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Daily acts of kindness have the power to turn a life around.

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Our commercial kitchen produces hundreds of trays each weekday.

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Our volunteers expedite meals to recipients to be sure all are fed.

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Drivers (and their helpers) deliver nutrition for health to Charlotte doorsteps.

Friendship Trays runs on the generosity of our volunteers. It takes 120 volunteers—every single weekday—to prepare and deliver meals to our recipients. Here’s how you can get involved.

Since our founding, volunteers have helped prepare, package and deliver meals. But the 2020 pandemic has forced us to ask volunteers to hold off, and honor health advisories to maintain social distance or to shelter in place. Thank you for understanding that we must guard the health of every one of our recipients, many of whom are extremely vulnerable to illness at this time. As the pandemic situation shifts, we will update this note.

Our service only operates Monday through Friday. We do not have volunteer opportunities available for delivery drivers or kitchen helpers on the weekends.


Volunteer to be a delivery driver for Friendship Trays and brighten someone’s day. See firsthand what kind of a difference you make in someone’s life through food and friendship.

Volunteers arrive at our Distribution Street location to pick up the meals for their route, utilizing their own vehicle. Meal pickup occurs between 9:45 am and 12:00 p.m. Volunteers can have regular routes with the same recipients or can be a substitute driver, willing to drive wherever is needed. Contact Martha Cochrane to learn more about becoming a driver.


Two distributors work together to hand the meals to the drivers. They need to arrive about 9:00 a.m. and remain until all meals are dispersed. Although not required, it is helpful if the distributor is willing to drive a route if needed. Contact Martha Cochrane  to learn more about becoming a meal expediter.


Assist our chefs and cooks in the kitchen with the preparation and packaging of the meals that feed our recipients. We require 12-15 volunteers every day, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. We serve regular and special diets, so care must be taken to see that the diet meals are served accurately. This is a great group volunteer activity.

Contact Lani Lawrence to learn more about helping in our commercial kitchen.


Of course being in the kitchen or behind the wheel aren’t the only ways you can help out at Friendship Trays. Office assistants help answer the phone, open the mail, take information about potential recipients, help with large mailings, and generally lend a hand. Learn what it takes to make our whole operation a success. Contact Martha Cochrane to learn more about becoming an office assistant.


Companies that encourage their employees to volunteer see an increase of engagement and retention—not to mention the positive impact on our community. Contact Lani Lawrence to schedule your corporate volunteer activity.


From 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm, help sort and pack meals that will be distributed early the following morning. Contact Martha Cochrane to learn more about becoming an afternoon volunteer. Currently, we have availability for 1-2 volunteers.


Assist the Executive Director with fundraising events and volunteer appreciation events. Contact Lucy Bush Carter  to discuss opportunities to raise money for the organization.


A lot of the produce that goes into our trays and catering department are grown by our own garden network and the urban farm at Garinger High School. Start a garden or help out at the farm. See our myriad volunteer opportunities on the Friendship Gardens website. Click here for more information.


The volunteer opportunities listed above are appropriate for ages 9 and above with one adult chaperone per 2 children. For children grades 2 – 8 Friendship Trays enjoys hosting school groups for a tour of our facility guided by our staff and chefs. We strive to meet the curricular needs of your classrooms. Please contact us for more information.

Ready to get started? Just fill out our volunteer sign up form. One of our volunteer coordinators will be in touch and get you started on the road, in the kitchen or wherever your talents may be needed!

Since 1976 our mission at Friendship Trays has been to deliver nutritious meals to elderly or infirm individuals in the Charlotte community who are unable to obtain or prepare their own meals. We cook and courier a meal to the doorstep of over 700 recipients. But we deliver so much more than that. We deliver human connection to those that are isolated and lonely. We deliver peace of mind to the families of our recipients. It’s so much more than a meal.


Mail: PO Box 241046 Charlotte, NC  28224-1046

Offices: 2401-A Distribution Street Charlotte, NC 28203

Voice: 704.333.9229  Fax: 704.333.5947

Operating hours: 8 am – 3 pm