Today's mission was in conjunction with Family Action who informed that the lovely Mrs M needed some assistance shopping.
Prepped with a pre sent shopping list I popped into the local Sainsbury's to get everything she needed before heading to her home.
The heavens opened on me on route but thankfully the shopping was protected (and I'm rather fond of rain!)
When I arrived Mrs M had created a designated drop off for me to unpack the shopping. As I did so she tried to apologise for the wet weather, but takes more than a little drizzle to dampen a Good Gymmers spirits!
We waved goodbye and I headed home to dry off.
Like thousands of others across the country I signed up to be an NHS volunteer responder as soon as the goverment announced the iniative. Thanks to being a GoodGymmer by application was processed quickly and I set my app to 'On Call'
900 Hours Later
I got my first siren alert requesting assistant with a call and check in. At first Mrs M was confused as to who I was, why I was ringing and how I got her number. However once she sat down and I started talking at a human pace (instead of my ususal hywired radio speed) she recalled her GP had reffered her to the service. Having been self shielding since January Mrs M was grateful to have some who could listen to her concerns in this stressful time. I explained that she would have calls from various volunteers in a weekly basis and gave her some helpline numbers if she ever required immedate assistance.
After an hour we said our goodbyes with Mrs M feeling more postive about everything thanks to reasurrance that she'd be having regular check ins.
7 Goodgymers ran and cycled to The Red Housein Tottenham to help the folk at Mulberry Junction to set up a new homeless centre which was due to open in T - 17 hours.
The folk at Mulberry Junction have managed to take ownership of the building for a short time before the proposed housing development begins construction. After being home to Guardians, the building needed a full clean and bedrooms and care packages to be set up in the different wings of the building.
Each bedroom was cleaned, fitted out with furniture, and beds made. Some final finishing touches included putting out toiletries, waste baskets and the dreaded job of putting up curtain rails in the afternoon heat. After some very questionable use of a hammer and other more appropriate tools and a full on shoulder workout, the ladies wing of the shelter was fully equipped with curtain rails and curtains, ready for the guests to arrive in the morning.
The folk at Mulberry Junction are continuing to provide support and services to the homeless community in Haringey and are setting up a new shelter to provide them with a place to self isolate for the time being. Come along and help them to set up the new shelter by giving the place a good clean and preparing rooms and beds etc. We will meet at the Red House, 423 West Green Road at 17:30 on Tuesday.
The lockdown ticks along and Akwaaba Hackney keeps support those in need.
This weekend I ran the Teens online session, teaching the kids how to draw in the style of Japanese Manga. I taught them the basics of drawing faces and different emotions which they picked up very quickly! Then for the end of the session I let the teens chose what they wanted to draw. They unamiously chose... A zombie heart. Good thing I was a star student in biology!
Then Sunday I doubled up on shifts once again, starting off at St Paul's Church to pack over 200 takeaway bags for the local homeless community before heading down to Dalston Curve Garden to distribute food to our overflow guests.
Special thanks this week to Hackney Council who sprayed social distance queue markers so that our visitors could stay safe.
This weekend I doubled up on good deeds helping Akwaaba Hackney.
Pre-lockdown I was a volunteer in the kids group and miss the little ones terribly so I was thrilled to co-run an online session on Saturday. Helping out with the three to six year olds we played musical statues, had a scavenger hunt and then I wrapped up by reading Mog the Forgetful Cat (in full costume). The kids had a great time and it was a welcome reprieve for their parents.
Then on Sunday I headed to our soup kitchen earlier than usual. With the lockdown entering its second month we're seeing an increased need for our service. In preparation for the lunch rush I helped pack over 250 takeaway bags for the local homeless community.
As we were expecting to go over capacity a group of us headed to Dalston Curve Gardens who had kindly agreed to host our overflow. A few hours later and many grateful guests we cleaned up and headed home to rest.
Today's Akwaaba soup kitchen was our biggest one yet! When I arrived at half 12 to start prepping for lunch there was already a queue outside the church gates, including a polite young man who seemed amazed I'd willingly volunteer on a Sunday. Thankfully we'd had a donation drop off from The Felix project this week, in addition to donations from local businesses, meaning we had plenty of food for all.
As soon as I'd washed my hands I made a start on packing up the dry goods for our takeaway packages. We had a lovely selection of snacks for our guests this week including goodies from Hotel Chocolat. Aware that word was spreading about our magnificent cooks we prepped 140 bags for today's session. Meanwhile the kitchen team put the finishing touches on lunch whilst the delivery team prepped 45 food parcels for those who are currently self isolating.
Having got very efficient in the last few weeks we prepped the takeaway packages with half an hour to spare. This allowed us time to make a pile of ham sandwiches for our non-halal guests. I also used this time to decorate one of the mini banana bread's Shanthi had made for one of our community's birthday and ensured it was safely packed in their food parcel.
Aware that there is an increasing number of mouths to feed the kitchen team had doubled their portions this week. We split into two groups, one serving up the takeaway food for our guests outside and the other making up meals for families. I was so focused on the task I didn't notice I was starting to feel faint until someone asked me if I was okay. I was quickly sent to sit down and eat whilst the rest of the team finished up serving meals for latecomers.
Feeling restored I collected the food parcel I was to deliver on my way home and set off. Today I was dropping off food to a family of six currently unable to go out to shop. The mum greeted me in the hallway whilst the kids waved from a safe distance. They were all very grateful to receive this week's food and sent me off with well wishes to keep safe.
With the government announcing a three week extension to the national lockdown its more important than ever to ensure those who are isolated have the support they need.
Today I did a food shop for Miss G, one of the mums in the Akwaaba Hackney community. With two young children at home Miss G is unable to go out food shopping. And whilst she receives a weekly hot food from our Sunday kitchen, she also needs longer lasting provisions.
I popped into a local shop to get dry goods before joining the queue at the greengrocers next door. After an orderly wait I was able to get lots of fresh fruit and veg for Miss G (and snuck in lollies for her boys).
I then headed over to her building for buzzed in and realised with slight horror that there was no lift to the 7th floor. 14 flights of stairs later my workout for the day was complete and the food was gratefully received by Miss G.
I'm very fortunate to be able to safely work from home currently but that does have the one downside of staring at a screen all day! So I was very grateful for a local lunchtime time mission to stretch my legs and get some sun on my increasingly translucent skin!
I arrived outside Mr R's house to slight confusion as the address wasn't quite what I'd been expecting. Thankfully he has some very helpful neighbors who pointed me in the right direction. Mr R had a shopping list (with handwriting that puts my messy scrawl to shame) and money ready for me, and tasked me to just get what I could find.
Luckily when I popped into the local supermarket they had everything on Mr R's list! Weighed down with goods I popped back to Mr R's who insisted on carrying the shopping upstairs (to be fair he seemed to have less trouble with the bags than me!). With my reusable shopping bags returned and a grateful Mr R, I dashed back home for my 2pm meeting (and a spot of lunch!).