Week 1: Diary of a Student Volunteer

In March 2022 we welcomed Mai, a Newcastle University Master’s student studying International Development and Education, who volunteered with us for four weeks.

Mai wrote a diary of her time volunteering, speaking all about what she did and her experiences. Check out the entry for the first week in Mai’s Student Volunteer Diary.

Monday 21st March 2022

I attended my volunteering induction at FareShare North East. I saw a huge amount of food, and at first, I thought it was be great because a lot of people could receive food from FareShare North East, but at the same time, I was overwhelmed with the fact that this would be wasted if charities like FareShare do not exist.

During the induction, I heard several reasons as to why food comes to FareShare North East, like delivery delays to supermarkets, the impact of seasonal events, and mislabeling! I hearing that around 150 people volunteer for FareShare North East, all wanting to tackle food insecurity and food insecurity! I am really excited to start volunteering!

Thursday 24th March 2022

Today was my first proper day of volunteering for FareShare North East. Before I started, I wore a bib, gloves and safety shoes. A staff member who worked with me explained what I needed to do before I started volunteering. This is what we did:

  • There were list which were shown what we needed to pick for each community group, so we collected the food from several sections of the warehouse. The warehouse is so large, but each section is numbered and the lists show where the food is located – so it’s not too complicated!
  • We went into the chiller to pick refrigerated food, like dairy and vegetables.
  • We wrote the van numbers and locations on a piece of cardboard and put it on the top of the food box and kept it in the chiller – ready for delivery the next day!

I was impressed at how organised the warehouse was and how friendly the volunteers were. I was able to enjoy the tasks with other volunteers’ support from the beginning.

Friday 25th March 2022

Today was my second day volunteering for FareShare North East. I worked in a pair and did the same tasks as I did yesterday, but this time – it went much smoother! I found lots of new food in the warehouse today, more than yesterday! The lists showed the locations of the new food which was really useful to find them quickly. The changes in the food types made me feel that most of them were surpluses at supermarkets, which would otherwise be thrown away.

Over the next few weeks we will be publishing the rest of Mai’s volunteering journey with FareShare North East – so stay tuned!

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