting food donations from retailers, farms, warehouses, etc.); not staffing the walk-up pantry.

On Sundays we need volunteers from 10AM to 4PM.

Shifts are usually 3 hours but we are flexible!

The SWE Food Pantry is located in the Lakeforest Mall (701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg) parking lot adjacent to the Ruby Tuesday restaurant entrance (you'll see a large shipping container, that's us!).

Volunteers assist with site set up and breakdown, loading / unloading pallets of food; breaking down large pallets of produce into parcels ready for pick up by clients in person or for delivery to distribution sites / homebound clients. Volunteers work with SWE staff on designated tasks and everyone is responsible for keeping all work and service areas safe and free of debris.

We are located outside so appropriate clothing is important! No open toe shoes; dangling adornments should be secured to prevent snagging; comfortable work clothes you expect to get dirty. Except in the case of extreme weather we will operate the pantry as scheduled. We'll post any closure notice on our website but you can text 240 705 4345 to confirm if we are operating during an extraordinary weather event.


  • Be prepared - We are outside 90% of the time so be sure to look up the weather for the day and dress appropriately
  • Be kind - Just because the service is free, doesn’t mean our service lacks in quality. Make sure you are always providing excellent customer service
  • Take initiative - there is always something to do. If you are standing around with nothing to do, ask someone how you can help.
  • Be prepared to sort through produce to remove bad food
  • Be prepared to lift 30 pounds regularly, 50 pounds occasionally
  • Please communicate if you are running late or cannot attend as scheduled
  • If you are sick, do not come in; please advise accordingly

For more information email swevolunteer@gmail.com

Delivery Drivers

So What Else is in urgent need of volunteer drivers to deliver food parcels to distribution points and client homes in DC Metro Area. This is a low contact volunteer service opportunity.

Prepared food parcels are picked up from So What Else located at Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg, MD between 9:30am-3:30pm* Monday- Sunday. Routes take 1-2 hours depending upon location and number of clients.

* We'll try to accommodate your schedule; alternative times may be arranged with our Delivery Manager if possible.

Drivers must use their own vehicle, be at least 18, have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance.

Drivers will receive on-the-spot orientation from our Delivery Manager.

Please respond to this opportunity by email to swevolunteer@gmail.com with the days and times of your availability.

Thank You for helping us in our mission to ensure that vulnerable families continue to have access to good food!

For more information, email swevolunteer@gmail.com or call 301 832 6272 to speak with the Delivery Manager.

Donation Center

Receptionist / Recorder / In-takes all in one role!

The donation center is open Monday - Friday 10AM to 4PM. We need a volunteer to be on site to accept incoming donations, record the dispersal of diapers and generally keep the office & donation space organized. Please email swevolunteer@gmail.com to inquire about available hours.

In-kind donations:

Items our communities need: household necessities, including cleaning supplies, infant / toddler and young persons’ clothes, gently worn clothing, shoes; games, exercise equipment, bikes, art supplies, paper plates, plastic cutlery, sandwich bags, etc.

Donations may be dropped off at our Collection Center: Lakeforest Mall (701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg), green entrance (next to the Ruby Tuesday restaurant) in the old 777 Spa location. Donations accepted M-F 10AM to 4PM.

To arrange for special donations / alternate times, please email swevolunteer@gmail.com with your requirements.

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About So What Else?



Mission Statement

So What Else's mission is to improve the lives of children and families living in underserved communities in the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area by providing food security, access to basic necessities, and high-quality out-of-school time programs in literacy, athletics, and the visual and performing arts while inspiring young people to give back to the community by creating volunteer opportunities for citizens of all ages.


So What Else (SWE) ... can we do to help? is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 and focused on building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through direct programming and in partnership with allied organizations. Our primary programming embraces two key areas: Food Security and Youth Development Programs.

SWE started with Youth programming and added Food Security as we witnessed the massive economic dislocations caused by the C19 Pandemic and the consequent explosion in food insecurity. SWE and its community partners operate several Food Relief programs in Montgomery and surrounding counties, in Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

SWE needs volunteers who share our passion for service and seek to have an immediate and lasting impact upon the lives and fortunes of those we serve. Our volunteers are essential to our ability to deliver reliable, accessible and high-quality education programming and food security services.

SWE welcomes volunteers of all backgrounds, experiences and capabilities. Our greatest needs at present are for Food Pantry helpers, Bulk Food Recovery & Distribution Warehouse workers, Delivery & Distribution drivers and Teacher's Aides / Classroom Assistants.

Please contact swevolunteer@gmail.com to share your area of interest and learn more about volunteering with SWE. Visit sowhatelse.org to learn more about our programs and impact! Thanks!

Crisis Support


We'll work with your schedule.


701 Russell Ave.Lakeforest Mall - Green Entrance in the old 777 SpGaithersburgGaithersburg, MD 20877



  • Disaster Response
  • Food Delivery / Distribution
  • Nutrition
  • Delivery
  • Transportation
  • Community Outreach


  • Teens
  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Driver's License Needed
  • Must be at least 14
  • Typical shift is 3 hours but we are flexible
  • Reliable. Dependable. Flexible. Pitch-in-and-get-the-job-done spirit

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