Currently, it takes 75 volunteer shifts a week to keep Eggcup running. That includes the staffing to run the warehouse and serve members in Lancaster and Morecambe, the drivers to pick up and deliver food, and the admin support to keep in touch with the members. It is not just shifting crates of tins across the warehouse (though there is a lot of that): volunteers drive, enter the data, record refrigerator temperatures, count a lot, serve the members at the counters, and interact with each other all the time to get the tasks done. Eggcup is grateful to all the volunteers who have contributed so much, now and in the last year; the faces above are just a small selection.
Fourteen months ago we couldn’t have imagined so many people would join us. We didn’t have a charity shop, fundraisers, or a public face, and it takes some time to explain just what we do. Coronavirus crisis greatly expanded the work we had to do, including many more deliveries. At the same time, many more volunteers came with the first lockdown, and we had help from Lancaster City Council contacting them, explaining what we do, and getting them signed up. Many of them had been furloughed, had their hours cut, or found their usual volunteer programmes suspended. More recently, we have benefitted from recommendations from existing volunteers and members.
They come from all kinds of backgrounds: hairdressers, students, researchers, carers, a nursery nurse, a coach driver, a learning disabilities support worker, activists, a dance teacher, two headteachers, a catering manager, and international aid worker, a seafarer, and a science fiction writer. (They have a remarkable range of masks too). They come from all sorts of places, and all ages. Some have lived in the Lancaster area all their lives, and some have arrived just a few months ago. Often, they are people who have volunteered, or are volunteering, at other charities. They learn about food safety, manual handling, the inventory system, the list of members. But they also amaze our staff, with the skills and experience they bring, their willingness to take on unfamiliar tasks, and the flair they show in interacting with a wide range of people (see our video on Facebook).
In the cycle of lockdown and opening up, people on furlough go back to their jobs, or students go back to studying for exams, or people have other demands on their time. So we always need new volunteers, and we are ready to show them what we believe in and what we do. right now, we especially need drivers. If you have some time, leave us your number (see the ‘Volunteer’ tab on the web page) and we will take it from there. And if you are already busy volunteering for one of the many other great local charities, congratulations and thanks.