Here's what some of our current volunteers had to say when asked about volunteering for us.
The reason I wanted to volunteer was because I’m currently not working due to health issues and on benefits so I know how hard it is to manage your money for daily living and wanted to help others in the same situation so that’s why I chose to volunteer at the food bank. Volunteering at the food bank has helped me gain confidence and it’s also been good to be part of a charity helping others in need.
When I retired, apart from initially wanting to lie in bed and generally be pretty lazy, I knew that I did want to continue to make some form of positive contribution in the local community. I also knew that I did not want to simply start another job. So, what to do? Volunteering?
A close friend asked if I had heard of Foodbanks to which I responded, well, perhaps…. I think I read something somewhere about that. I quickly googled the word and up popped the Trussell Trust and then a local contact in East Lothian. That did indeed sound like a worthwhile cause. I wondered if they would be looking for anyone to help out. A phone call led to what I thought was an interview but turned out to be my first shift at Civic Square! This was late 2013.
Five and a half years on, I am still at Civic Square working as a volunteer, having also served for a period of about 3 years as a Foodbank Trustee. Throughout this time, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with an amazing group of dedicated people, most of whom do this valuable work without any recompense and the need for thanks. I have learned a great deal about poverty in our neighbourhood and fully realise, sadly, how much our services are still necessary in 21 st century Scotland.
I am very glad and proud that I took the plunge and became a volunteer at the East Lothian Foodbank.
Why do I volunteer at the Foodbank?
Four reasons come to mind:-
1. It’s an organisation that is of practical help to those who are in real need.
2. There is an interesting mix of staff/volunteers to work with.
3. The volunteering makes use of some of my organisational skills.
4. I think the Foodbank is making a positive difference for some of those in the benefits system in the Scotland of 2019.
I first volunteered for the Food Bank because when I was a single parent in the 80s I was frequently short of money and constantly concerned if I would get to the end of the month without being in debt. Seeing first hand when delivering parcels how grateful people are and hearing their stories encourages me to continue helping. As a Christian it is important to me to help others less fortunate.
When I retired and had some extra time I wanted to find a way that I could help others and give something back. Helping out at the food bank seemed an ideal opportunity, not only is the work satisfying, I can experience the whole process from start to finish. Somethings I collect/sort donations, other times I make up parcels for delivery and occasionally I deliver the parcels to those that need them.
The food bank are very flexible on when and how often you may be required to help which is great for fitting round my personal timetable. I will continue to help as often as I can for as long as they need me. It is very rewarding to know that I am helping, even in a small way, those in our society that are in genuine need.
After I retired most of my time was taken up looking after my mum who had dementia. I felt that I needed to do something to take me away from the situation even if only for a couple of hours. I had heard about the foodbank a couple of years previously when Fiona O’Donnell gave a talk at our Women’s Guild and I decided that this was definitely something I would like to be involved in.
Volunteering at the foodbank means that I can do something for those less fortunate which is very satisfying. Everyone is so friendly and there is never any pressure or stress.