Two Devizes pensioners have urged others to volunteer in their local foodbank after “retiring” from their five year service.

Sisters Penny Few, 74, and Susan Hunt, 71, volunteered one day a week at the town’s Trussell Trust foodbank, which used to be at the old Community Hospital before it moved to the Glenmore Business Centre off Waller Road, for five years.

The pair had worked together in their twenties and decided to team up once again to help others and keep themselves busy after retirement.

Susan said: “I was looking for something to do and I thought it might be nice for my sister and I to do something together. I saw the foodbank so I just went in and said ‘would you like a volunteer'?”

From then on they spent every Thursday morning making up food parcels for those who needed them.

While they are no longer able to carry out the demanding physical work involved with organising stock in the foodbank’s warehouse, they will miss the contact and camaraderie with those they were able to help.

“The thing about volunteering is it makes you feel useful”, said Mrs Hunt. “You’re still contributing to society.

“We loved the contact with the people. We’ve laughed with them and we’ve even cried with them, because you hear people’s stories and nobody there wants to be in that situation.”

Penny added: “There was one young man who used to come and see us. We always made him a cup of tea and sat and had a chat about nothing in particular. We miss that contact.”

During their time in the foodbank, the sisters saw demand for their work grow dramatically. Between April and September 2022, the Trussell Trust distributed 1.3 million emergency food parcels compared to 570,322 over six months in 2017.

“It has really gone up. There are more families using the foodbank now whereas it tended to be single people, but now there are more and more families all the time,” said Susan.

Penny said: “We used to give out about 20 food packages for children during the holidays but the last time we did it we gave out 100 in one day.”

They are hoping that others will fill their roles at the foodbank, which needs a lot more helpers.

And they are still keen to contribute to the local community themselves, so they're on the lookout for new volunteering opportunities.