Week 2: 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.

This week we take a look at Mai’s second week of volunteering at FareShare North East. Check out her first diary entry here. 

Monday 28th March 2022

Today, I worked as a warehouse assistant. I felt more confident than last week, so I worked by myself this time. I found out that it is very important to make the trolleys well balanced because some kinds of foods, like the tinned vegetables, were very heavy. It is really important to make sure that everything is safe and balanced when packing the food.

The picking list today was very long, 3 pages of A4 sheets! It was challenging for me because I had to pick up a lot of food from different sections of the warehouse, with the total weight at 180kg! I asked for help when I couldn’t find some foods, but the other volunteers were more than happy to help. I also had to receive some help when lifting heavy bags of vegetables like carrots and potatoes. 

Thursday 31st March 2022

I worked as a warehouse assistant in a pair today. Each day has different food so sometimes I took some time finding the food that was on the picking list. We divided the picking between us to gather everything quickly and I asked the helpful staff where the location of the food was if I was not able to find it.

Friday 1st April 2022

Today I took a manual handling training session to learn how to avoid injury. The trainer explained how spines work and how much load lower back would take, this was a lot of new knowledge for me. I found out what when people hold a 20kg box, their lower backs takes 60kg load, and when they lift it up the load is 200kg. These numbers were much larger than my original expectations. I also found that it is important to check the weight before the lifting as it can cause injuries to backs or shoulders. I will ensure that I ask other staff members to support me the next time if anything is too heavy. Now I have the knowledge to protect myself, I will work with these safety instructions. 

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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