Pat has been volunteering at Bath Foodbank since 2013, almost as long as Foodbank has been running in the Bath area.  She started off volunteering by collecting the vouchers from the depots and entering them onto the database. Although this is still something she does, she was approached four years ago by Tim Harris, who led Foodbank at the time, to assist him and his wife Sue with giving talks at schools.

Pat is still doing talks at various schools in Bath, especially primary schools. We asked her a few questions about her role and what it meant to her.

Why do you think doing talks at schools is important?

“There are two reasons for doing it really. One is just to say thank you because the schools have been very generous, particularly during the harvest campaigns.  Secondly, we give them a deeper understanding of what the Foodbank does and make the children aware of the needs in Bath.”

What has volunteering meant to you?

“I was volunteering for the Guide Association for a long time. Then, when I retired, I had more free time and I wanted to do a variety of things and one of them had to be Foodbank.

I think I saw an advert to help put all the vouchers from the agencies onto a database.  I just thought that’s an ideal thing to do because the Foodbank is so very important.”

What would you say has been the highlight of your volunteering experience?

“It’s definitely the talks because I love giving the talks and I love seeing the children and singing the harvest songs.

There was one particular time when I went to Oldfield Primary School. They hadn’t been able to meet all together since before the pandemic so the harvest festival this year was the first time they’d met for two years.  They were just so excited!  It was just a lovely experience and I was sitting there in the middle of it all.  It was just great.  They were very generous to Foodbank as they brought an enormous quantity of food.”

What would you say has been the most difficult experience whilst working for Foodbank?

“The difficult experience is standing in front of the children explaining that in Bath, and probably within the community that they’re sitting in, there are people who don’t have enough food.  It’s appalling and I’m quite sure that all the schools I go to have some people there who have had to take advantage of the Foodbank.  You don’t make a big thing about that but it’s just an appalling thought that in a place like Bath, which is extremely privileged, that we need a Foodbank. Many children say ‘I didn’t know that people in Bath needed food’ and there might be a child in the same room whose parents or guardians are actually receiving food from the Foodbank.”

Would you recommend the volunteering experience to other people?

“Absolutely! I would recommend anybody to get involved with Foodbank if they can because I know that Foodbank always needs people to help.  Foodbank offers a wide variety of roles so everyone can find something.”

All of us at Genesis Trust and Bath Foodbank would like to say a special thank you to Pat for all that she has done and is still doing to help. We couldn’t do what we do without volunteers such as Pat.

If you would be interested in volunteering with the Bath Foodbank, please click HERE to find out more.