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Tales from the Food Bank: Christmas dinners, organised chaos and my vegetable hell

There is a blister on my hand from peeling carrots: carrots, carrots and more carrots, enough to give a World War Two pilot x-ray vision and invulnerability, never mind seeing in the dark.

Don't mention sprouts: If I have to do them too it will send me to a vegetable hell.

It's Christmas Day 2013 and I have volunteered for the first time at the Glasgow North West Food Bank because I won't see my kids this year and the idea of a day of indulgence kind of sticks in my craw. Maybe a volunteer who would really prefer to be with their family could have the day off.

We are cooking for 100. Rather fewer turn up, but it is a day of fun and generosity, laughing as we try to devise ways of defrosting vast blocks of ham and pea soup, work out how many gallons of gravy are needed and watch as the sausages in bacon turn out to be the biggest seller: this is Glasgow North West, after all.

Friends at the Heart of Scotstoun Community Centre pointed me at the food bank, so after Christmas I agree to pick up donations given in to HoSco and take them up to the food bank at Blawarthill.

When I get there it's a sort of organised chaos. If I just leave the stuff on the floor, someone's got to sort it, check it's not past its use-by date,stick it on shelves: it might as well be me.

While I am there more boxes and bags arrive, people are hunting for custard and tinned spuds to make up food parcels. I sort some more.

Three hours later I emerge, hungry after wading through all that food and forgetting I haven't had lunch. I come back the next week, the same things happen, and two months later it's a regular part of my life.

Why? I could be climbing or surfing, reading the paper or doing something fun.

But ... this is fun: the people here are refreshingly direct, the place has a generosity of spirit that gets into your bones. And instead of just getting angry about benefit cuts and bedroom taxes and the Coalition, I am actually doing something to help.

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Food and drink

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