Val and Peter Collins are as much a fixture of the warehouse operations of the Southend Foodbank as the trolleys we use – but much more reliable.
They started volunteering at the Foodbank seven years ago after they retired. One of the things they love is being part of a team while helping in the community and they have made some good friends being part of the foodbank.
They volunteer at the warehouse, where all the food that is donated to us is marked, sorted and packed into boxes, ready to be sent to the distribution centres where they are given out to guests. They used to be part of our lively Monday team, but had to shield during the pandemic. They now volunteer once a week, generally in the afternoons, when it is a bit quieter. Val can be seen scooting cereal down the hallway ready to repack the shelves. And Pete is ready to reach all the shelves that Val can’t reach!
A downside to volunteering is the continued and increased demand for food. ‘It is a sad fact that the demand for a foodbank has increased over the years and the current pandemic has obviously increased demand even more.’
They believe any volunteering is very worthwhile and a satisfying use of anyone’s time. We couldn’t agree more and are so grateful for the many hours that Val and Pete have contributed and we look forward to them being with us and making the warehouse, not just the functional place that it has to be to support the work of the distribution centres, but also a place that people can find community!