A MAN whose main goal in life is to help others has taken a step back from his all-year-round volunteering after almost two decades of service.

With a background in catering, Steve Pearce secured a facility manager role at the Salvation Army 18 years ago, which “opened [his] eyes to the struggles people face”.

Witnessing first hand the difficulties people face with alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental health, this experience made Steve look at these issues in a “different light”, and his work encouraged him to look for further ways where he could help others as much as possible.

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St Helens Star: Steve volunteered all year round, including evenings, weekends, and holidaysSteve volunteered all year round, including evenings, weekends, and holidays (Image: Steve Pearce)
Contacting local food shops and supermarkets for help, Steve began driving round to these businesses to pick up unused food items, end-of-the-line clothes, as well as toiletries and every day essentials, so that he could donate these to people in need.

As the idea grew, Steve began working with national organisations and he would set off at around 6am every morning to pick up the donated items, and then deliver them to local charities and food banks after his Salvation Army shifts.

Predominantly, Steve would deliver the donated items to the Sexton Avenue Community Centre, St Helens Foodbank, Prescot Foodbank, and Teardrops.

Although Steve has preferred to remain as a silent partner in these operations, a fellow volunteer contacted the Star to highlight his story, estimating that he has donated thousands of items and helped thousands of people during his tireless work.

St Helens Star: Steve would assist Paul Llewellyn and the volunteers at the Sexton Avenue Community CentreSteve would assist Paul Llewellyn and the volunteers at the Sexton Avenue Community Centre (Image: St Helens Star)
Speaking about his efforts, Steve, from Parr, said: “The volunteering all started after I got my job with the Salvation Army, and it came as a bit of a shock to be honest, because I had not really come across people who had struggled with alcoholism or drug addiction before.

“It did kind of spur something in me, and it grew slowly from the first year into a kind of monster volunteering effort and a 365 day job, because I would be working before and after my normal job, and weekends and Christmas if it was necessary.

“I care for my community so much and all I’ve ever wanted to do was to help people, so I would just ask people to give whatever they have got because we always have someone in need.”

St Helens Star: Steve even contracted covid twice while working to deliver food parcelsSteve even contracted covid twice while working to deliver food parcels (Image: Steve Pearce)
After almost two decades of volunteering, all for the benefit of the people of St Helens and Prescot, Steve has decided to take a step back as the tireless work has begun to take a toll on his health.

Recently moving out to Wales with his sister, the 66-year-old spoke of his pride in volunteering and suggested that he is not closing the door on this forever.

“I’ve loved every minute of my work, and when I look back at what I’ve helped to create and build up, and all the people I have helped, I am very proud”, Steve added.

“Even though people might not know that I’ve helped them, that doesn’t matter to me. All I’ve wanted to do is to make sure people had a meal to eat, some clothes for their children, or a present at Christmas.”