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Civil Rights Training Requirements for Volunteers

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PDF Icon Policy Memo (268.40 KB)
DATE: January 25, 2011
POLICY MEMO: FD-113: Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
SUBJECT: Civil Rights Training Requirements for Volunteers

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.

Cathie McCullough
Food Distribution Division

Page updated: March 11, 2022

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.