More than just soup – Comfort
The 3rd in our series of more than just soup. 5 minutes in the hot seat with Mai – Britt, a wonderful dedicated volunteer.
What is your name, nickname, pseudonym or prefer not to say?
“My name is Mai-Britt but are mostly know as Maja or simply Denmark”
How long have you been volunteering at Newbury Soup Kitchen?
“I have volunteered since 2017 both on the sessions and behind the scenes at our building sorting out donations and packing the van ready for the sessions”
What keeps you busy when you are not volunteering?
“My husband would probably say that the Soup kitchen keeps me busy but besides that I enjoy traveling, hiking and finding quirky items in charity shops”
Can you remember your 1stday at Newbury Soup Kitchen?
“Yes I had just moved to England and wanted to volunteer and put my experience to good use. I had exchanged text messages with Meryl but since my English wasn’t too good I was unsure if she wanted me to come down on a Thursday to volunteer. I decided to just bike down that Thursday evening and as my husband said, if you aren’t supposed to come just bike home again. No one knows you so it will not be too embarrassing. I came down very nervous but was warmly welcomed in, and never left again 😊”
Did you have any preconceived ideas about Homeless & Vulnerable before you started volunteering? And have these now changed?
“I have worked with dual diagnostic in Denmark so have seen a lot but it has been a learning curve understanding a different welfare system, both the positive and negative”
Why Newbury Soup Kitchen?
“Because both the clients and volunteers are treated like a family. We have good and bad days but we are always there to comfort you and listen. Meryl has created a very special charity built on compassion, warmth and equality”
What is the one thing you would say to someone that is thinking about volunteering
“Volunteering is a good way of getting to learn your local community. It gives you a sense of purpose and belonging. I feel I am gaining way more in a personally than I am giving”
What is one of your fondest memories thus far about Newbury Soup Kitchen?
“I absolutely love our Christmas party’s. It’s a lot of work but seeing everyone’s faces when Santa comes with presents is priceless. All the volunteers dress up and we dance with our clients and volunteers in-between. The compassion the community shows by donating for the presents is something I highly appreciate. I hope a party will be possible again this year”
And finally If you could offer any advice to our homeless & vulnerable clients what would it be?
“Keep believing in yourself because you are worth more than you know. Don’t keep looking at the past. Focus on the present and the future”