Civil Rights Training Requirements for Volunteers
This memorandum clarifies Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) policy regarding civil rights training for volunteers in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). Additional information may be found in FNS Instruction 113-1.
FNS requires civil rights training for people involved in all levels of the administration of programs that receive federal financial assistance. Civil rights training requirements for volunteers should be approached in the following manner:
- Frontline volunteers, such as individuals who regularly interact with program applicants and participants or determine eligibility must receive full civil rights training on an annual basis, as outlined in FNS Instruction 113-1, Section XI. Any volunteer who handles personal information must receive this training as well. Training should first occur during each individual's orientation to the program(s).
- Volunteers who do not handle personal information and who may infrequently interact with program applicants, participants, or frontline staff must receive, at a minimum, limited civil rights training which covers customer service and any other subject matter applicable to each volunteer's role and responsibilities. This training may be less time intensive than the full training provided to frontline volunteers. Consistent with above, it must first occur during volunteers' orientation to the program(s) and through refresher training as needed.
- Volunteers who do not interact in any way with program applicants and participants, and who do not handle personal information, do not need civil rights training.
If there is a concern that any particular volunteer cannot understand and/or abide by the training and civil rights requirements, then that individual should not interact in any way with program applicants and participants or handle personal information.