In honour of Valentine’s Day, we connected with Ian and Janie, a brilliant couple who volunteer with us at FoodCycle Marylebone. Racking up over 600 volunteer hours between them, Ian and Janie are truly dedicated to FoodCycle’s mission and the guests that they serve week in and week out.
Find out a little more about Ian and Janie and why volunteering as a duo works so well for them.
Why did you decide to volunteer together and how do you find it?
We started volunteering together for Crisis At Christmas before we came across FoodCycle. We got involved with FoodCycle early in the pandemic; it made practical sense for us to team up together while doing deliveries. Then, once FoodCycle could return to communal dining, “doing FoodCycle together” was our thing and we stuck with that, volunteering as a pair of Hosting Project Leaders.
We volunteer mostly at Marylebone and occasionally at White City. Very occasionally, one of us will volunteer without the other, e.g. to cover a leader shortage, but we like volunteering as a pair. It works well for us. We each bring very different skills to FoodCycle and we enjoy doing our charity work as a pair.
Regular guests and volunteers know that we are a couple, but occasionally someone will ask us, tentatively, “Are you two…umm…you know…together?” We usually get a laugh when one of us answers, “Yes, but we’ve only been together for about 30 years”.
What do you look forward to most at a FoodCycle volunteering session?
We enjoy all of our time with FoodCycle, but the most rewarding thing, for us, is interaction with the guests. We have gotten to know some guests well over the months and
years, but each time we volunteer we also meet new people who might challenge us, delight us, or both challenge and delight us.
With difficult guests, it helps that we two know each other so well. We can explain a problem and agree on possible solutions together in double-quick time. We very much enjoy sharing our experiences after the FoodCycle sessions. We feel privileged to interact with and learn from the people with meet at FoodCycle – guests and volunteers.
Would you recommend other couples, friends or family join FoodCycle as volunteers?
FoodCycle is a wonderful charity, enabling us to provide food and social activity to guests who benefit from being offered those things.
Volunteering for FoodCycle under any circumstances is great, but volunteering with a friend/companion is multiply-great.