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On 7 April 2022, I was invited down to Fareshare in Barnsley to help out at their food bank. There was a warm welcome into their warehouse, and the staff and volunteers were helpful and friendly.

Fareshare is made up of 18 different organisations focusing on redistributing food to those in need. It receives food donations from supermarkets, schools, businesses and local people and is the largest in the UK. These local donations are collected by volunteers and brought back to the warehouse for sorting.

I spent the morning helping a volunteer sort out the donations from the local community, these were mainly tinned and dry packaged foods. The time flew as we chatted away and placed the items into types of food and date order; there were three of us, and we soon got through everything for that day.

We spent the afternoon filling the orders. The goods were divided into groups – single occupants and families – trying to give each recipient a mix of products and items that could be made into meals and stretched out.

It was quite sobering to see the donated items and the contents of each family’s basket. The volunteers tried to give everyone as many items off the list as they could, but there was a shortage of biscuits and sweets which was a shame as this was the week before Easter.

It was a humbling experience and highlighted the incredible work this charity does for the local community. A much-needed charity that has seen its resources stretched during the pandemic with requests for help increasing, first due to COVID, and now with the cost of living crisis.

I’m lucky to work for a company that allows us to volunteer in the community during work time and I hope to be back at Fareshare next year to help. It’s an unfunded, oversubscribed resource that will need more help in the coming months.

If anyone can help further please get in touch with them to learn more about how to donate or volunteer.