Catching up with Keith at FareShare London

28 November 2019

Keith Elliott is a Jack-of-all-trades at FareShare’s London warehouse. For over a year he’s been commuting in twice a week to help out with everything from picking to van deliveries. He can passionately talk you through every aspect of work in the warehouse – from van delivery routes to the minutia of labelling systems. Often his days are spent on those little details that keep the place running. As he puts it: “I look for things that need to be done and do them!” When I meet him he is breaking down spare cardboard into uniform squares so that it can be used for labelling “If people have to do this every time they pack an order it takes forever and becomes a mess!” He explains. Amidst the often-frantic pace of the warehouse, Keith’s keen eye for detail and organisation helps to make sure that things run as smoothly as possible.

This keen eye was honed by a career spent on the administrative side of social services. At 69, Keith is now retired and, after spending much of his working life behind a computer, he is relishing the chance to be more hands-on in his work at FareShare. “It’s great to be able to do something for the community, and also to do something more physical.” Rather than in an office chair, Keith spends his days at FareShare tearing through cardboard and delivering trays of food. He also take satisfaction in seeing the impact of his work. “I hate food waste” he tells me adamantly “Even at home. We have so much good food in this country and if it can be put to use we have to do that.” Recently he’s been helping with the van deliveries that take the food to FareShare’s partner charities. “You get to see who is actually behind these labels on the trays, and it’s all kinds of people – refugees, veterans, disadvantaged people… I guess that’s been a continuing thing between my career and this, trying to help people in the community.”

When I ask Keith if he ever considered taking it easy in his retirement he laughs: “No, no, always wanted to keep going, keep having something to do.” Busy as Keith is with us, FareShare is one of several organisations that he volunteers with throughout the year, never relenting in his drive to find the things that need to be done. “Relaxing on a beach?” He chuckles, “that’s not me.”

“We have so much good food in this country and if it can be put to use we have to do that,” says Keith.

Volunteer with FareShare

Volunteer in the warehouse to sort the food that we receive from our food partners and pick daily orders for charities. It’s a great way to keep fit and all you need is a sturdy pair of hands!

Apply to volunteer