Warm-hearted volunteer Jo packs 200 food parcels a day for people in need

Date published: 04 June 2021

One Salvation Army volunteer who is making a real difference is Jo Oliver, who often packs 200 food parcels a day to hand out to struggling families in Fitton Hill.

Having escaped an abusive relationship, Jo, aged 53, first came into contact with the Salvation Army and community group Reel CIC after joining a women’s group that met at community hub, The Brew.

She started helping out at the jumble sales and the church, then joined corps leader Major Estelle Blake and community workers Kim and Graham Rogers on visits to the elderly and isolated where they would sing in their front gardens during the lockdown.

Jo’s confidence has blossomed, and she is now in charge of sorting the food parcels and handing them out - remembering the names of all the people she comes into contact with.

Speaking during Volunteers Week, Jo (below) said: “When lockdown started, I panicked, I was really worried, but Estelle brought me in to help out with the singalong and with packing food parcels - and I’m still here.

"I love that I’m doing this in a Salvation Army t-shirt.

"I feel that I’m wanted and part of something. I feel so happy doing this.

“I do struggle with my finances and the Salvation Army has helped me out when I’ve needed it with a food parcel or clothes.

"Just because I’m struggling doesn’t mean I can’t help others who are struggling.

"Knowing that I’m there to help other people makes me happy.”

Major Estelle said: “We’ve seen how much Jo has blossomed since she started volunteering with us, she’s really come out of her shell.

“Jo has taken ownership over organising the food parcels and is now helping to train other volunteers.

"Packing 200 parcels a day must be a record!

"We’re so grateful to her for her help and support.”

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