A day in the life of a foodbank volunteer

A volunteer at the food bank.

At 9am management open up ready for deliveries from donors. Others come in and start arranging the parcels for recipients. Some more start organising food and supplies into their set places ready for packaging. Deliveries start to arrive so we collect these and send them into the basement to store for three days. Others move supplies to go into the clean room and start packing the bags. These then go upstairs where bags of fresh supplies are added to the deliveries. In the afternoon the delivery team arrive to dispatch parcels.

Those local to the centre distribute the goods using shopping trolleys. This time we have a new volunteer with us and we show her the ropes.  We go to the block 1 first. Sometimes it’s difficult to gain entry but one volunteer knows a lot of residents in that block so they let her in. People are glad for a chat because they’re isolated and one volunteer attempts to assist people. Sometimes she can resolve the problems but other times she cannot get the requisite support for people. Psychological support seems to be a huge problem because nobody can access their doctor or support services easily.   New recipients appreciate and welcome the chats. One lost a parent and is utterly heartbroken. This is hard as we cannot hug the person due to social distancing rules.

We return to base and collect the food for the tower. It’s a hot day so the trips are harder during the blistering heat. The masks make life harder for one of the volunteers who persists with wearing it on the rounds despite being exempt. Now we enter the tower to deliver parcels there. We work from the top down. As the weather is sweltering every guy answers the door in their undies. We checked on them just looking at their faces. One didn’t even wear undies. The other volunteer twigged what happened and the chap hid behind the door whilst I put the food into the edge of the flat. The lad was ok, he’s in close contact with his family. Next, we visit the lady who has poor health and dare not leave the flat due the virus. She’s struggling with matters without support and lost her spouse last Christmas. Now it’s time to return to the ranch.

Now we feed the families. One lady is scared for her kids over the virus. Another is worried about internet access as she has a meeting but cannot afford the internet costs that week, someone manages to gift her some data. Next, we have to go through Block 1 to avoid the steps to her place. Finally, we reach a lady who we can help to access Citizens Advice. All the recipients are happy with their parcels and we return to the ranch and chuckle over the men including the naked one. We offer to help with tidying but nothing is needed except to take rubbish to the bins.

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