Daz is a volunteer driver at the FareShare Yorkshire Leeds depot. He received an award for ‘Driver of the Year’ at the FareShare National Volunteer Awards, highlighting his incredible hard work.
How did you feel about winning the Driver of the Year award?
It has come as of a bit of a shock, I didn’t expect anything like this. I am very pleased and thankful for the great team I have behind me – Steph, Dave, and Peter. I am very fortunate to work alongside good people, this award is just a bonus.
How long have you been volunteering at FareShare and why did you decide to start?
As I was retired, I thought I needed to do something with my time. I started off at the LGI helping the nurses in the pre-assessment ward, meeting and greeting people. I then volunteered with an organisation which supported people who were blind and visually impaired. My role involved visiting them at home and showing them how to use the audio on their radios, which I really enjoyed.
Then the pandemic started, and everything stopped. I saw an advert looking for volunteer drivers to help deliver food to people who needed it, and it just followed on from there.
The first time I was out driving to people’s homes to drop off food hampers, I soon realised how people were struggling, so I thought I need to keep doing this because there are a lot of people going through a difficult time right now. Fortunately, I was ok and not struggling, but I wanted to help and that was how it all started.
What does your role involve?
I work in the frozen warehouse in Leeds. I pick up the van, and then the guys and Steph all help me to pick the food for the orders. We fill the van and I drive to Leeds, South Yorkshire and various other places delivering this frozen food to schools, community centres etc. It can be quite hectic at times, but I enjoy meeting and greeting people and feel very fulfilled doing it.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering with FareShare?
I love that I am helping to get food to people who really need it, especially those struggling with the cost of living crisis. When I used to deliver food hampers, you would have young kids running up shouting “Mummy, mummy, we’ve got some food”. That was how bad it was in Leeds. I thought to myself, I need to do more, I have the time, so let me just help where I can.
Have you learnt any skills since volunteering with FareShare?
I would say as I’m like an ambassador for FareShare, this means I get to meet and talk to different types of people each time. I find it a joy.
How has volunteering made a difference in your life?
Mentally and physically, it’s kept me going. Mentally it has given me something to do and focus on. I get to help the team with tasks and in return the team also help me. Physically, I am doing a bit of labour – carrying and lifting things. It’s kept me mobile, it’s kept me going. At my age you’ve got to keep going, you can’t just be sat down. I’m healthy so why not? I get fulfilment from it, I have a great team behind me, and we have a bit of a laugh together. I really enjoy being there.
What has been your most memorable experience so far?
Overall, I would say seeing happy people. I usually volunteer on Wednesdays and Fridays and lately I’ve also been helping on Mondays as we are short of drivers. Seeing the expression on people’s faces when we arrive, they are so thankful for the food that we bring as they can pass this on to people who need it. The people I meet are also really nice and we all have a bit of a banter. They are thankful for us and it’s important to let them know that they are doing a great job too.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about joining FareShare as a volunteer?
I recommend it. You don’t know what you’re missing out on, the fulfilment that you get from it is great. You’ll really enjoy volunteering with FareShare. I’m hoping to get my son involved too as I know he’ll enjoy it just as much as I do.
If you’d like to become a FOOD HERO like Daz and volunteer with FareShare Yorkshire, you can find out more by clicking here.