At Foodshare, we are always looking for help from volunteers.
We suggest volunteers only take on a single role (which typically takes an hour or so), and does it regularly once each month. That way, it should not become onerous, which means you are likely to end up helping for a much longer period.
We set out below the various roles we have. If you want to volunteer for any role, please either:
- Cooking meals
This can be done at any time of the day or night, to suit you. We cook fresh meals which we freeze and distribute on Saturday mornings. Each person can choose to cook for 10, 20, 30 or 40 people. The food must be cooked fresh, and brought to the Foodshare Centre. It can be done at any time of the day or night, to suit you. If you do not already have cooking certification, you will need to take a 1 hour online food hygiene course.
- Foodshare Bag Packing
This is done two or three times a week, usually in the mornings, but occasionally in early afternoons. We put food into bags from the shelves at the Foodshare Centre in Maidenhead, and take them to any of half a dozen or so distribution points. This involves packing and carrying three bags full of food at a time, and you may want to avoid this role if you have a bad back.
- Food Collections
On Friday mornings (10:00-11:30am), we collect food donations from half a dozen or so locations around Maidenhead, and deliver it to the Foodshare Centre, where the food is put into crates for future sorting. We collect in pairs. One of the pair needs a car. You may want to avoid this role if you have a bad back.
The homeless meals take place on Thursday evenings, between 6:00pm-8:30pm:
We have teams of two or three cooks for each meal. This involves deciding what you want to cook, buying food (the cost of which is reimbursed) and preparing it on the day. There are two or three assistants in the kitchen on the day. We have several recipes, with quantities and timings, if you want to use them. We cook for 50 people. If you do not already have cooking certification, you will need to take a 1 hour online food hygiene course.
- Helping in the kitchen
This involves washing up, making teas and coffees and helping the cooks if they want help. Very occasionally, the want help with preparing vegetables. Much more common is help putting food onto plates and taking it to the waiters.
- Serving food
This involves direct contact with the guests, serving them teas and coffees and food. A key aspect of Open Kitchen's homeless meals is making guests feel welcome. There is good support for volunteers on the day. Prior to doing this role, many people apprehensive. But the overwhelming response to the first session is how fulfilling they found it.
The Foodshare evening activities take place on Mondays - Thursdays, between 7:30-8:30pm. The timing is flexible, and occasionally extends to Friday evenings and weekends during the day:
This involves taking donated food out of their crates and sorting them onto shelves. It involves quite a lot of bending down. It is not a good job to do with a bad back. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we collect donated food from a couple of drop off locations and bring it to the Foodshare Centre before doing the sorting.
Meals are served between 5:30-7:00pm. We prepare community meals for 80 or so people.
The specific activities depend on who is helping. Generally, we cook meals that are easy to prepare and cook for large numbers. We have plenty of experience to help anyone who wants to cook but who may feels daunted. If you do not already have cooking certification, you will need to take a 1 hour online food hygiene course.
- Serving food
This involves helping guests come to help themselves to food, making sure they have drinks and making them feel comfortable. It is quite a fun environment, and this is quite a fun role.
We make sandwiches on Mondays and Fridays, and serve them between 6:15-7:30pm:
- Making and serving sandwiches
This involves buying ingredients and making up sandwiches for up to 40 people. Generally, the food is prepared in advance.
- Food distributions
Saturdays, between 9:15-11:30am. This involves packing bags from a list of food our guests have chosen, and handing it to them. People come in at 1/2 hour slots. We tend to have very busy periods at the beginning of the slots and can get quite quiete towards the end of each slot. It involves a fair amount of bending, and is not a good idea if you have a bad back.
- Supermarket collections
One hour slots, between 8:00am-6:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This involves standing outside supermarkets and handing people leaflets on request about what food to donate. We avoid being proactive, only asking for food donations when people approach us. During collections, it is surprising how many people see our Foodshare banner and come up to us to ask how they can help. From time to time, they ask questions about what we do, who we help and how they can volunteer themselves. At the end of the session, the food is taken to the Foodshare Centre and put in crates for future sorting.
We provide shelter 7 days a week for people who are homeless. It is only possible with the help of volunteers. To volunteer to help at the Shelter, please click here
- Home Instead Senior Care
Home Instead provides day-to-day care for older people in their own homes. They are looking to employ people to visit their elderly clients and spend time with them. Call Paul Westgarth on 07788 312759 or visit their website : www.homeinstead.co.uk
- Family Friends
Family Friends in Windsor and Maidenhead is an organisation supporting local families in need of free and confidential practical and emotional support. Can you help by providing around two hours a week (normally up to six weeks) to supporting a family in need, helping them get back on their feet? Call Kerry on 0300 800 1005 or visit www.family-friends.org.uk to ask how you can support local families. To download our leaflet, click here
- Maidenhead Mencap
Help kids with learning disabilities at the Saturday Club. This is very rewarding work. Some experience of working with children would be helpful but not essential.
Timing: Saturday 10:00am - 12:00pm
Contact Details: Catherine Ward 01494 880047