FareShare Cymru Volunteer Day!
Over the years our staff have raised thousands for charity, donated to food banks on several occasions and supported campaigns such as the Ukraine appeal to name but a few.
However, we have some very passionate staff who voiced their desire to give back to the community in a more personal way. So, with that in mind our Charity Champions took that feedback onboard and investigated a few ways in which they could make this happen.
Fast forward to today where we take pride in sharing with you our experience of volunteering at FareShare Cymru, which was all down to the introduction of the ActiveQuote ‘Volunteer Day’.
Through organised events staff can put themselves forward to take part in a volunteer day. These allow staff to use one paid working day to give back to the local community by volunteering their time to help in any way needed.
Our very first event was held on Thursday 22nd June 2023, and this was all in aid on FareShare Cymru.
So, who are FareShare Cymru and what do they do?
FareShare Cymru was established in 2010 and began delivering food in July 2011. By using quality, in date surplus food which would otherwise have gone to waste, they turn an environmental problem into a social solution. They are one of a network of 25 similar centres located across the UK who all work to fight the same issues: food waste and hunger.
In Wales circa 400,000 tonnes of food are wasted each year. If only 1% of that is edible, it is enough to contribute to over 9 million meals. This is at a time when almost a quarter of the Welsh population are living in poverty and people are struggling to access good, nutritious food and regularly go hungry. FareShare want to see that wasted food put to good use by distributing it to disadvantaged people across Wales.
Here’s how they do it:
Surplus food from the food industry is donated to FareShare Cymru – 858 tonnes of surplus food saved from landfill.
Their team of volunteers sort the food and make up food orders for organisations working to address poverty – 80 volunteers every month.
Their volunteers deliver food to they Community Food Members (CFM’S) – homeless hostels, community centres, refugee centres etc – 15,328 hours volunteered by the amazing team.
CFMs use the food to make healthy balanced meals to support vulnerable members of the community – 3.5 million meals.
By being partnered with FareShare Cymru, CFMs save money on food costs - £2.13m saved by CFMs.
The organisations use the money saved to help pay for vital support services – 12,585 people supported every week.
How did our staff help and what did they get out of it?
Terry Burt, Kate Daw, Kim Powell, Rebekah Howes, Tracy Carwardine and Dylan O’Connell arrived just before 8.45am, and after a short briefing, health and safety run down and a tour of the site, their day of volunteering began.
The warehouse itself was a hive of activity and in pairs Terry, Dylan, Kate, Kim, Tracy, and Rebekah helped pick and pack food parcels in readiness for delivery for that day. They even went on to deliver them to an array of organisations. Terry and Dylan stayed local and delivered to Fairwater, Kate and Kim took a trip to Swansea, while Rebekah and Tracy delivered to Llanelli.
On returning to the warehouse, they were then put to work by picking and packing more food parcels for further deliveries and helped pack and stock the warehouse shelves.
Over the course of the day our staff were able to see for themselves the service offered by FareShare, and talked to those who are in paid employment and those who give up their time on a regular basis to help. We found that some do it because they are retired so have the spare time to volunteer, while others do it because they simply want to help.
In the words of Kim, “It was a heart-warming experience that was extremely rewarding, but one that can only be described as eye-opening”.
This sentiment was mirrored by all who attended, and we are very proud to have been able to offer up our services via our volunteer day to FareShare Cymru and look forward to working with them again in the near future.
FareShare is nationwide, so if you’re reading this and are inspired to offer your services to help them on their mission to combat food poverty, visit their website Volunteer with us | FareShare to find out more.