This interview was conducted by another HITS volunteer, Diane Jolly, on 17 August 2016.
Julie Bakewell has just worked her fifth shift at HITS Foodbank, and she has loved the range of tasks that she’s been given to do. She’s packed and delivered food and toiletries bags; accompanied drivers in order to help load and unload donations; shopped for emergency supplies at a local supermarket; made the tea; and done the washing up.
Julie moved from London to Teignmouth about eighteen months ago after a long career in related fields: working in adult social care; running rough sleeper hostels; and referring clients to foodbanks. She is finding it very interesting experiencing the same process, but from the foodbank perspective.
She is very impressed with how accessible the HITS services are, and especially with the idea that food and toiletries packs are held by doctors’ surgeries, shops, churches and other local volunteers, as well as at the Newton Abbot HQ. This means that clients can access the help they need, quickly, and without any potential embarrassment, which can so easily occur.
Being new to the area, and also being self-employed and working from home, means that opportunities for meeting people can be limited. Julie is full is praise for the HITS Team: “It’s great being part of such a wonderful group of empathetic, passionate, understanding and thoroughly decent people. It’s very good for one’s own emotional well-being.”
It’s clear that Julie derives enormous gratification from being part of an immediate response team, which really goes some way in addressing the most essential aspect of staying alive in the most difficult of circumstances: putting food in bellies. “Homelessness can happen to anyone,” she reflects. “I remember a GP and a barrister who found themselves in a London hostel during challenging times of their lives.”
And Julie has also experienced a couple of unexpected bonuses: HITS pay travel expenses, so as not to leave their volunteers out of pocket. Plus, knowing that she is going to be out of the house volunteering, she ensures that she is super-productive while she is at home, and zooms around doing her chores!
Might you be interested volunteering some of your time to help those that are in need within our area?