Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Stories

People volunteer for many reasons. To meet new people and gain a sense of community, to learn new skills and maybe improve job prospects or to just get out of the comfort zone and challenge themselves. Whatever the reason, we think volunteering with Hope for Food covers all these bases. What’s more – it’s great fun! Read what some of our volunteers say.

Tasha - Community meal leader

I came across a Hope For Food Community Meal one very dreary Sunday evening late November 2021, under the flyover on St Stephens Way, Bournemouth. It looked quite a Dickensian scene, something I had never witnessed before but I knew I wanted to find out more about how the charity helps homeless and vulnerable adults. Plus families in need too.

I have volunteered ever since, aiming to do two Sundays a month, leading at the Community Meal in St Andrews Church Hall. Generally there is good camaraderie between the volunteers and guests. Personally I find that it is especially rewarding doing the Sunday evening indoors, as there is a chance for the guests to relax away from the elements for an hour or so, with hot food and refreshments and enjoy a chat.

The guests have many reasons why they are in the situation they are in but as volunteers for Hope for Food we don’t ask questions or judge. We, the volunteers, all work together in our many varied roles, to provide food, clothing, bedding etc for them and quite importantly a listening ear should they want to chat. I find it extremely rewarding if not sometimes challenging.

John - Driver

I first started volunteering for Hope for Food in August 2016 when Waitrose Winton was starting to donate their waste food. My son Tai (who was a volunteer at the time) suggested I might like to do it. Over the years, my role has grown and at one time, I was delivering items for those that had just moved into a new place (furniture, kitchen utensils etc). Now, apart from the Waitrose collection , I also deliver food parcels to schools, community hubs and private homes, or collect donations from many different places.

I am just a small cog in a big wheel that is made up of many wonderful people who give up their time to help those less fortunate than themselves. I have always said that volunteering gives me that “Feel Good Factor” and long may it continue. To anyone reading this and thinking about trying it, I would say, give it a go. There are many different roles within the Charity, one may suit you.

Geraldine - Unit Volunteer

I first started volunteering at Hope for Food in August 2022. I was looking for something that would enable me to support not only those struggling to afford food but also people who are homeless or otherwise vulnerable and Hope for Food covers all of these. When I joined, I also found out that the Charity also supports with clothes and household items so it really covers all bases that are important to me.

After registering my interest I was put on a waiting list and then attended an induction. I thought that working at the unit would suit me best and this is what I now do, although I have also attended a couple of community meals where I provided cakes. I volunteer at the unit on Mondays dealing with the clothes and household areas and on Thursdays when I mostly help to pack the food crates, plus any other tasks as necessary.

I really enjoy volunteering with Hope for Food. The other volunteers are very friendly, the time goes quickly because we are always busy and I feel that I’m making a difference to people in need. The hours are flexible, It provides structure to my week and it keeps me fit with all the lifting and running up and down stairs! I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone considering volunteering opportunities.

Lucy - Graphic Design

I began volunteering with the charity in January 2022 after hearing about it from friends who had volunteered in the past, so I was aware it was a local charity doing great things.

Homelessness has always been a cause I’ve tried to support and help out with since I was young. I wanted to try and give my time to directly helping people in need of immediate support which is something I don’t do in my nine to five job. I realised just how important the work of Hope For Food was when I first saw the unit they work out of and was faced with the actual reality and magnitude of support needed in our immediate area.

After coming to the charity to help on the front line it actually became apparent that I could use my skills to help in other areas and so I now produce the graphics to help advertise services and appeals etc and hopefully raise more awareness and generate donations.

To anyone considering volunteering with us I would say come and join! Hope For Food is an incredible local charity run only by volunteers and is doing amazing things to help people that need it most in BCP. However big or small, whatever you can give will be of benefit.

Lisa and Sam - Community Meal Volunteers

We are very fortunate to have stable jobs and have bought food to donate to local food banks but felt we could contribute more by giving some of our time too. We found Hope for Food and popped along to their unit in West Howe which is the hub for the support they provide to the homeless and families in need. We met some of the lovely volunteers and they told us what they did.

We then arranged to go to a community meal to meet some more volunteers and see how everything works. From that very community meal, we realised how important the charity’s mission was. All the volunteers knew exactly what they were doing and everything ran like clockwork. Just seeing the number of people of all ages and from all walks of life who rely on the charity’s work, and how happy and well fed they were when they left, we knew we wanted to be involved.

Since then, we’ve been involved doing everything from making soup, baking cakes or acting as general volunteers. We’ve even helped out with cooking for the sit down roast dinner the charity puts on at Easter and Christmas.

We always go home after community meals with a huge sense of pride that we can help out. It’s also developed our cooking and baking skills. Our advice to anyone who is thinking of volunteering with Hope for Food is give it a go. You can visit the West Howe unit or see a community meal in action before you make any commitment. The volunteers are what make the charity and everyone is really friendly and helpful.