"Going in there every week you realise the scale of it": spotlight on food bank volunteer helping to feed Sheffield
“The demand for food banks is still massive and I can’t see that changing,” says a Sheffield food bank volunteer who signed up a year ago to help ‘play a part’ during the pandemic.
S6 Food Bank provides more than 1,200 people in Sheffield with groceries and essentials, week in, week out.
They have recently launched a #ForAllSheffield campaign, which aims to fund one million meals across the city in the next year, and have currently raised over £18,000, which is 12 per cent of the total.
The campaign has helped new people get behind the project, which processes 13 tonnes of food through its main warehouse site.
The food bank’s communications lead Alison Wise said: “We have had lots of new conversations with lots of new people wanting to support us and seeing the work that we do, which is brilliant.
“There’s a local dentist who does some invisalign treatment, and he is wanting to set up a scheme each time starts a course of treatment, he is going to make a £50 donation so that could be £400/£500 a month. And that is a completely new relationship, so it was a really random path but will hopefully he hugely beneficial.”
Eleanor Madley, who works part time at the University of Sheffield, started volunteering at the food bank in March last year as she wanted ‘play a part’ in supporting those in need during the pandemic.
A year later, she says ‘demand is still massive’ despite easing of lockdown and restrictions.
Eleanor, who lives in S10, said: “I started volunteering in March 2020, and it was just before they announced lockdown but I thought that maybe the foodbank would be struggling because some of their volunteers would be older and shielding.
"I just realised that there is a growing need for foodbanks, which is obviously very sad, but I wanted to play a part.
"I think also with the pandemic I am not a medic or a frontline worker, so I wanted to play a part in the response to Covid.”
Eleanor volunteers in the S6 Food Bank Gilpin Street warehouse half a day a week, helping to sort out food arrivals, and bagging up ready for delivery elsewhere.
S6 Food Bank is part of the Trussell Trust network, which gave out 2.5 million emergency food parcels last year.
The Sheffield food bank is now supporting eight times more people than it did a year ago – and the demand doesn’t appear to be easing up any time soon.
“Unfortunately I think they will still need us, and since I have been there I have just seen how much the demand has grown,” Eleanor said.
"Even though we are coming out of restrictions, the demand for food banks is still massive and I can’t see that changing. Going in there every week you realise the scale of it.
"You are there one week, and you see lots of food, the next week it is all gone.”
S6 Food Bank, which has 10 sites across the city, has volunteers of all ages and has seen a rise in the number of students keen to help out.
Visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/ForAllSheffield to support their one million meals campaign.