EVA & ALAN RITCHIE – FEEDING THOSE IN NEED
Alan and his daughter Eva, 13 years old, started volunteering with Big Hearts in the first months of the Coronavirus pandemic.
From the main hospitality suite at Tynecastle Park, Alan and Eva carefully packed hundreds of individual meals as part of Social Bite’s nation-wide efforts to feed the most vulnerable throughout the crisis.
How did you hear about this volunteering role with Big Hearts?
Alan: I first read about it on the Hearts’ website. I had thought about volunteering for some time, but I have two jobs and not much free time. Due to Coronavirus, I now find myself furloughed and with more time on my hands! I’ve put my name forward to help the NHS with testing but haven’t heard anything back yet. In the meantime, my daughter Eva saw photos of the Big Hearts’ volunteers on Instagram and asked me if we could volunteer together.
What most appealed to you? Why did you get involved?
Eva: I feel like with the virus outbreak some people are not as lucky as us. I know I can do something good to help these people. I want to contribute to someone else’s big smile. As a Hearts fan it’s quite nice to be coming back to the Stadium to volunteer and do something good. I usually have long lie-ins when there’s no schools, so at least it gets me out of bed!
What does your volunteering consist in?
Alan: We are making up lunch bags that will be distributed to adults and children who need a bit of extra support at this challenging time. We are packing up to fulfill the food orders from Social Bite. It’s a manual and practical role, very easy within a friendly atmosphere.
Eva: You have to be organised, but it’s also very relaxed so you’re not under any pressure to do anything fast. In the end, we get a lot done. About 1,200 are produced at the Stadium every day!
Alan: The empty bags are displayed on tables and one person will start to add juice boxes, then another will come behind to add biscuits or fruits etc. The bags are not complete until we add the fresh sandwiches that have been prepared by other volunteers next door.
After a few days in the role, how do you feel about the experience?
Alan: I always had a lot of respect for other people volunteering, so now that I have time on my hands I enjoyed being able to contribute myself to a good cause.
Eva: I wanted to volunteer for Hearts because I really love the football team. It’s satisfying to help others based on something I love and I’m interested in. It feels much more than just volunteering for me.
– June 2020