“I found the Good Food Depot through Volunteer Scotland. I had been living overseas and was going through difficulties in my marriage so returned to Edinburgh in 2010 for a while. I started volunteering as I needed routine in my life. I had done many years of voluntary charity work overseas so volunteering was familiar. Like many people I found I could help myself by helping others. At first I worked in the Depot sorting and delivering food. After several months I returned overseas but finally returned for good to Edinburgh in 2011. A volunteer was needed for the Food Education Programme in the kitchen where clients are given the opportunity to learn how to cook healthy, nutritional meals on a budget and gain confidence with food and cooking.”
“The emotional support and sense of purpose I get from volunteering at the Good Food Depot and Food Education has made an immeasurable difference to me during a very difficult period in my life. No matter what’s going on, I can speak to a member of staff about things, in confidence and know that they’re going to listen and be supportive.”
“I started volunteering with Cyrenians because I recognise where they are coming from. One of managers talks about giving ‘a hand up, not a hand-out’ and that’s something I really believe works. There’s a temptation to just throw money at a problem, or write a cheque to make yourself feel better and then forget about. Cyrenians really tackles the roots of the problems, for instance, not simply handing out food at a food bank, but helping people to cook and eat healthy food on a tight budget. The work in the tackles food poverty in a range of ways- there are emergency packs of food if someone’s in a tight spot, and the Good Food Programme teaches people to cook with what they have.”
“I’ve seen some amazing changes happen in the Good Food Programme cooking classes. It does wonders for people’s self-esteem and I love being part of that. I remember a young man who had never done any real cooking from scratch. At the end of the cooking class when everyone sat down to share the food they had cooked in the class he was grinning from ear to ear when someone praised the food he had cooked. Another lovely lady was overjoyed to receive her certificate awarded at the end of the classes. She was going to frame it and give it to her mum. It was the first certificate she had ever received and she wanted her mum to feel proud of her.”
“I enjoy helping out in any way I can at the Good Food Depot. I have become a bit of a girl Friday getting the chance to help at all sorts of events which is really interesting. I also enjoy joining in some of the fun activities with the other volunteers like ten pin bowling.”
Claire’s name was changed to preserve her anonymity.