Food Train – Volunteers’ Week 2024

What do volunteers mean to Food Train? Volunteers are Food Train. The charity introduces us to some for Volunteers’ Week 2024.

We’re so grateful to all those past, present, and future who care to give their time and effort to make Food Train services happen across Dumfries and Galloway. This celebration of volunteering week, we share stories from just a few out of the hundreds who make it all happen.

Jenny C

Hi, I’m Jenny, I am on shopping service with Food Train in Newton Stewart. I researched volunteer opportunities before we moved to Scotland and I loved the ethos of Food Train, supporting our older folk, helping our members feel valued and cared for in our community.  My gran would have loved it. I also worked in the office during Covid 2020. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to our members on the phone and know first-hand what Food Train and the variety of services offered and the volunteer support means to them and the positive difference made to their lives.

Roberta M

Almost twenty years ago, at a time in life when she was looking for something new to get involved with, Roberta spotted a notice in the local press asking for volunteers for a new food delivery service in the Annan area. 

Initially Roberta drove the van, which she continued to do until Covid hit. “We only had four deliveries on our first trip, and I drove a wee white van. It was a nightmare; I never knew if it was in gear.”  Early deliveries included a man who lived in a shack in the woods.  “We took a lot of bread so he could feed the birds.”

From early on, Roberta represented Annandale & Eskdale at regular meetings in Dumfries and served as a board member for five years, enjoying attending and representing Food Train at events across Scotland.

What has volunteering with Food Train meant to Roberta?  “You feel good because you’re helping people less fortunate than yourself, and I enjoy the job.”  Roberta continues to help with deliveries, assists with the befriending trips and has been a 1-2-1 befriender in the past. 

“As long as I’m fit and well enough to do it, I’ll carry on.” 


I started during COVID times, a call went out to help with shopping, so I was down the next morning – it was an early start at 6 o’clock, thankfully it’s not quite so early these days! I really enjoyed it, the camaraderie was great, so I have been here ever since. During that time, sadly my husband died and I find it even more beneficial to come in and have something to do during the week, it’s been great and as I say the camaraderie is really nice, everyone’s friendly and it’s a nice job to do.

Ailsa and Beth

Stranraer Branch Tuesday superstars: Not only have they set up in store for Tuesday mornings, they’ve gone on to shop, operated the self-checkouts and headed out in the vans on deliveries, with winning smiles all the way through. One of our customers insists on detaining them for a chat and a cup of coffee, which is a much needed and welcome pit stop along the way.

Beth, who has volunteered with Food Train since 2019 said, “It’s a very good use of my extra time.”

This is Ailsa’s third year as a volunteer, “I love my wee volunteer job with Food Train. After retiring I missed the interaction with people, so this is ideal. The camaraderie from our team is great and being on van crew gives the opportunity to get to know our customers, who really look forward to our weekly visits. The only downside? Early Bird duties – why does it always rain on Tuesdays?! (Only joking!)”