Cafeteria » Finding a Sub for your Shift

Finding a Sub for your Shift

Requesting and Finding a Substitute (Sub or Swap Shifts) 


Life happens to all of us! A meeting is called at work, you have a medical issue, sick child, other schedule conflicts, etc.  If you are unable to work your assigned shift in the cafeteria (or with any other volunteer job), it is your responsibility to find a substitute volunteer, whether you know of the conflict 2 months, two weeks, 2 days, or 2 hours in advance.   

Manage your VSP profile settings to show when you are available to sub and the cafeteria jobs you can sub for.  

Requesting a Sub via VSP (Volunteer Scheduler Pro) 

Save this page to your bookmarks or desktop on your phone/tablet/computer

Login to VSP: Volunteer

Login to VSP-Click on “My Schedule” tab

  • Your upcoming shifts will be listed here with an option to “Request Sub”.
  • Click the “request sub” link next to your shift.  In the pop-up box, please enter details that would help others who can sub for you (the reason for the request or preferred day of the week to switch). Submit the request.
  • The VSP system will generate automatic emails to all “Cafeteria” position holders who are qualified and available to work your shift.  You will receive a copy of your sub request email from VSP.
  • If you are making a sub request 24hrs or on the day of the assignment, text Cafeteria Volunteer Coordinator, Bavita Doolabh at 903-372-6596 and your shift Team Leader ASAP. Time is of the essence to fill your shift.
    • Cashiers, text Esther Choi 312-420-6331
    • Servers, text Molly New 214-725-7545

Finding your Shift Sub

The process does not end with your online sub request. Here are suggestions to proactively find a substitute or make a swap to fill your shift.  

  • Ask family members (grandparents too) to fill in for you. They must have a VSP profile.
  • Use the Rosters tab in VSP to email volunteers who work the same day of the week as your assigned shift but different week than your assigned shift (Example, you work 1st Wednesday, then email 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th Wednesday shift holders if they’d be flexible to switch).
  • Email friends and other parents in your child’s class.
  • Utilize your social media group (preferably targeted to UP parents).
  • From the “My Schedule” tab or the cafeteria schedule in VSP, look out for outstanding sub requests made by other volunteers.  “Propose a trade”.
  • We suggest having a buddy system in place. Ask a friend or a small group of friends if you can be each other’s buddies if you need to make a cafeteria shift change. You have to have shifts on different days to make this work.  

How VSP Generates Sub Request Emails

  • VSP gathers all the profile information of users and sends emails automatically to other volunteers whose profiles match your sub request position.  Therefore, please tailor your VSP Profile settings as much as possible. Put the days of the week and dates you’re available to volunteer. Select the jobs you are willing to work.  You can update your profile setting throughout the year.  
    • If you have an assigned server shift, select server positions in your profile. If you want to be able to sub for cashiers on occasion, select you will only sub for the cashier positions.  
    • If you are a cashier, select cashier positions in your profile. You can choose to only sub for servers.  
    • If you designate yourself as a server or cafeteria sub, you will not see any cashier sub requests from other volunteers. The sub request only goes to volunteers available and qualified (other servers) for your shift based on their VSP profile settings. 
    • If you indicate in your profile that you can only volunteer on Mondays, you would not receive sub request for jobs you qualify for that occur on Tuesday to Friday.
    • All this information filters into Rosters within VSP. 

Swapping Cafeteria Shifts

  • At the bottom of the “My Schedule” tab in VSP are outstanding sub requests made by other volunteers.  Propose a trade with these volunteers and “SWAP” shifts if it’s agreeable to both of you. It’s a win-win! Click “Volunteer Now” and click “propose a trade” to start a dialogue with another volunteer. You can select the shifts you wish to trade and communicate with the trading volunteer.  It is up to the other volunteer to accept the trade. (You may look up the volunteer in the directory/from the VSP roster and contact them directly by email or text requesting the trade. Then it can be finalized through VSP.)  
  • You do not have to make an equivalent swap, meaning a grandparent server can sub for a parent server. A server can sub for a cashier, or snack cashier and vice-versa. Haven’t worked as a cashier/server before, ask for a quick training session from the Cafeteria Crew or from another team member. Jumping right in is the best way to learn!
  • If you’ve found someone to trade shifts using the Rosters within VSP, the volunteer willing to swap with you will need to submit a sub request and can state in the comments “Making a trade with (your name),  please disregard.”  You accept each other’s shifts in VSP.  
  • Make sure VSP sends a confirmation email of the reassignment.    
  • If VSP will not allow you to make the swap, it is likely a profile setting issue. Contact specifying your trade details and the assignment will be made for you and your swapping partner.  

Propose a split shift

  • If you can work half your shift try to find someone that can cover the half, therefore, splitting the shift.  You could put this in your sub request notes in VSP. It will help people who may be able to cover part of your shift.  
  • You may find two friends that will split your shift. If you do find two people that will split your shift, please email and the cashier/server coordinator of the arrangement.  It may not be possible to put that into VSP.

Accepting a Sub Request via Email

  • Once a sub request has been processed by the software, an email goes out to all available (qualified) volunteers for the position. 
  • To accept the sub request click the blue “volunteer now” in the email. Do not reply to the email.
  • Contact the volunteer directly through the email provided in the sub request.
  • If your sub request is accepted without a shift trade proposal by another volunteer, PAY IT FORWARD! Do a good turn for someone else who needs a sub.  

Confirming a Substitution of Volunteers

  • Once another volunteer has accepted your sub request (or shift trade), you will get an email confirmation from VSP stating you are no longer scheduled for your previously assigned shift. The volunteer taking your place will receive an email stating they are assigned to a new shift. 
  • You must get confirmation from VSP or the swap/sub is not complete. You are still on the schedule for your assigned shift.  
  • Let your shift’s Team Leader know you have a sub in place to cover your shift, especially if the volunteer taking your place may need a little training assistance.  VSP automatically sends an email to the Cafeteria Coordinators confirming reassignments.   

Making a Sub Request within 24 hours of your shift 

  • Please do not count on the system if your request is placed less than 24 hours before you are scheduled to serve or cashier.  Hopefully, a substitute will notice the urgent need and step in to cover your shift. You will need to work your network quickly to get a sub in place. Ask a family member, grandparents, friends, send texts, emails and make calls to whomever you can think of to cover your shift on short notice.  
  • Please make an effort to fill your shift. 
  • Still can’t find a sub, please contact either the cashier or server coordinator.

If you have any questions please contact:


Thank you for volunteering in the UP Cafeteria!