In honour of Volunteers' Week (1st to 7th June), at FareShare Midlands we want to celebrate our volunteers’ incredible impact on our mission to maximise the social value of surplus food. Their hard work and dedication not only make a tangible difference in our community, but also inspire others to join us to fight hunger, tackle waste and create opportunities.
FareShare Midlands is the region’s largest food redistribution charity. We take good quality surplus food from the food industry and get it to frontline charities all over the Midlands, reaching more than 67,000 vulnerable people every week. We turn an environmental problem into a social solution.
The Impact of Volunteers on Our MissionAt the heart of FareShare Midlands, volunteers tirelessly sort, pack and deliver surplus food to those who need it most. With their help, we have saved over £1 million in labour costs and provided the equivalent of more than 4 million meals to vulnerable people across the region. Their efforts play a crucial role in working towards our vision of a Midlands Region where no-one goes hungry when there is food being wasted, no child goes to school on an empty stomach, and where vulnerable people are supported to join or rejoin the workforce.
The Challenges We FaceDespite our volunteers' significant contribution, we continue to face immense challenges in tackling food waste and poverty. The current economic climate has left many people struggling to make ends meet, and the need for our services is greater than ever. Furthermore, volunteering rates are at an all-time low. The Community Life Survey (CLS) reveals that formal volunteering has declined significantly in the past decade. In 2013/14, 27% of adults in England (approximately 13 million people) participated in formal volunteering; in 2020/21, this number dropped to 17% (approximately 8 million people). In 2021, we worked with 275 regular volunteers, which grew to 422 in 2022. If demand continues to rise at the projected rate, we estimate we will need 600 volunteers by the end of 2023. Our volunteer numbers are currently below what we need to fulfil current orders, and we are desperate for volunteers to drive the vans and in our warehouses.
The Benefits of Volunteering
Research indicates that volunteering offers numerous benefits, including improved mental and physical health, increased social connections, and a greater sense of purpose. Our volunteers' experiences echo these findings. For example, Theo Clarke, Volunteer Warehouse Assistant at Nechells, shares,
"It keeps my skills up to date, and I can do a good thing for other people who need help at the same time."
Another volunteer, Paul Broad, South Wigston Volunteer Warehouse Assistant, recommends FareShare to others, saying,
"The people that work and volunteer at FareShare are very friendly and kind and a joy to be around."
How You Can Help
Our volunteers provide priceless support with driving the vans, helping to sort and store food in our warehouses, and performing administrative tasks in the offices. Whatever you're doing, as a FareShare Midlands volunteer you are getting our good-to-eat surplus food to where it's truly needed. Right now we truly need the business community to get involved in our vital volunteering activities.
If you are a company, find out more about our corporate volunteering opportunities: Join us for a Corporate Volunteer Day!
If you are an individual, find out more about our regular volunteering here: Volunteer With Us.