December is a busy time of year, especially for charities. After helping the Trussell Trust pack Christmas shoe boxes to send to vulnerable people in Bulgaria a couple of weeks ago, on Wednesday I became a Christmas hamper hamster for the evening!
It was great to be back at the Trussell Trust’s warehouse in Salisbury, where I volunteered over Summer. Unlike Summer, when it was just myself and one or two other volunteers sorting donations and packing food parcels, there were between 10 to 15 of us hamper hamsters. With the warehouse already full of donated festive food and food parcels that had been prepared earlier in the week by other volunteers, space was short. But as is generally the way when you throw a bunch of volunteers together, we good naturedly muddled along and had some laughs along the way.
I was glad I was familiar with the layout of the warehouse and the procedures for packing the food parcels, because it meant I could show other people what to do and where things were. Some of the volunteers knew each other, but given we were essentially a bunch of strangers, I think we organised ourselves quite efficiently. One gentleman took on the role of assembling the flat packed cardboard boxes, for example, while another monitored the amount of food on the shelves and re-stocked them when necessary.
The goal of our frenzy of activity was to help the Trussell Trust make up regular food parcels for people who will be in need of them over the holiday season, as well as special Christmas parcels. These contained festive favourites like mince pies, Christmas puddings, snacks (eg. crisps, nuts), chocolates, biscuits, etc. Most volunteers were packing for about three hours, so we got through a lot of boxes. And even though we were hamper hamsters, we were very well behaved and didn’t nibble on anything!