Volunteers Week: Keeping Greater Manchester fed through the crisis

The need for our services has soared since the coronavirus outbreak. But thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our ESSENTIAL volunteers we’re keeping up with demand and getting food out to frontline charities and community responders.

Volunteers Week showcases our effort in a trying time

Since the lockdown began the volume of food we’ve distributed has almost doubled week on week. We rely on volunteers to help sort, allocate, pack and deliver food orders for our Community Food Members. But nearly half of our regular volunteers must self-isolate due to age or underlying health conditions.

Thankfully though, we’re handling loads of new applicants swooping in to fill the gap. In fact, so many people have applied to become a volunteer since the lockdown began that we’ve had to introduce a waiting list.

We currently have 70 people volunteering with us each week, many of whom face the effects of the coronavirus. Some are workers on furlough or students wanting to spend their free time in lockdown helping a good cause. Others have unfortunately lost their jobs.

What our volunteers are saying


One of our new volunteers is Jamie Pimblett, who joined us in March after he lost his job. Jamie told us this…

“I wanted to combat staying in, sitting around moping. I volunteer in the warehouse as well as driving. As a driver, I’m out in the community, I see how people appreciate the food. It’s humbling to see volunteers preparing the food packs – I’ve not been connected to community before but now I can see how people care.”

Elizabeth Lauder, Volunteer Manager at FareShare Greater Manchester, has this to say.

“The coronavirus crisis has presented a challenge like nothing we’ve seen before and volunteers like Jamie have been working tirelessly each week to get food into the communities who need it most.

“We have been bowled over by the support we’ve received from so many people wanting to help through such a critical and uncertain time – including our regular volunteers who help all year round as well as those who have recently started with us. During Volunteers’ Week we want to take this opportunity to give them a huge and heartfelt thank you.”

To celebrate #VolunteersWeek 2020, we’ll be sharing stories of our amazing volunteers every day this week.

food waste

270,000 tonnes of perfectly edible food gets wasted by the food industry each year.

That’s enough for nearly 650,000,000 meals