James has been a volunteer at FoodCycle Portsmouth for five years and has racked up almost 300 volunteer hours. James is 70 years young and was a professional actor for many years, he’s a firm favourite with Portsmouth guests and volunteers alike as he’s a natural entertainer.
He shares his story and what he loves about being a FoodCycle volunteer…
“Volunteering provides both physical and mental rewards, it’s often said that the more we give, the better we feel. It increases your own sense of worth, provides a sense of accomplishment, of value, keeps you moving and thinking, keeps you fit; and above all, it reduces stress and allows you to help and meet people you might not otherwise encounter.
Moreover, you are part of a team – typically five on the cooking team and five on the hosting team. So you are working alongside new colleagues from different walks of life and of different ages, all working together to achieve a positive outcome.
And… it’s really fun! The interactions which take place in that three or four hours are really stimulating. The banter with guests as we serve them food or clear tables, and chat about recipes and ingredients, and with your fellow volunteers before, during and after the meal, are a revelation! We tend to forget how much other people have to give, to us. And how much we can learn, when we are given a glimpse in to the lives of others.
But perhaps most of all, the greatest benefit is the joy of giving. I have had people reveal that if it were not for us, they would not have eaten that day, at all… or if they had not come out to our meal, they would have spent another evening alone and lonely. A sense of having done some good, something of value.
We all of us make up our society, whether we are lucky, or having difficulties, or housed or hungry.
But to reach out and provide for others, to experience the joy of helping our fellow citizens… is health giving, life affirming and beneficial on so many levels. So come on, join in. Find a local initiative or group that appeals to you and give it a go… you’ll be happily surprised how good it is to do good! ”
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