Spain – Barcelona Food Rescue & Community Empowerment

Join our Barcelona Volunteer Initiative and make an impact in one of Europe’s most dynamic cities. Volunteer with a dedicated NGO focused on uplifting an underserved migrant neighborhood, which is also culturally diverse. As a volunteer, you’ll help combat food waste, address hunger, and engage in activities that pave the way for a sustainable community.

 

Program Highlights:

  • Engage in community-building projects and witness the impact of your efforts firsthand.
  • Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Barcelona while making meaningful connections with local and international volunteers.
  • Contribute to the fight against food waste and hunger by helping distribute surplus food to those in need.
  • Take part in weekly training sessions and workshops, including cross-cultural understanding, volunteer management, and more, to expand your skills and knowledge.
  • Join daily community workshops such as yoga, meditation, martial arts and indoor rock climbing.
  • Explore Barcelona’s beautiful Mediterranean beaches and nearby coastal towns on your weekends off.
  • Stay in shared rooms at our cultural center or apartments, fostering a supportive and inclusive community.

 

Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum one-week commitment):

Arrival Day – Sunday: Arrive at Barcelona International Airport “El Prat” and transfer to our accommodations.

Monday: Orientation and introduction to the program. Get to know your fellow volunteers and start preparing for our community-building projects. This day is dedicated to introducing and training on all the theory behind our sustainability objectives, food hygiene protocols, food distribution practices, and community development projects. Every new volunteer has a personal session with one of the team’s professional coaches to assess their goals and intentions for their time on the program, ensuring the best setup for a successful volunteer training placement. In the afternoon, the team-building activity available is rock climbing.

Tuesday: Each morning during the week starts with a group good morning stretch and gratitude journaling session. This first full workday is dedicated to applying the theory learned on Monday in the food bank distribution network. This NGO supplies food for about 40 deserving families in the neighborhood, making your work vital to the community each week. In the afternoon, the team-building activity available is a yoga workshop.

Wednesday: This day typically involves work dedicated to one of the several community improvement initiatives in the neighborhood. This volunteer work directly engages with the local community and provides an opportunity to get to know the residents more personally while practicing some Spanish. The afternoon is dedicated to a Personal Coaching workshop where you’ll learn techniques in personal development and growth.

Thursday: On this day, volunteer work takes place in the community organic farm. You’ll assist with tasks to support the farm and also take part in a relevant workshop topic which could include sustainable farming practices, food cultivation, responsible agriculture in the context of climate change, and more. This farm plays a crucial role in supplying the local food bank with food, providing you with a firsthand experience of the community food program from start to finish.

Friday: Friday mornings are free from volunteer work. In the afternoon, you’ll have Spanish lessons and participate in a collective intelligence or community-building workshop. The afternoon team-building activity is an hour dedicated to hand-delivering individual meals to the known homeless population in the neighborhood.

Saturday-Sunday: Weekends are free to enjoy exploring Barcelona’s vibrant neighborhoods or relaxing at the Mediterranean beaches. Departure day is usually on a Sunday.

  • Remaining weeks: For volunteers staying multiple weeks, at the end of each volunteer week, you’ll have a one-on-one meeting with your dedicated team personal coach to assess your goals and how they align with the volunteer program. You’ll have the opportunity to continue with the group schedule outlined above for each additional volunteer week if you choose. Additionally, you can discuss personal development project ideas to help the NGO in future weeks based on your own skills and interests.
  • Note: The focus of community work is always on the needs of vulnerable and deserving neighborhood residents. While the schedule may not change often, volunteers should approach their work with flexibility and a willingness to support the NGO and local community in any way required.

 

Location icon Location of the Project: Barcelona, Spain

Project length Project length: Minimum 1 week – Maximum 12 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Food distribution, community workshops and volunteer training sessions.

Age Age: 16-80

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers:  1-20 volunteers

Important Note Important Note: Solo volunteers under the age of 18 need parental concent. Families with children over the age 13 and above are welcome to apply for a custom program.

