One challenge charities regularly mention to us is securing volunteers for evening food collections. We spoke to Chris O’Connor from Novas Initiatives in Limerick who told us about his experience:
“Novas Initiatives is a national charity providing services to families, children and single adults who are disadvantaged and socially excluded, primarily those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The FoodCloud Programme has fast become an invaluable part of our service support structure. We collect five times weekly from three Limerick based Tesco Stores. Initially, collecting the donation was problematic as project staff had to leave their normal place of work to make the collection. To alleviate this problem we advertised for volunteers though Volunteer Limerick (other charities nationally can see Volunteer Ireland http://www.volunteer.ie/).
We have experience in using volunteers and have policies and procedures in place. We also provide training to all our volunteers. We now have five different volunteers collecting, one on each of our allocated nights. The volunteers act as a team and provide cover for each other in the event of absences. Each volunteer collects at their given store and drops off the donation at a different service in the city. We are fortunate that two of our Limerick services have their own vehicle and this is available to our volunteers. One volunteer however chooses to use their own vehicle.
Using volunteers has meant that our staff can get on with their normal roles and we never miss a collection. We also have a pool to call on when extra collections are offered to us.”