As well as being a diverse group of volunteers, the way in which people contribute varies – some have been coming weekly for years and others such as some of our corporate volunteers may visit us for an intensive period on a one-off basis. Everyone’s input makes a difference.
Over the past few months, staff from the digital communications company EE have dedicated time, energy and creativity to support The People’s Kitchen. The relationship began when staff from EE dropped off some chocolates that were left over from a promotion. They continued to support us with donations of goods, such as cups and chocolates, and are now fundraising and supporting in person, putting their corporate volunteering hours to great use. Working alongside clothing store volunteers Barbara and Catriona, the enthusiastic teams have been invaluable in sorting through the mountain of kindly donated clothing.
Rachael Brennan, chief coordinator from EE, tells us more:
“Each year our 1,000 employees at EE NT1 vote for a local charity they would like to support, and in March 2018 the vote went to The People’s Kitchen. We set out to raise funds for the Friends and to use as much volunteering time as we could to support the amazing team at the Kitchen.
“Our teams from across the site have loved pitching in! Of the 5,000 hours used, most of the time has been spent with the lovely Barbara and her team in the clothing store, sifting through and organising the mountains of generous donations and washing down the store to help make sure everything is kept in the best possible condition for the Friends. They have even been allowed to chop a vegetable or two, under strict supervision of course!
“Seeing the amazing work that the teams do at the Kitchen, and the tireless passion and care with which they do it has been truly inspiring. In the words of one of our guys: ‘They’re absolute legends’.
“Our deadline for this year’s fundraising is the end of March. To see out the year with a bang we’ll be holding a sponsored sleep-out on March 30th with a team of volunteers bedding down for the night outdoors to raise both awareness of homelessness and funds for The People’s Kitchen, an amazing local cause that is now and will remain very close to our hearts.”
Barbara shares her experience of working with the EE teams and about the impact of having the support of this committed organisation:
“EE has been absolutely fantastic in helping out in the clothing store. Since mid-October we have had over 80 volunteers. Their help has been invaluable to our team, helping us organise the items we need to give to Friends.
“Any we can’t use are put into red bags and we sell them for cash to buy items we need. By helping us pack the red bags, the teams from EE have supported us to raise almost £3,000 and still counting.
“Their commitment has been first class and we have laughed a lot. Each group has been very interested in the history and services we provide and has expressed their interest in returning.”
We catch up with one of our Friends, Micky, to find out how what difference the clothing store has made to him:
“I’ve been coming here for years. I usually get socks, boxer shorts and thermal tops (from the clothing store) and a regular meal here. A few weeks ago, I got a proper thermal sleeping bag, army issued for the Antarctic. It is so warm I sometimes have to unzip it in the middle of the night, even when it’s been minus three and icy!”
Would you and your colleagues fancy getting involved to continue to support people like Micky? Can your organisation support you to volunteer? We have corporate volunteering opportunities in the clothing store, food preparation and in the warehouse – great for team building and a way to provide much needed support for a worthwhile cause. If you’re interested, get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org