Thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and BBC Children in Need Afrocats have been supporting refugees and people seeking asylum with culturally appropriate food parcels throughout the pandemic. On Saturday 26 June, young people from Trinity Church of England High School joined Afrocats final food parcel pack.
Cornelius, a student at Trinity High School, organised the volunteering opportunity for his fellow students: “I set up this volunteering opportunity so young people at my school could find out about the work of Afrocats and spend a weekend helping families in need. My favourite thing about doing a food parcel pack is knowing I’m helping people. It’s easy to think that you have it so good but it’s important to see what is going on for people less fortunate.”
Seven of Cornelius’ fellow students joined him to help pack the food parcels. Three stations were set up ready for the young people to pack boxes for people from African, South East Asian and Middle Eastern communities. For some of the students, like Jenny this was their first experience of volunteering: “When I heard about what Afrocats do I wanted to help out and support the community. This is my first time volunteering and I’m looking forward to helping pack the food.”
Kamaeko who was also volunteering for the first time said: “I wanted to volunteer because I feel like not enough people do and it’s nice to help people. I’m looking forward to knowing I’ve helped people out.”
Farida, who normally volunteers for Rainbows, was glad for the opportunity to help out after her regular volunteering had to stop because of Covid: “I find all volunteer work very gratifying, I like helping out and I like providing for people. I volunteer for a Rainbow group but because of Covid it had to end so I’m really jumping at any opportunities. I’ve done a lot of Zoom volunteering and mentoring throughout the pandemic.”
For some of the students, like David, volunteering was an opportunity to add experience to their CV and college applications: “I saw this opportunity and I could see how the experience would help me later in life, so I signed up and told my friends about it. I’m looking forward to helping the community.” Isaac agreed saying: “I wanted to volunteer to help me with my future career opportunities. I’m looking forward to helping out and I’ll definitely volunteer again in the future.”
For others like Keena, they were looking forward to giving back to a charity that helped remove barriers: “I think it’s important to help people out. Humans are one big family but there are barriers like race and gender. Underneath we are all just the same if you strip us down to our core, so we need to help each other. I’m looking forward to a new experience, to meet new people and leave knowing that I have done something to help other people out. ”
Abygail agreed, telling us: “I believe if you have the resources there’s no reason why you shouldn’t help the community. It’s nice to know that you have made someone's day.”
The day was a big success with the student’s helping to fill parcels for 37 people, of which 40% are families. The parcels were then distributed by Afrocat’s volunteer drivers across Greater Manchester. Although it was the final food parcel drop of the most recent round of funding, there will be plenty more opportunities to get involved. Cornelius told us: “Afrocats are growing and there are lots of opportunities for people to get involved and make a difference.”
Thank you to Mr Cann and the staff at Trinity for their support.