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.
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 are having to self-isolate due to age or underlying health conditions. Thankfully though, we’ve been inundated with new applicants who have swooped 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 have been affected by the coronavirus. Some are workers on furlough or students wanting to spend their free time in lockdown helping a good cause, and some have unfortunately lost their jobs.
One of our new volunteers is Jamie Pimblett, who joined us in March after he lost his job:
“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 the food is appreciated. 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, said: “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.