By Shannon Stevens
"I first heard about the volunteering opportunity through my mum who works at Gloucester Services, who had participated in the HAF project at Easter. Together with my sister we would wake up early and head to Murray Hall in Tuffley. Each day was different; some days would have us primarily packing bags filled with either meal kits or picnic lunches for families for the summer holidays. Other days would have us lifting said bags into various transports or potentially helping to unpack the stacks and stacks of ingredients from the delivery vans into safe spaces for storage.
I would say that the hardest aspect was lifting the hundreds of bags into the van, but bringing a pair of gloves helped reduce the strain on my hands. Another physically demanding aspect of the experience, was the unpacking at the start of the week. This included unpacking and moving stacks of ingredients almost twice the size of me to somewhere more appropriate - though not at the same time - but boxes of oranges weigh a lot more than you would think.
It was worth it though due to the feeling of comradery between everybody as we worked out the best way to transport and store the deliveries. The best part of volunteering was both the other regular volunteers, as you would get to know and meet people from all walks of life which often led to interesting conversations, and the feeling of doing a full day's work and knowing that your labour will help those that need it. Ultimately, if my schedule permits it, I have every intention of joining up for the Christmas event that they plan to do as it is both a good deed to do, and an interesting experience that encourages the use of several skills."