Our charitable vision is a society where no one is hungry or lonely. The current situation has meant that our Community Meals, where guests and volunteers come together to eat and socialize, cannot go ahead. We have transformed ourselves into a food parcel delivery service and this week, we are launching our new check-in and chat service.
Volunteers who sign up to this service will call the recipients of our food parcels and have a quick chat with them. This will be a key social link for vulnerable people who are isolating, who may be missing family or friends or who may not have anyone else to talk to. Volunteers will also check that recipients have received their food parcel delivery, that the service ran smoothly and chat about what they might cook with their ingredients.
We want to ensure that FoodCycle guests still have someone to talk to and that they feel cared for by their community.
If you would like to volunteer to be part of the check-in and chat service, you can now register. Please note that volunteer spaces are limited at the moment, you will need to have access to the internet, to complete a two-hour training session and to make four calls a week. There is a description of the role here and if you are already registered you can sign up to a training session, here.
Managing the new service will be Andrea who has been a part of the FoodCycle team for over a year now. She was initially involved in our Salford Projects and then supported the Marketing team with social media in the North West. We had our own check-in and chat with her, to find out a bit more about her and the new service.
Can you give us an overview of your role?
As a check-in and chat coordinator, I will be launching this brand-new service we’re offering to our guests. I will ensure that all CiC volunteers are trained in call handling by hosting weekly online training sessions, to ensure that volunteers learn how best to encourage good conversations, adhere to boundaries and know what to do in the event of a safeguarding issue.
Why is this check-in and chat service so important for FoodCycle guests?
Social isolation is a key issue for many FoodCycle guests as illness or disability may prevent them from taking part in social interaction. Now that they can’t attend our community meals we want to make sure that they still feel as though they are a part of the FoodCycle community. These calls will be a link to our vital food delivery service for them, will mean that they still have someone to talk to and will feel reassured by hearing a friendly voice.
If you could meet any person for a chat over a shared dinner, who would you pick and why?
I would pick the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. As I am half Spanish, we would be able to have this conversation in her native language. Kahlo was diagnosed with depression and I would love to ask her how she used her art to express her feelings and how she would feel knowing that she is now considered one of the most famous feminist icons and artist. I’m sure Frida would tell me- if she were to see what the world is going through now- that during these times if our mind takes us to dark and strange places we should try to create something, anything! As we never know how valuable and therapeutic art could be.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of FoodCycle?
What attracted me to FoodCycle in the first place was that I liked that it felt as though you were part of a small family, but with a big goal. This goal combines my passion for the environment while also tackling food poverty and loneliness.
Is there anything you’ve done for yourself or others to be kind during Mental Health Awareness Week?
I’m making sure I stay connected with my family, some of who are in Spain. Also, I think it’s really important to listen to your friends if they are feeling down. I have been sending my friends a card and arranging to have a virtual coffee with them to make them feel cared for and, hopefully, to brighten up their days a little.