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  • 5 people are interested

Grocery Shopping for Refugee Families

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  • 5 people are interested

HIAS Refugee Resettlement Program at the Jewish Community Alliance is seeking volunteers to assist with grocery shopping for new and established refugee families in the greater Portland area. Volunteers should have a general level of experience shopping in both large superstore-type supermarkets as well as small, local specialty shops.

The qualities most likely to lead to a successful volunteer experience helping refugees with grocery store shopping are: the ability to think on one’s feet as grocery shopping can be surprisingly complex; respect for and curiosity about different customs, cultures, and languages; flexibility; the ability to discern when to help directly versus when to refer clients to HIAS/JCA staff; calm temperament; and a good sense of humor.

Volunteers can grocery shop to support newly arrived refugee families in two ways:

1. Pre-Arrival Grocery Shopping: Help us prepare for a new family’s arrival into temporary housing by picking up groceries to ensure that their refrigerator is full when they arrive in Maine. Cash and a grocery list are provided to the volunteer, and food will be delivered to the JCA (1342 Congress St in Portland).

OR (both)

2. Recurring Grocery Shopping (with Refugees): Support a refugee family by taking them grocery shopping on a weekly basis. KJFS will provide cash, grocery list, and family background to the volunteer. Schedule is flexible and based on volunteer availability. This is a simple, yet crucial role to help the refugee family adapt to life in Maine, as they will look to volunteers for guidance during the grocery shopping experience.

Where will the volunteer(s) work:
Volunteer will pick up refugee clients at their current residence and bring them to the grocery store.

When will the volunteer(s) work: Once a week, on a day that works for the volunteer and client family.

What length of commitment is expected of the volunteer(s): 3-6 months

When and where will volunteer training/orientation take place: Volunteer must attend one virtual HIAS orientation before starting. Multiple training dates are available to choose from each month. The trainings are run Siobhan Whelan, Director of Refugee Resettlement, and they typically take an hour and thirty minutes.

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30 Barra Road, Biddeford, ME 04005, US

Mission Statement

The Southern Maine Agency on Aging’s mission is to improve the quality of life for older adults, adults with disabilities, and the people who care for them.



Southern Maine Agency on Aging Volunteer Services provides opportunities to make a difference in the community through volunteer service. Volunteers contribute anywhere from a few to over forty hours a week, serving through schools, meals on wheels, hospitals and other nonprofit and public organizations to help meet critical community needs. We offer maximum flexibility and choice to our volunteers. RSVP matches the personal interests and skills of the over age 55 volunteer to opportunities in selected imapct service areas to help solve community problems. RSVP volunteers receive supplemental insurance while on duty, and on-the-job training from the agency or organization where they are placed.


Immigrants & Refugees
Hunger, Immigrants & Refugees


We'll work with your schedule.


Multiple locations Portland, ME 04102



  • Food Delivery / Distribution
  • Critical Thinking
  • People Skills




  • Driver's License Needed
  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • Once a week, on a day that works for the volunteer and client family. 3-6 month commitment.
  • HIAS orientation before starting the position.

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