Volunteer Guide

Potential Opportunities for Involvement

  • Mary Hogan Monthly Taste Tests
  • Cornwall Monthly Taste Tests
  • Teen Center Monthly Dinners + Cooking Workshops
  • Community Friends Fall Event
  • For the Kids Dance Marathon
  • Sister-to-Sister Summit Collaboration
  • Relay for Life Smoothie Making
  • Volunteer Dinners
  • Board Meetings

What to Expect / Instructions

Taste Tests

NOM is currently partnered with two local elementary schools, Mary Hogan Elementary and Cornwall School (Bingham Memorial). In partnership with the Vermont Department of Health, the Center for Community Engagement, and the food service providers at these schools, we organize lunch-time taste tests in order to generate excitement among elementary students for healthy local fruits, vegetables, and foods — and for the school meals program. Each month, we help prepare food samples, distribute them in the cafeteria, and assess student feedback on the taste tests to provide data for our partners. We use the curriculum provided by the Vermont Harvest of the Month.

Mary Hogan Elementary School: When you arrive at Mary Hogan, hit the buzzer on the outside door and wait for the door to buzz (i.e. unlock). You should sign in at the main office and then make your way to the cafeteria; take a left turn out of the main office and walk straight down the hall until you reach another hallway, and turn right down this larger hallway. The cafeteria is down another small hallway on the right toward the end, a few steps before the library. Bethany Yon is the taste test coordinator at Mary Hogan and she should be there to help run through set up! You may leave your jacket in the cafeteria office (last door on the right before the cafeteria entrance) and get ready for the kids to come in. There is a one hour prep shift (typically from 9-10am) in which volunteers will help prepare the food for the later lunch shifts. During the lunch shifts, a few volunteers will pass out taste test samples and the others will follow with ballots and pens for the kids to fill out. After every student gets a sample, they may get seconds if there are leftovers! Make sure to collect all of the ballots and pens, and then separate the ballots by grade.

Address: 201 Mary Hogan Drive, Middlebury, VT 05753

School Contact/Coordinator: Bethany Yon

Cornwall: When you arrive at Cornwall Elementary School, walk in if the door is open (or press the buzzer and wait to be let in if locked). Take a right turn once you are inside the building and walk to the end of the short hallway. Andrew Hirsch is the 5th grade teacher whose class will be making the taste test samples for the rest of the school. His classroom is on the left hand side at the end of the hallway. During the first shift, you will be helping to prepare the samples with the 5th graders. During the second shift, you will be helping them serve the samples to their schoolmates. During this shift, please be mindful that other classes may be in session. Make sure that the teacher of that class is okay with accepting the taste test samples at that time! Also at Cornwall we will provide all ingredients, so please coordinate with Caroline or another of the board members to pick up the ingredients beforehand if you are attending the first shift. Thanks again for volunteering!

Address: 112 School Road, Middlebury, VT 05753

School Contact/Coordinator: Andrew Hirsch

Cooking Workshops at the Teen Center

Beginning in Fall 2018, NOM is partnering with the Addison Central Teen Center to provide monthly cooking workshops and a snack/meal to the teens. Cooking workshops will be held on the second Friday of every month from 3.30-4.30pm, and at the moment we are limiting sign-ups to 2-3 volunteers per lesson. Lessons/dinners provide an opportunity to cook with the teens, share recipes, and provide mentorship while hanging out in the space.

The Teen Center is its own small building straight across from the entrance to the parking lot for Mary Hogan. If you are standing facing Mary Hogan, the Teen Center building is across the playground and sports fields to the far left. Because we supply ingredients for the cooking workshops, please get in touch with Caroline or one of the board members to coordinate picking up the ingredients (if someone is not already bringing them). When you enter, find Cicilia or Devon and let them know you’re there. Then you can begin to prep the ingredients and get the teens engaged! This can sometimes be challenging as some of them aren’t interested in the cooking activity or are intimidated by college students in their space, but if you spend some time talking to them they are often willing to participate. Some suggestions for engaging the students are as follows:

  • Come prepared to ask the teens questions that do not require a yes/no answer, and provide opportunities for the teens to share about themselves. For example:
    • Do you like to cook or bake? Have you ever cooked ___ before?
    • What is your favorite vegetable and why?
    • How do you like to celebrate fall/winter/spring?
  • You can also ask questions specific to the month of the dinner itself. Some questions for our December taste test, for example:
    • Do you plan to celebrate any holidays this month? How do you like to celebrate those holidays? Are there any holiday foods you really like?
    • Have you ever helped make a holiday meal with your family?
  • Keep in mind that sometimes the teens can be really engaged, and sometimes they can be somewhat unwilling to participate. Understand that this is normal, and when the latter is the case you may have to work harder to engage with them!

Address: 77 Mary Hogan Drive, Middlebury, VT 05753

Teen Center Contact/Coordinator: Cicilia Robison (or Devon Karpak)

If you have any questions, feel free to email nom@middlebury.edu! If you have urgent questions, it is better to text or call Caroline at (802) 825-1658.

Collaborations with Student Orgs

Sister-to-Sister: We held a healthy cake pop-making workshop during the Sister-to-Sister summit this past fall, and it was a success!

DREAM Fridays: In the past, we have collaborated with DREAM on a nutrition education activity for their mentees during their “DREAM Friday” activities.

Relay for Life: During the Spring semester we will have a 2-hour volunteer shift at the Relay for Life event in which we make smoothies to serve to participants.

Volunteer Guidelines and Expectations

  • The kids are always watching!! Be aware of what you are saying and doing, and please be mindful of your language.
  • It is easy to connect with the outgoing kids, but try to look for those kids that are a bit quieter/shy and engage with them as well!
  • If students ask you for permission to do things (i.e. go to the bathroom, get up from table) then seek out a teacher to give them permission.
  • Kids may try to treat you like an older sibling which can sometimes be uncomfortable. Feel free to find a teacher if you don’t feel equipped to deal with the situation or think it may be inappropriate.
  • Try to stay off of your phone and if necessary, step out of the cafeteria for a second if you need to use it.
  • If there is an emergency, find the coordinator or a teacher in the cafeteria.
  • If you have an urgent questions about your role or where to go, please contact Caroline at (802) 825-1658 or Erica at (413) 320-6073.
  • Have fun!! The kids are super funny when you engage with them so enjoy yourself!

Calendar of Scheduled Events

Mary Hogan Taste Test Calendar

Lunchroom taste tests at Mary Hogan happen from 11.30 am – 1.00 pm. Volunteers may help with one half hour lunch period, two lunch periods or come for all three.

Cornwall Taste Test Calendar

Lunchroom taste tests at Bingham Memorial School (Cornwall) happen from 11-11.45 am and 12:45-1.30 pm.

Teen Center Cooking Workshop Calendar

Monthly cooking workshops at the Teen Center happen from 3.30-4.30 pm on the second Friday of every month.


Vermont Harvest of the Month 2019-2020

Harvest of the Month (HOM) is a Farm-to-School campaign that provides ready-to-go materials for the classroom, cafeteria, and community that promotes the use of local, seasonal Vermont foods.”

NOM attempts to closely follow the harvest schedule but due to cafeteria procurement we occasionally have to alter the schedule. Materials can be found on the HoM website.