First Bus volunteers drive efforts support Rochdale Foodbank 

Date published: 31 May 2024

Big-hearted volunteers from First Bus geared up for some heavy lifting to assist Rochdale Foodbank this month, as prepares to expand its service across the community.

Team members from the bus operator spent a week at the charity’s premises in Rochdale town centre, transforming the warehousing space to create a new pantry area which will provide other services as well as ambient, chilled and frozen food for a low membership fee.

Staff and volunteers at the foodbank are also enjoying a larger rest area for breaks and meetings with the former staff room altered to provide more storage of donated goods.

Kevin Mullin, social value manager at First Bus, said: “We met with the foodbank team as we were preparing to begin the start of our depot in Rochdale and they told us about the plans to re-organise the existing space for more services. As newcomers it was an ideal opportunity for us to get involved in the community.

“Witnessing the impact this has in supporting the daily lives of local people has been very rewarding.”

First Bus volunteers supported Rochdale Foodbank collections last weekend by encouraging customers at the Asda store to purchase and donate much-needed items while shopping for their own homes and families.

Colleagues at the Rochdale depot on Corporation Street have also been making donations – filling a box with 26kgs of food items.

Iain Wight, development manager at Rochdale Foodbank, said: “Rochdale Foodbank only exists because of the goodwill of many people in the community, from the many hundreds of personal food donations every week, to the brilliant volunteer teams, our Referral Partners and our corporate supporters.

“We never take any help for granted and we are delighted to welcome First Bus as a new corporate supporter in 2024. Your team have been a great help as we reorganise our warehouse and we are grateful for your support at our Food Drive at Asda in Rochdale.

“Food donations are always low at this time of year and Food Drives make a very big difference to our food stocks and our ability to meet the very high demand for our Emergency Food Parcels.”

Rochdale Foodbank has been operating since 2012 and in the past two years has spent £40,000 a year buying food to meet the demand in addition to food donated by the public.  

It is currently providing over 500 food parcels every month - needing over 6,000 kgs of food. Each food parcel contains around 24 items worth £15-£25 depending on family size, enough to provide a minimum of 10 meals over 3 days.  

The collection centre also has a café and advice centre next door which is supported by Citizens Advice every day to help clients with financial services to help manage demand. 

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