Charlie has been volunteering with FoodCycle since October. His creative recipes and bubbly personality are much loved amongst FoodCycle volunteers and guests.
Can you tell us about how you came to be a volunteer at FoodCycle?
I moved to Leeds not too long ago, and being new to the area I didn’t have many friends, and just wanted to do something to throw myself into the community. After a while, I started looking at my hobbies and passions and I really liked cooking and wanted to get involved in charity, because it’s what I used to do in my previous jobs. I found FoodCycle online, it sounded great, and it was good for the environment and for the community. It’s charity, it’s cooking – it’s everything that I love. So I signed up, has my first few sessions at Leeds Harehills and loved it. I then went ahead and signed up as a Project Leader straightaway because it was so exciting.
How did you find your first volunteer shift?
It was really exciting. It was great to meet everyone and there were lots of like-minded people. It was really fast paced and great to get stuck in and hear recipes from people, as well as getting to have my own input on meals. I think I made a crumble that night, and everyone loved it so much. When you see everyone enjoying your food it’s such a good, wholesome, feel good moment, knowing that everyone’s tucking in. It was a great session, and I met some really good friends on that first session as well.
What has been another favourite meal you have cooked at FoodCycle?
Okay, that’s a really hard question! I would say my favourite one to date would be the cavolo nero pesto pasta. It just tasted really good! It was super fresh and seasonal, and really easy to whip up as well.
What is your favourite thing about being a volunteer at FoodCycle?
My favourite thing is getting to cook and feed people. Cooking is a really big hobby and a very big passion and it makes me really happy. I’m also a feeder – I look after people and show them that I love them by having people over and cooking for them. Getting to do that for the community and also for people that wouldn’t be able to do that for themselves, whether it’s because of costing or not being able to go out and enjoy a nice meal, makes cooking at FoodCycle feel even more special.
If you met someone who was thinking about becoming a FoodCycle volunteer, what would you say to them?
Absolutely do it! Even if you don’t love cooking or you’re not the best cook then you can host and get involve with speaking to members of the community and making them feel comfortable. Also, you can learn to cook, so if you’re not that good at cooking it’s a great way to learn, get stuck in and meet new friends in the kitchen as well.
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