Last month Sodexo volunteers were joined by members of the Cabinet Office for a day of volunteering with Stop Hunger charity partner FareShare at their Deptford food centre. Sodexo volunteer Stephanie discusses her experience and shares a ‘behind the scenes’ look at her day.
Stephanie Allen, Student Experience Manager, Sodexo Schools & Universities:
“On Tuesday 11 June I had the opportunity to volunteer alongside other Sodexo people and some members of the Cabinet Office at FareShare for a day.
“At Sodexo, every employee is given the opportunity to volunteer for up to three days per year, fully paid and fully supported. I was very happy to take a day out of the office and help an amazing charity that really does make a difference across the UK.
“FareShare is the UK’s longest running food redistribution charity. It is a non-profit food charity that believes no good food should go to waste. With its support, hundreds of food banks and other organisations are distributed surplus food that would otherwise be wasted. It is put to good use turning the food into meals or redistributed amongst those who need it.
“From their food centre in Deptford, South London Fareshare make regular food donations to the parts of the community which need it the most. The Deptford centre is one of 21 regional centres that reach 1,960 towns and cities across the UK.
"Upon our arrival at the centre, the first priority was our health and safety induction. Both groups bonded over the importance of being safe when participating in the volunteering day, something that both Sodexo and FareShare take very seriously. After the health and safety briefing we were separated into two smaller groups and allocated to one of South London Fareshare’s volunteer drivers who would take us across the city to deliver food donations to local community organisations and charities.
Pictured: Stephanie (third from left) and the other volunteers being briefed at the beginning of their day
“My groups van driver for the day was Jeff. Our first stop of the morning was to homeless refuge ‘The Connection’ - a charity who works with approximately 4,000 homeless people per year situated in the heart of London next to St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square.
“Here we dropped off a variety of food ranging from fresh vegetables, salads, ready meals and beef burgers which were all greatly appreciated. All of this food would have been wasted if it wasn’t for FareShare; I couldn’t believe how much there was!
“Our next stop was to a woman’s refuge for domestic violence survivors where we delivered another crate of food with the assistance of the refuge’s kitchen staff. With each food donation the Jeff and I issued a dispatch note as proof of a successful delivery before shooting off to another location. Other drop off donations included; a local parish church, a community cookery school, a rehab centre and a young offenders centre.
“Once all the food donations were made, the two teams headed back to the Fareshare food centre to finish the day by picking and packing orders ready for the next day’s deliveries. By this point, both teams from Sodexo and the Cabinet Office were tired after a hard day’s graft.
“It was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed my day volunteering with FareShare. Jeff was a massive help and very informative with how the process worked - it was amazing to see someone so selfless be that impassioned about what they do every day. I’m looking forward to booking my next two days and I encourage everyone else at Sodexo and beyond to do the same!"
Pictured below: Stephanie (far right) with the Sodexo and Cabinet Office volunteer teams
If you would like to join Stop Hunger in the fight against hunger, please click here for more information on how you can volunteer or fundraise. #MyStopHungerPledge