Xiaoyu is a Comms Project Leader which means she supports the team with social media and local marketing – helping to spread the word about our free community meals across the local Nottingham community.
How did you come to FoodCycle?
It has been 18 months since I began my student life in Britain. Adjusting to life in a foreign country proved to be a daunting task and I cannot say that I have never felt depressed. In order to step out of my comfort zone and create connections with more people, I decided to join FoodCycle as a volunteer. I was assigned to the Sutton-in-Ashfield project and what I felt and experienced in the first launch of the project changed the blue tone of my life completely.
How did you find your first volunteer shift?
It was hard to not notice the enormous energy that came out of the team. Everyone in the Project was so determined and motivated to offer help and tried to support people in need with their whole hearts. I think everyone in that room felt the same as me because I saw genuine smiles appear on everyone’s faces.
Tell us what you experienced at your first FoodCycle meal?
We served leek and root vegetable soup with bread for starter. Pasta bake, side salad and garlic bread for main. Banana cake, custard, and fresh banana for dessert. My role that night was basically circling around people, trying to catch some beautiful moments for social media. I also helped the hosting team to give out bags of food when guests were leaving. I remember some guests said that they never attended anything like this, and they really had a great time.
Did you learn any new skills?
Being a Comms Project Leader has improved my communication skills and given me a better understanding of how the community works on Facebook.
Did you learn anything else about yourself or others?
Another volunteer told me she knows that every guest who attends the dinner is struggling in life but hasn’t given up on making their life better. She thinks it is her responsibility to help them, as she used to receive the same help when she was in a difficult situation. I was choked by that speech, and it really warmed my heart. I never had the opportunity to see the true spirit humanity before, but what I saw and felt that night in that room is exactly that. Now, I am no longer afraid of the difficulty that I will come across in the future because I believe that there will be many incredible people keen to help me out.
What would you say to others thinking about coming to a FoodCycle meal?
FoodCycle aims to not only about save food and offer warm meals for people in need but also empower people who may be struggling in life. I sincerely hope that the new spot that FoodCycle opened in Sutton-in-Ashfield becomes a place where people feel comfortable getting the burden off their backs, opening their hearts, and finding a sense of peace.
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