By Andy Hirst

A Huddersfield food bank needs more people to spare it a few hours.

The Welcome Centre Food Bank in Huddersfield town centre is always busy and relies on volunteers to run the service which helps thousands of people every year.

Mike Bristow, centre manager at The Welcome Centre, said: “Our volunteers are very much at the heart of everything we do. Without their hours of support we simply could not provide such a vital service to our clients.

“We have around 120 volunteers across the charity. Compare that to the nine members of staff we have and you can quite quickly understand just how crucial our volunteers are.”

The volunteers are needed for four key areas:

·        Stores – adding tinned and dried products to food packs.

·        Fresh – adding fresh produce to packs.

·        Distribution – putting food packs into crates and sorting them into collection and delivery loading areas.

·        Telephones – taking referrals for food packs from support services within Kirklees.

Everyone who volunteers is well trained so they understand the circumstances faced by the people who turn to the food bank for help.

Mike added: “Managing our team of volunteers is the best part of my job role at the centre as I get to work with so many different people. There’s never a quiet moment with having so many people on board, each with their own interests and reasons for supporting us.

Volunteers are a big part of The Welcome Centre

“We very much want volunteering to be a social experience with many of our volunteers forming new friendships and discovering new activities through the people they have met at The Welcome Centre.

“Our volunteers do a fantastic job for our clients, despite the increasing challenges we face, and I’m proud to have such a dedicated team who are willing to go the extra mile for our clients.”

For those responsible for putting together food packs it’s very much like doing a weekly shop at the supermarket picking products off shelves. Volunteers are given a shopping list to follow which is specific to each person they are providing with food and other essentials.

Volunteers in the warehouse are responsible for sorting stock donations and preparing non-food packs such as toiletries, cleaning products and vital items needed for people setting up in new accommodation.

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* Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting. Copyright Andy Hirst.