Upon hearing that school would continue through remote learning at the beginning of January, I started to think about what the most useful volunteering activity I could do for my Duke of Edinburgh Award, while considering the challenge of social distancing and other Lockdown deterrents, which would limit my options.

Back during the first Lockdown, my family had all helped to do some food collections locally when we heard that people were starting to lose their jobs and were starting to use foodbanks feed themselves or their families, which made me realise how fortunate my family and I are. Knowing that employment has only gotten worse throughout the year, I knew that foodbanks were now in even greater demand. The idea of lending my support seemed obvious whilst I was learning from home, as I would have more time outside of lessons to engage with my local community.

I contacted two local foodbanks: Burnt Oak Community Centre and Finchley Foodbank (at St Mary’s Church). Both seemed very happy to hear from me. A WhatsApp group for my street had been set up at the beginning of the first Lockdown which how I began to organise door to door food collections from families who wanted to donate. My first collection was between Christmas and New Year, and since then I have expanded my collections to another two streets. In the last few days, the word is starting to spread throughout my area.

Week on week I have been delighted and amazed to see so many people contributing. Each week I check with the foodbank to see what they are in most need of and publicise that to my local donators, along with the deadline for when it needs to be collected or dropped. Some people have been emptying out their cupboards to support the food banks, while others have started adding the requested items each week to their regular shops. After dropping off the food each week, I always send the people who have donated a photo with a thank you so that they know I have been, and their donations have made a difference. I also share the foodbanks own weekly post showing the ever-increasing number of families needing to use the food bank.

This week, the back of the car was so full had to put the backseats down to fit all of the bags into the car. It was a fantastic feeling.


Written by Benjamin 9J1