Ms Arblaster, Director of Careers and Higher Education, has been volunteering at Brent Foodbank every week since lockdown began. She had written a short piece below about the benefits of volunteering during the pandemic:
One of the strange positives of lockdown for me has been the opportunity to get involved more in my local community. I initially thought that there would be so many people volunteering that it would be hard to find something to do, but when I contacted my local foodbank in Brent, run by the Trussell Trust, it turned out they were desperate for help. I have been working there once a week for 10 weeks now and have managed the challenge of fitting this in around my school work. The Trussell Trust is a well established charity and so has been able to respond to the new crisis very quickly. The foodbank had to adapt to social distancing by sadly shutting it’s more informal ‘sit down and have a chat with clients’ approach and instead is either giving out food parcels at the door or running home deliveries (with the help of British Gas drivers). My job has mainly been collecting incoming donations, sorting them into crates and then restocking our big boxes of food ready to be packed into food parcels. It is a really physical job and very different to my days at my desk on Zoom! It has been a real eye opener to see how many people have been affected financially by the pandemic in my local area. In recent weeks our foodbank has given out over 300% more food parcels than in ‘normal times’, so volunteering there really brings a sense of perspective and is very humbling. It has been amazing to see how much food is being donated and so we have just about been able to keep up with demand for most items. If you would like to donate to your local foodbank, please do check their website to see what items they particularly need and where your local drop-off point is (most big supermarkets have one).