My Summer with Goods for Good
20th October 2017
My name is Mia Hamburger, I’m a Cambridge Theology and Religious Studies graduate. When I was in my final year of study, I began to explore a career in the charity sector as I wanted to a role where I could make a difference, to truly add value to an organisation, so a career in charity sector felt like a natural fit. That choice led me to Goods For Goods where I have put my passion to good use over the last few months.
My family has been involved in the retail industry for many years, as my Dad runs a sportswear business in Manchester, my hometown. My Dad has known Goods For Good Founder and CEO, Rosalind Bluestone, for many years and been supporting them since its inception in 2014, donating overstock goods for onward distribution. When I mentioned to my Dad that I was considering a career in the sector, he suggested meeting with Roz to find out more about what’s involved in working for a charitable organisation.
Choosing Goods For Good
Roz has a huge amount of experience, I could see her passion and drive for what she does, I was very inspired. She was definitely the reason I chose to volunteer for Goods For Good. Her breadth of knowledge and obvious compassion for those she was helping was evident from that initial conversation.
The opportunity to work with someone who has achieved so much with so few resources was an opportunity I did not want to miss. I could see where I could add value and I couldn’t wait to get involved.
No two days are the same
One thing that is certain when you work for a smaller charity, there is no such thing as a typical day! At Goods For Good, the work is always varied which, thankfully, keeps it incredibly interesting.
One constant is working with the local community, arranging donations and overseeing our packing sessions. This involves sorting donations into care packages by size, type, age etc. This helps the distribution once they arrive at their destination. This can involve organising other volunteers who regularly help with packing sessions, particularly when we have big consignments to sort. The volunteers are amazing, I have got to know some of the regular ones well during these packing sessions.
There are also various projects and events I’m involved with as part of my role, for example, Mitzvah Day. For those who are unfamiliar with Mitzvah Day, it is an annual faith-based social action event that takes place in November each year, where community groups and individuals undertake a range of volunteer projects for those in need. This year we are holding our Mitzvah Day event on 19 November at our new warehouse so I have been liaising with our volunteers and various synagogues and mosques as it will be an interfaith event. See below how you can get involved.
The Quiz Supper was another event I was involved with. It was great fun and amazing just how much we raised for the charity, over £9,000 that’s already being put to excellent use. We will hopefully do another Quiz soon, so watch this space!
The diversity of the work also keeps me engaged and excited. There are constantly new challenges, new projects, and new triumphs. During my few months at Goods For Good, I witnessed the fantastic landmark of sending £9million of goods overseas. The excitement of the work is made even more enjoyable by the knowledge that we’re constantly making progress.
What I found most surprising about this role is how immediately rewarding the work has been. It’s often difficult to feel connected to those who are suffering so many thousands of miles away, but being involved in packing goods, the logistics of sending them to their recipients, seeing the smiling faces via our social media accounts, you can feel just how much the goods mean to them, it has moved me in a way I was not expecting. It’s motivated and inspired me to continue working with Goods For Good.
I also appreciated the charity’s view that while our primary focus is International humanitarian aid, we also have a duty to reach out to the local community. Goods For Good acknowledges the importance of building relationships with and between the local community, encouraging them to volunteer and interact. Our weekly packing sessions are a great example of this.
Small Charity, Big Impact
We may be a small charity in the sector, and our resources are incredibly limited, but what I have learned from Roz, and my placement, is how to make the biggest impact with what we have.
Getting others involved in volunteering and supporting our charity is also a big part of what I do. And getting involved is so easy!
We have so many different activities to get involved in. If you live local to the Borehamwood area, or driving distance if you are willing, and are having a clear out at home, bring your second-hand goods to us, they will be sorted, packed, then sent to refugees or vulnerable communities worldwide. If you want to be more hands-on, you can help us pack the goods you bring in (we have weekly packing sessions in our warehouse). Or you could help with our social media, raising funds for our logistics through car boot sales of designer goods that are donated – we have an eBay specialist who manages this side for us, too. The roles are endless.
Of course, you can also donate funds via our website, every pound goes to great causes and the impact is bigger than the donation because of how we spend those funds, here are some examples:
• £5 will help send 6 packs of nappies and a child’s toy = £23 impact
• £10 will help send 25 bottles of shampoo, 12 tubes of toothpaste and a child’s toy = £77 impact
• £25 will help send 48 packs of sanitary towels, 12 blankets and a child’s toy = £102 impact
• £50 will help send essential medicines and medical supplies that are desperately needed = £300 impact
Over the next few months, I will be focusing on our community outreach. This includes expanding our volunteering. We currently hold packing sessions once a week but are hoping this will increase, reaching out to a greater number of younger volunteers and increasing our interfaith work. This also includes finding a logistics partner to work with us both nationally and internationally. I’m incredibly excited to get stuck in!
Do you want to volunteer, donate goods or get involved in our Mitzvah Day on 19 November?
or make a donation on the Goods For Good website