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8 July 2024

Key to Life issues urgent appeal for volunteers

With the need for foodbanks continuing to soar as people are still struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, South Tyneside charity Key is in desperate need of more volunteers for its Key to Life Foodbank.

Key to Life is the longest running foodbank in South Tyneside, a vast operation providing emergency food and support to people in crisis and championing hard-pressed local families with initiatives such as food and activities during school holidays, pre-loved school uniform, and help with food and presents at Christmas.

It urgently needs more volunteers to help it continue to support those in our community facing hardship and hunger and has a wide variety of rewarding roles available for those who are empathetic, passionate about helping others, and able to spare around three hours per week.

Volunteers can get involved in roles such as telephone and logistical administration, which demand good communication skills and computer literacy and are most acutely in need of filling; welcoming clients and giving out food parcels, providing advice and signposting to other services; sorting and unpacking donations and making up food parcels; and driving the Key to Life van to collect donated and surplus food, and make deliveries to those who are house-bound.

The foodbank could also use a bank of occasional volunteers to help with one-off events such as supermarket food drives, including at weekends.

Guidance and training will be given for all aspects of the work and all volunteers will be expected to act as ambassadors for Key, raising the charity’s profile positively in the local area and beyond.

There are plenty of well-known benefits to volunteering, it is a fantastic way to meet new people, boost confidence, learn new skills, advance your career, bring fun and fulfilment to your life, and feel healthier and happier.

Jason, Key to Life Foodbank volunteer, said: “Volunteering has given me the skills and confidence to become work ready. We’re one big friendly team at the foodbank and it’s been a great experience for me.”

Marion, Key to Life Foodbank volunteer, said: “Helping in my local community is really rewarding and I especially enjoy the face-to-face contact with the families we support.”

Marie Burnett, poverty prevention team leader at Key, said: “Volunteers are the life blood of our foodbank. Your skills could be just what we need. We want you to enjoy volunteering and there are lots of ways to get involved. Whatever role you choose, you will make a real difference to the life of someone in crisis.”

Emma Short, foodbank co-ordinator at Key, reiterated “We simply cannot continue to do what we do without the generous support of our wonderful team of volunteers. You really can’t put a price on the gift of time and we’re asking our community to give whatever hours they can.”

“We’re a really friendly team down at the foodbank, the camaraderie among us generates a happy working atmosphere, we enjoy a wide range of social events together outside of work, and we strive to make using Key to Life a welcoming and dignified experience for our clients.”

For more information and to arrange an informal chat about volunteering at the foodbank, please DM Key to Life’s Facebook page (@KeytoLifeFoodbank), give the team a call on 07833 613 393, or email ‘hello@keycommunity.org.uk.’ with details of your availability.