When I read the April volunteer newsletter and saw that two of our wonderful long-term volunteers had accepted an award on our behalf from one of our charities, I felt so incredibly proud. Proud of Gretchen and Roisin, who have been volunteering with us for 3 years and 2 ½ years respectively. And proud of the relationship that they have built up with IKWRO – the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Association. I firmly believe it is this relationship that led to IKWRO awarding The Felix Project with their True Honour Award.
SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE WOMEN FROM THE Middle East
Gretchen and Roisin have been delivering to IKWRO– a West London based charity - together for 2.5 years. This fabulous volunteer team, who didn’t know each other before volunteering at Felix, came together when an all-female crew was needed for a particular route. At one point a team of three with Kathy, who had to go back to the States (we miss you, Kathy!), Gretchen and Roisin continue to deliver food and toiletries to IKWRO, whose mission is to protect Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls who are at risk of ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage, child marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic violence and to promote their rights.
Volunteering is fun and makes an impact
When I asked them what it is they enjoy about volunteering at The Felix Project, they mentioned many things – all the different people you have the opportunity to meet (other volunteers, staff, the staff and clients at other charities and suppliers), the 4-hour shifts are handy as they don’t have to commit to a whole day, seeing food that would otherwise go to waste going to a good place where it is really appreciated – you really see the impact. And they really have a laugh when they’re volunteering – so much so that they have been known to miss their turning!!
Getting to know our charities to go the extra mile
But the one thing that really stood out to me was the value Gretchen and Roisin placed on the relationships they had built up with the charities and suppliers they deliver to and collect from, and the satisfaction those relationships bring them. Every week since going to the refuge they’ve been delivering produce that is tailored to the recipients – fruit and vegetables, toiletries, treats, bread and dairy. They’ve even taken gardening materials to the charity that have been used to create a little garden space and the flowers they take along are such a treat. If it’s somebody’s birthday Gretchen and Roisin will know about it and, of course, try to take something special for them that week.
In their recent description of our deliveries IKWRO said ‘The supplies are delivered every week by warm and friendly team members, who leave the women feeling uplifted and knowing that people care about them’. Volunteers are at the forefront of what we do at The Felix Project – they deliver food to charities, collect food from suppliers, sort food at the warehouse to make sure it’s all of good enough quality to be passed on, help at events, admin, accounts – they help out in most areas of the organisation. We rely on our volunteers. And they do a great job. A great job of representing us, a great job of caring, a great job of helping us to improve and a great job building up those relationships that are such an important element of our service.
Thank you to all our volunteers for their commitment to The Felix Project and its wider community. We couldn’t do what we do without you. And neither would we want to!
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