Jet 2 pilot swaps high-flying career to become full-time food bank volunteer whilst on furlough
A pilot from South Shields has dedicated his days to a local food bank after being placed on furlough due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Michael Booth has helped to deliver hundreds of food parcels, hot meals and packed lunches to vulnerable residents during the pandemic.
The 29-year-old, who has been a pilot with Jet 2 for two and a half years, was placed on furlough in March when the UK went into lockdown.
Since then, Michael has volunteered five days a week with food bank Hebburn Helps, helping them reach those who can’t leave their homes.
In addition up to 120 packed lunches have been dropped off every day for children and families who have struggled with the schools being closed.
Michael contacted Hebburn Helps when he was first placed on leave to see if they needed a hand.
He found himself returning day after day to deliver parcels, drop off meals and collect donations – sometimes joined by his dad Ian Booth, mum Melanie and sister Erin.
“The core team of volunteers are great, they are really lovely people and I can’t wait to give them all a big hug when all this is over,” said Michael
“Everyone works so hard and it makes such a big difference to people.
“When you’re out delivering you can tell some people have had no contact with any other humans, it’s quite touching.”
Despite looking forward to returning to his high-flying career in the coming months, Michael says he won’t stop helping the food bank whenever he can.
“I love my job but this has given me a different perspective, it’s rewarding to be doing something for other people,” he continued.
“I’d definitely like to stay involved as much as I can.”
Co-founder Angie Comerford added: “Micheal and his dad Ian have been with us from the first day of lockdown. We are so grateful for the help they have given, we couldn’t have done this without them and we’ll be sad to see them go when the time comes.”