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Volunteer Hannah Chowdhry discovers how difficult it is to prepare for our regular work for the homeless

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Hannah Chowdhry (16 yrs), our youngest regular volunteer for BACA was to have her GCSE's this year, however they have been postponed. On the day that she received notification that her GCSE exams were cancelled, she immediately decided to drop studying for her GCSE's and focused on her new A Level subjects instead, to gain some preparedness for when she joins her new school for sixth form.

Bizarrely, her school only shared advice that she focuses on A level topics yesterday. Moreover they have only shared notes with students that help with the syllabus attached with their school. As Hannah is moving on to another school, she has had to do her own research and has even approached the schools that she has applied to attend for sixth form to see if any help is available. There will be many teenagers unsure about what GCSE and A level results they will get because of the closures forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a nation, we should be praying for calm and focus for those who will not now take their expected exams, as there will be many doubts and worries they have. We should also pray for a fair assessment of each child's grade for their respective exams.

Hannah was a regular volunteer at BACA before COVID-19 and has decided to continue her volunteering with us during the pandemic. The choice has been entirely hers. Hannah is very close to the homeless people who we serve food to and the families that we have been helping through our foodbank. She has told us that she wants to be involved in making sure these struggling people continue getting some support.

Today Hannah helped us buy some additional plastic boxes to carry our shopping for self-isolaters. We have decided to use one box for each person calling for help and not to re-use any boxes for three days (time for virus to die). While at Costco we purchased some washing powder for a mother in Ilford, who attends our foodbank, who had mentioned she was unable to buy any for two weeks. Without a car, she has been travelling in high risk buses, from shop to shop and was unable to find any in local stores. Costco however, have a large supply and we bought two Mega boxes which Marisa remunerated us for. 

Hannah experienced her first large shopping queue today and shared her thoughts:

 

We also purchased some items for our Thursday 'Meals for the homeless' project and later visited a Tesco store nearby to complete our shopping.  Some food items were also bought for a Pakistani Christian in Hackney, who sought help with her shopping due to being told to self-isolate after she and her small children exhibited Coronavirus-like symptoms. We delivered these later in the evening.


Pakistani Christian in Hackney, receives shopping items.


One of the regular homeless people we serve in Ilford, called our emergency number and informed us that he was in Charing Cross, very near to Trafalgar Square. He asked for help with food, as the regular venue he normally frequented was closed. We travelled into London and handed some food to him to help him get through the evening and have contacted Westminster Council to see if they can put us in touch with a homeless group in the area that he can approach for any future assistance.

Hannah made this short April Fools day clip to illustrate the effectiveness of the lockdown in London. Please excuse the humour:



Hannah Chowdhry talked about her experience, she said:

"This was the first time that I have been out the house since the lockdown.

"Waiting in the queues for shopping was like waiting to go into Wembley for a concert, I was extremely shocked.

"It became cold and windy, which made the wait seem even longer.

She added:

"It was rewarding to help people that were struggling within the current situation.

"I had to wear gloves and a mask to keep myself protected, it was uncomfortable but I realise how serious coronavirus is.

"I pray that the worldwide pandemic may be resolved soon and that those people suffering may be fully restored."

BACA are required to pay for the fuel required to get to vulnerable people.  We also have had to buy various disinfectant solution, disposable gloves and plastic boxes to enable our efforts to be as virus-free as possible.  Without the help of our donors this work would not be possible.  Please help us to continue this service by donating (here)

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