Sally is a volunteer at the foodbank's Wednesday sessions held in St. Mary's Church.
Why did you start volunteering at the foodbank?
I’ve been volunteering since the foodbank started five years ago. I’m a Christian at St. Mary’s Church and I’m retired so I wanted to volunteer helping people in the local community.
What is it like being on the volunteering team?
I’ve worked with really great people over the years. Some relationships have really lasted and I’ve made friends. Some of the volunteers here are Christians from the church and some aren’t, they are all just people with a big heart, which is lovely, there’s a great team here.
How would you describe your experience volunteering and the impact it has?
Volunteering is immensely rewarding, fulfilling and quite emotional at times. The best thing about volunteering is seeing how clients are changed through what we do. Somebody can come to the foodbank in tears and feel like life has no hope, and we are able to sit and listen, give them our time and pray with them and give them much more than food. We can give them dignity and worth as human beings and so often we see them leave smiling and feeling overwhelmed.
The foodbank pass on some of the clients to other agencies we have connections with for more help, so it can have a big impact on their lives. Another volunteer has met people who have said that their lives have been turned around since they came to the foodbank.
How would you describe the clients who use the foodbank?
The people who come to the foodbank are people from all walks of life, from all classes. Something can hit anybody at any time, people who never thought they’d have to come to the foodbank. We are able to say to them that they’re not alone, to reassure them. The foodbank helps a lot of people get back on their feet and get their life back together, people in crisis.
When the foodbank first started, we had weeks where nobody came, now there are so many more people. To begin with people thought that we didn’t need a foodbank in Loughton. You don’t know until you start to meet people as a volunteer how many people are struggling underneath.
What would you say to anyone who’s thinking about volunteering?
If you have a big heart and want to change your community and help people in a practical way, this is the place for you. Whether its face to face or behind the scenes, volunteering with the foodbank really has a big impact.