 

What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared rooms at the NGO cultural center or nearby apartments

Food Food: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Airport pickup

Orientation Orientation: Training and introductions provided upon arrival

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

 

What’s not Included

  • Flights,
  • Visas (if required),
  • Travel health insurance,
  • Personal expenses,
  • Airport drop off (around 50 Euros)
  • Budget around 100-200 Euros per week for excursions in and around Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city, is the vibrant heart of Catalonia, celebrated for its Renaissance art and Gaudi architecture. Neighborhoods like Gràcia, Gótico, and Born showcase the city’s rich history through their narrow, history-laden streets. Famous for Mediterranean tapas and a high quality of life, Barcelona enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate, making its beaches like Bogatell, Mar Bella, and Barceloneta popular spots.

The volunteer program operates in El Turó de la Peira, in Barcelona’s Nou Barris district. It is a culturally diverse neighborhood with residents from 97 nationalities, primarily from South America and the Caribbean. Despite its rich diversity, it’s one of Barcelona’s poorest areas, with 25% of its 18,000 residents facing vulnerability or exclusion.

At our volunteer program, the aim is to build a sustainable community by fighting food waste and hunger. By working with local supermarkets and distributing surplus food, we not only provide meals to those in need, but we also raise awareness about the environmental and social impact of food waste.

As a volunteer, you will be involved in these tasks:

  • Team-building activities
  • Food distribution to the homeless
  • Gathering food items using supermarket and foundation equipment
  • Portioning food into smaller containers and storing them in refrigerators and freezers
  • Arranging food containers for families and conducting quality checks
  • Sanitizing and disinfecting used containers
  • Sorting and storing excess food for the following day
  • Preparing and cooking meals for the community
  • Cleaning and disinfecting refrigeration and storage areas
  • Organizing charity events
  • Cross-cultural understanding sessions
  • Volunteer management training
  • Food regulation training
  • NGO management training

 

These activities aim to foster community spirit, combat loneliness among older adults, and provide meals and food baskets to those in need.

Training: Across the week, volunteers receive 2 hours of training on topics like cross-cultural volunteerism, NGO management, and food regulations.

Important note: From June 26th to September 1st, activities center in the summer school, Casal de Verano. Most tasks involve engaging with kids, which might affect some workshops and training sessions.

Internet icon Internet: The NGO cultural center has free Wi-Fi available.

Laundry icon Laundry: There are laundry facilities available.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: As a volunteer, you will stay in shared rooms in either our cultural center or two apartments within a 20 to 30-minute walk. These rooms typically have 1 or 2 bunk beds, accommodating 2 or 4 volunteers. If you prefer a single room, upgrades are available for an additional fee, subject to availability and the duration of your stay.

Food icon Food: The program provides all food supplies for breakfast and dinner and a cooked lunch. The menu primarily comprises vegetarian options, with occasional choices that include meat. If you have any food allergies or intolerances, please state it in your application form so that we can accommodate your dietary requirements.

  • Age 16-80 years
  • Solo volunteers 16 & 17 need parental concent and an interview with their parents and our team
  • Families with children over the age of 13 are welcome to join the program
  • Being able to get a Schengen tourism visa, we don’t provide Visa support.
  • For airport pick up, you need to arrive during the weekend between 10:00 am – 18:00 pm.
  • GoEco interview
  • Good level of English
  • Spanish highly valued, other languages a plus
  • High level of independence, responsibility, and flexibility
  • Adaptability and appreciation for diversity, as we work with people of different ages, backgrounds and cultures.

Volunteers have weekends off to visit all the attractions that Barcelona offers, such as the stunning Sagrada Familia, the colorful Park Guell, the historic Gothic Quarter, and the vibrant La Rambla. Explore neighborhoods like Gràcia, Gótico, and Born, known for their historic streets and vibrant atmosphere. Weekly city excursions are also self-organized by the volunteers themselves. In addition, during long weekends, they organize group outings to the towns and beaches closest to the city, such as Costa Brava. Barcelona also has many national and local festivals during which the city organizes concerts and celebrations in the streets and plazas.

Access to the program activities and events, including Open Mic, Cacao Ceremony, eco-climbing or hiking excursions, snorkeling (in summer) are free.

 

 

Volunteer Experiences

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