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We’re looking for volunteers to support Family Action’s FOOD Clubs (e.g. packing food bags, serving customers). So, why volunteer with FOOD Club?

Here one experienced volunteer explains how she got involved in FOOD Clubs and what she enjoys about her role. 

“I have been a volunteer at the local children’s centre since August and work in their stay and play which I really love. From that I heard about FOOD Club and started volunteering for Family Action in the November. I only went to observe for a day and then became a volunteer.

Volunteering at FOOD Club is like a bug, you think about it all the time, what food you’ll get, having enough boxes for everyone, making them look really good – it has become a big part of my week.

My main motivation is to help others where I can. In my FOOD Club volunteer role I do lots of different things such as helping to sort the deliveries, making sure the stock is in date, setting up for the next day’s club, dealing with card payments, checking temperatures, doing paperwork.

Volunteering has helped to build my confidence in myself. I now have underneath me two new volunteers who I am training. It gives you a purpose volunteering. It helps to build independence – you see different people who come to the clubs, and speak with them, listen to them, and offer support.

I get my regulars at FOOD Club and also new people. They can be anxious when they come but I tell them it’s not a weakness – everyone can join a club. You’re not judged, which is the most powerful thing about FOOD Club.

I promote the clubs on Facebook every week through the local community group and also put up posters in case anyone is interested, for example at the children’s centre where I also volunteer at stay and play.

I make our visitors feel comfortable, so they don’t feel judged; it’s not a handout, they buy their food bags. Prices are going up in the shops so if we can help a small percentage of people with their food bills then that’s a good thing. It’s always busy at FOOD Club – you can see that people are struggling these days, and you just want to help.

I have learnt a lot at FOOD Club – I did my food safety level 2 training and learnt not to be scared by the best before dates, for example. Use by dates are different, you have to be so careful. Once something has reached the use by date you have to throw it away. I learnt this on the course. The allergy course was also really good. I knew about nut allergies and dairy but I learnt about all the other allergies. I also did manual handling training which helps me a lot. I would always welcome more training – any training that would help me to do my work even better.

Recently I have done some LifeSkills 1-2-1 sessions that Family Action offered to FOOD Club volunteers. We did about USP which is about knowing what you do well. It can be hard to big yourself up so I asked different people to give one word about me. People said I was: resilient – I always bounce back; reliable – I hate letting people down; that I help people; and that I am understanding. I have added all this to my CV.

I have started a team leading course at college and I am using learning from my volunteering as examples, like mentoring the new volunteers at the clubs. I would like a job in the future in a charity, particularly working somewhere like a FOOD Club as I enjoy it so much.”