Getting into the festive spirit with Tillery Valley and FareShare

Posted: December 14, 2011 in Client News, Petersens News, Tillery Valley Foods
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Becci, Rob and I got into the festive spirit on Friday by going along with some of the Tillery Valley team to the FareShare depot in Cardiff. The Tillery Valley team have been donating their frozen ‘overs’ to the charity for over two years, and in the run up to Christmas, have been helping the charity to fill, pack and deliver pallets of donated food items to causes and centres across South Wales. That day we would be going to the Salvation Army, the Huggard centre and the YMCA, dropping off everything from teabags and beans to rice pudding. And chocolate – lots of chocolate!

The first thing we noticed when arriving at the depot (apart from the chilly temperatures!) was the really positive atmosphere.  Project co-ordinator Katie, depot director Keith, driver Michelle and the rest of the FareShare team were all so positive and friendly, it was no effort at all to get excited about getting stuck in. And the santa hats we brought along definitely helped!

Katie started by explaining the ordering process. She phones each centre or recipient with a list of the items FareShare have in stock, and makes suggestions for things they might like. She also notes down any requests for items that they don’t currently have available, in case something similar comes in for the next round of deliveries. Then, with Katie and Michelle calling the shots, Phil, Denis and Darren from Tillery Valley got down to work ‘picking’ the items for the day’s destinations.

It was really interesting to see just what was sent to each place. Keith, the FareShare depot director, explained that there is often a very tight turn-around on the items they receive, as they are often close to their sell-by dates. That’s why Tillery Valley’s ‘overs’ are particularly helpful as, being chilled or frozen, they are a lot longer-lasting. The meals are also nutritionally balanced, which is particularly beneficial considering many of FareShare’s deliveries are to centres for the homeless. Nobody wants to hungry at Christmas.

Pallets packed, the team jumped in the van to make its first delivery. The Salvation Army centre were decorating their Christmas tree when we arrived, and the tins and boxes Phil and Denis dropped off were certainly a welcome present. We also met long-serving Salvation Army worker Melvin Walters, who showed us the kitchen and dining areas, and talked us through what the centre would be doing over the festive period. As well as offering it’s normal 60-plus beds, it was that night converting one of the lounge areas into another shelter, to prevent people having to sleep on the streets in the coming cold weather.  It was fascinating and really quite humbling to meet Melvin and listen to his stories about how Christmas is for the homeless, and the Tillery Valley team all said how much they valued the opportunity to see that their efforts would be making a real difference.

It was a really interesting morning for us all. The positivity of the FareShare team was infectious, and it was great to see first-hand the fantastic work they are doing in the South Wales region.

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