City residents praise charity’s work as it seeks new volunteers in region to bolster numbers as some supporters return to work having backed cause while on furlough
Food Train is seeking more volunteers to support its life-improving work to collect and deliver critical shopping supplies to older people across Glasgow.
The charity, whose mission it is to provide practical, social and emotional support to help older people to eat well, age well and live well at home, was grateful for a surge in support from volunteers as it responded to record-breaking demand at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But, as many of the volunteers who signed up at that time return to their regular jobs as the UK Government’s furlough scheme draws to a close, they are finding themselves with less time to support the cause’s work.
And that comes as Food Train continues to meet massive demand, with the number of customers receiving weekly deliveries in Glasgow 82% higher than this time last year. The charity is currently supporting 443 people in the city.
Chris Curtis, Food Train Regional Manager for Glasgow, said: “The support we have had from our volunteers throughout the pandemic – and the response we have from people who could see the extra help we needed to meet the unprecedented demand we have seen – has been fantastic.
“But, as many people who took the opportunity to help us while on furlough leave return to work as demand for our services remains high, we find ourselves in need of more people to both help with shopping for our customers’ orders and in delivering them.
“That’s why we’re encouraging anyone who can spare a few hours a week to get in-touch. It’s enjoyable, rewarding work and we have a great team spirit. The knowledge that your shopping is being taken care of and that someone will deliver it to you makes a real positive difference to the lives of older people across Glasgow.”
Nationally, Food Train’s shopping service is currently supporting 3,118 customers every week, up from 1,905 at the beginning of the pandemic. The numbers have surged because of older people shielding or taking greater steps to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Customers supported by the charity across Glasgow have explained why the work of its volunteers is so important.
Moira Anderson, of Crookston, said: “I would have been lost without Food Train these past weeks. Not only does it stop my family worrying about me but it also gives me peace of mind. It’s a great service. The delivery team is always so nice and always have a smile.”
Chrissie Ashe, of Govanhill, said: “I wouldn’t have been able to get food without Food Train. I would be in dire straits. All the volunteers are very helpful and put away my shopping as I would not be able to do this myself. Thank god for Food Train!”
Lois Dundas, of Shawlands, said: “Food Train is invaluable. Excellent, patient people, so caring with a good attitude. I have been with Food Train for four years and they are a wonderful team of fantastic people. I would really struggle without them.”
To find out more about volunteering with Food Train, call 0141 423 1722 or go to www.thefoodtrain.co.uk/volunteer.