As part of Volunteers’ week (1st-7th June), we want to recognise and say thank you to the people who have volunteered across the Wandsworth Foodbank centres over the past year (and more)!
We have had some wonderful personal stories from some of the volunteers sharing the reason they first started helping at Wandsworth Foodbank.
Suzanne Ellis is proactive in helping the guests and raising awareness in the local community, living by some noble motos.
I have been volunteering since the Foodbank opened at St Paul’s in 2013. I am a very active member of the local community and campaign for social justice. One of my life principles is – ‘To care for those with less’. I thoroughly enjoy the community of volunteers and value the opportunity to offer practical help.
Tom has a great gift of befriending and supporting some of our young short-term volunteers.
I have been volunteering at Wandsworth Foodbank in the St. Paul’s centre since it opened in 2013 and am a member of the local Baptist Church. I enjoy running the store room and supervising the packing of the food bags. I have spare time and like helping others – it’s the Christian thing to do!
Jane is such a loyal volunteer with wonderful baking skills. She tirelessly serves guests (and other volunteers) from the kitchen and generously donates money for fresh fruit for the session.
I started volunteering because I spotted in the press that the Foodbank was opening in Wandsworth. I had been involved in my work in organising large corporate volunteering initiatives and programmes (before that became popular). I got in touch and started volunteering whenever I could ..in the early days doing supermarket requests on the weekends, and then where possible on Fridays if/ when I could get the time off work.
I feel very strongly about people in this country having such poor food security, and although I do not believe that charity is the appropriate way to address structural food insecurity, I can wholeheartedly join in the crisis approach of Foodbanks. In my professional life I am often organising and managing, so I really enjoy the hands on aspect of volunteering, and I love baking, and I get great pleasure out of meeting so many wonderful people.
Peter is brilliant at helping create an easy atmosphere, befriending the guests and keeping things light and calm when there are difficult issues or moments within the Foodbank session.
I started volunteering in March 2014, I’ve always felt the local community was kind, considerate and non-judgmental. My job allowed me the time to give something back to the community and I felt the foodbank was the ideal place as it enables people to have immediate relief as well as assisting in getting them ‘back on track ‘.
Over the years I have built up an appreciation and a kind of friendship with the guests; often bumping into them on the street. Foodbank enables me to ‘give’ in a subtle yet understanding way. I feel privileged to be a volunteer.
Martin is a massive help at the end of the Foodbank session in packing all the equipment and food back into a small space. He has incredible Jenga-Tetris-Ninja skills!
I decided to get involved in volunteering as a response to the increasingly toxic political situation. I realised I’d feel much better if I did something constructive, instead of just making angry faces at my Twitter feed.
I chose to work with the Foodbank because I’ve been fortunate and I think that when life is going well, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a bubble and take things like a close family, a paying job, and a full fridge for granted.
I get a buzz knowing we’re helping people in our own community. Some of the guests I’ve met are literally living, and working on my street. I’ve talked with interesting people from all over the world and from all walks of life. I’ve experienced an entire roller coaster of emotions listening to heart-breaking, funny, tragic, incredible stories that will stay with me forever.
Above all, I feel proud to work with such compassionate and committed people, providing a lifeline to some of our most vulnerable neighbours. And don’t get me started on those snazzy shopkeeper’s aprons! 🙂
Sue has been a powerhouse in helping at Wandsworth Foodbank and in particular by creating a ‘Hot Food’ list to give out to the guests – of places in the borough that offer free or very cheap community cooked meals, and a spreadsheet of the organisations we signpost to that can be used in training new volunteers and for quick reference during a Foodbank session.
When I retired from work I was looking for some sort of voluntary work and a local friend told me about Wandsworth Foodbank in Southfields, which I did not even know was there, so I joined as a volunteer around three years ago.
What gives me great pleasure is seeing most people go away from Foodbank much happier than when they came in. And I am even happier to hear that some people’s lives are totally turned around for the better with the help of Foodbank and other agencies that we have signposted our guests to, in particular Citizens Advice, who attends our sessions.