Volunteering

We are always grateful for new volunteers at the soup kitchen and food bank. We’ve had a pause on recruitment during the peak of the virus for a number of reasons, but we are getting busier and busier, and we need help now more than ever. There are a number of different roles that you can be involved with, depending on how much time how have to spare, how flexible you are, and how careful you have to be about social distancing. Some roles require you to be on site with the guests, others you can do in church on your own, and some can be done entirely from home. We ask for a regular commitment from our volunteers, but that doesn’t need to be frequent. You can volunteer every week, once every three months, or anything in between.

You can find out more about the different roles below. The application form is at the bottom of the page.

Cook/Kitchen Help
Food Bank Helper
Food Prepper
Stock Taker
Cleaner
Pudding Maker
Admin Support

How to apply
Any questions?

Cook/Kitchen help

When?
Sundays
Tuesdays

Time Commitment?
10.30am – 2.30pm (Sundays)
5.00pm – 9pm (Tuesdays)

Social Distancing Level?
Difficult. Our kitchens are small, so it’s hard. 

You’ll be part of a team of about four people in this role that is in the thick of the soup kitchen action. It requires a bit more time commitment, and is more suitable for someone who is at a lower risk as social distancing is hard in our small kitchens. We try to communicate prior to the shift what food is available and decide what to make. You don’t need any cooking experience – those who are more confident cooks take the lead. As long as you’re happy peeling and chopping, you’re good to go! 

Your role would be:

  • Arrive at church about 1 ½ hours prior to the session opening to begin preparing the food. 
  • You’d be part of the team doing the food preparation and cooking. This includes cooking the main meal, as well as portioning up desserts and getting the takeaway bags ready. 
  • During the session you’ll either be serving food, or making soup for the freezer to use the leftover vegetables. 
  • Towards the end of the session, you’ll be tidying up the kitchen and doing some basic cleaning. You’ll usually be able to leave as soon as the session closes, but there might sometimes be a bit more clearing up to do. 

Food Bank Helper

When?
Sundays
Tuesdays

Time Commitment?
10.30am – 2.30pm (Sundays)
5.00pm – 9.00pm (Tuesdays)

Social Distancing Level?
Difficult. We try, but our spaces are small. 

You’ll be part of a team of about four people running the food bank during the sessions. You’ll either be working out the front with guests taking their orders, shuttling bags of groceries to and fro, or working in the back room packing bags. If you would rather be in contact with fewer people, we can make sure you only work in the back room. 

Between members of the team, your role would be:

  • Checking stock levels are ready to go for the shift. 
  • Preparing the order form ready for the beginning of the session. 
  • Helping to manage the queue of guests. 
  • Engaging with guests to take their orders. 
  • Packing food parcels and taking them to the guests. 

Food Prepper

When?
Tuesday afternoons
Friday afternoons/Saturdays

Time Commitment?
About an hour. 

Social Distancing Level?
Very good. You’ll be in the building alone. This role would also be suitable opportunity for a household who are trying to keep good social distancing to work together.

We are fortunate that White Brothers Greengrocers on Blackstock Road keep us well stocked up with fruit and vegetables. We also grow some of the food in the church gardens. The food is delivered at some point on a Tuesday afternoon, and at some point on a Friday afternoon. A lot of the food we’re able to use (we try not to let anything go to waste), but some of it is a little too far gone even for us. 

Your job would be:

  • To come to church at some point (as suits you) on a Tuesday afternoon, or Friday afternoon/Saturday, and go through the donations.
  • Disposing of things that are completely unusable (we have two monster composters on site called Phocas and Isiadore). 
  • Sticking anything on Olio that is fine to eat, but something we really won’t use (e.g. we received a lot of allspice berries the other day. They’re lovely, but I can’t see us getting through them). 
  • If you have time, doing some basic prep of things that we will use, like chopping some onions, peeling some potatoes, etc. 

Stock Taker

When?
Mondays/Tuesday mornings
Wednesdays/Thursdays/Fridays

Time Commitment?
1 hour (or more) at a time to suit you.

Social Distancing Level?
Very good – you’ll be in the building alone. This role would also be suitable opportunity for a household who are trying to keep good social distancing to work together.

After our food bank sessions, some sorting out of supplies is very useful to prepare for the next session. 

Your role would be:

  • Restock shelves and make a note of anything we’re running low on. 
  • Portion up those foods we buy in bulk sacks (e.g. rice, sugar,tea).
  • Check the supplies of disposables (cups, soup containers, cutlery etc.) and make a note of anything that’s running low. 

Cleaner

When?
Mondays (for soup kitchen cleaning)
Any day (for food bank cleaning)

Time Commitment?
1-2 hours

Social Distancing level?
Very good. You’d be in the building alone. 

COVID has brought new levels of cleaning procedure. We have a cleaner, who will be commencing work again in August for a couple of hours a week on a Wednesday, to clean up after the Tuesday soup kitchen. We’d provide all cleaning materials and PPE, and we won’t make you do the lavatories!

The Monday job would entail:

  • Cleaning the foyer area. 
  • Cleaning the two kitchens. 
  • Emptying bins. 

The Food bank cleaning job would involve:

  • Tidying and cleaning the hall where we hold our food bank. 

Pudding Maker

When?
Sundays
Tuesdays

Time Commitment?
Depends how fast a cook you are!

Social Distancing Level?
Very good. You’ll be at home and just drop things off. 

We make all of our puddings off site and bring them on on a Tuesday afternoon or Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning. We usually try and offer a choice, and need about 50 portions in total. Different volunteers communicate with each other to decide who is making what, and how many portions they can manage. We buy basic dry ingredients in bulk that we can provide you with (mostly flour and sugar) and can reimburse expenses for other ingredients. We also sometimes have surplus fresh fruit, so you may get a challenge! The guests love their puddings, and aren’t at all fussy, so it’s a good chance to try out recipes and be inventive. 

You role would be:

  • Communicate with other volunteers about what you’re making and how much. 
  • Deliver food to church prior to the session. 

Admin Support

When?
As suits you.

Time Commitment?
About an hour a week. 

Social Distancing Level?
Excellent. You don’t need to leave home. 

There is a reasonable amount of administration that goes on in the background to keep things running smoothly. We have developed a number of systems that are constantly being improved and refined. You don’t need any administrative experience, but you will need to be confident using (or learning to use) Google G-Suite (sheets, docs, forms etc.). Any experience of fundraising would also be beneficial, but not at all necessary. We will provide you with a dedicated Google account to use. 

Your role might include:

  • Keeping an eye on the volunteer rota, being aware of any gaps or last minute cancellations, and communicating spaces to the volunteers. 
  • Processing new volunteer applications and writing off for references. 
  • Using information from the stock takers to keep published shopping lists up to date.
  • Preparing online orders for consumables. 
  • Researching funding sources and completing applications. 
  • Posting about the soup kitchen/food bank on the church’s social media. 
  • Compiling statistics for funders or for advertising.

How to apply

Applying is really simple. Just fill in the form below (or click here), and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We ask for two referees (they can be anybody who has known you for at least a year), and you can get involved with as many roles as you like. We’ll explain how the rota and everything works after your application.

Any questions?

If you’ve got any questions about any of the roles, or want to know anything more, feel free to get in touch!

soupkitchen@sjebp.com
@sjebp
020 8809 6111