Here at FoodCycle, our mission is to nourish the hungry and lonely in our communities with delicious meals and great conversation. For some, the opportunity to get out of the house and have chat with other people is just as important as the meals we serve.
We also find that our volunteers benefit greatly from the friendly environment, the warm welcome, and the social interaction that they encounter when they volunteer at a FoodCycle project.
Emma, who after going through a really difficult time during the pandemic, found that volunteering at her local project, FoodCycle Newport, helped her to build her self-esteem and confidence and lift her mood!
Read Emma’s story below
“I started volunteering with FoodCycle in January 2022, and the experience has been pivotal to improving my mental wellbeing. As a result of the pandemic, I was made redundant twice in the last two years, and was home-schooling my son. I had become quite reclusive, and my mood became low, as I felt like I had little to offer.
The increasing cost of living crisis, and the free school meals crisis over the pandemic, encouraged me to seek a face to face volunteering opportunity within FoodCycle. The whole ethos appealed to me, as I hate throwing food away, and wanted to support those struggling financially and emotionally.
The atmosphere at the project was immediately warm, friendly, and encouraging, and the food smelled delicious as I walked into the building! The other volunteers and guests were all so welcoming, and I felt like one of the team straight away. My self-esteem rose considerably, and I felt like I still had a purpose in life. Meeting the same guests most weeks has also been massively positive in terms of feeling less lonely. During the pandemic, I went six months without seeing another adult, so having conversations with several people at once was amazing!
I went home from the first session with a huge smile on my face and felt such a buzz from being busy and chatting with people. To be honest I didn’t want to go home, and went straight home and booked another volunteering session. Even doing FoodCycle training online has made me feel more confident and like I can offer transferable skills from my previous jobs to my volunteering.
Volunteering at FoodCycle has increased my well-being and confidence to the point where I am now applying for career opportunities that I would not have felt comfortable doing before. It has also brought me out of my shell again, and I am able to make friends in my local community. It’s made a huge difference to my life overall. Thank you to all the team and guests at the projects, I get so much out of my volunteering and will continue to come along as often as possible. I can’t stress enough how going to FoodCycle is actually the highlight of my week.”
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