Young Citizen: 'Our community needs us the most right now', says Mutual Aid volunteer

Leanne Mohamad who has been volunteering at Frenford Youth Club's Mutual Aid Foodbank since the start of the pandemic is this month's Young Citizen nominee.

Leanne Mohamad who has been volunteering at Frenford Youth Club's Mutual Aid Foodbank since the start of the pandemic is this month's Young Citizen nominee. - Credit: Irfan Shah

A 20-year-old university student from Ilford who has been volunteering at Frenford Youth Club's Mutual Aid food bank since the start of the pandemic is this month's Young Citizen nominee.

Leanne Mohamad has been volunteering at the youth club since she was 15 years old and once the pandemic hit and it quickly turned into a vital food bank she was eager to volunteer her time.

Young Citizen Awards

Young Citizen Awards - Credit: Archant

Since she is also fluent in Arabic she is able to communicate with some residents who are not as comfortable speaking English to help them get what they need.

Leanne, along with a team of six volunteers, call the foodbank's 50 clients to find out what is on their wish list and then sorts through the donations that are brought in to put together parcels that can last three weeks.

While she said the work has been amazing particularly seeing the community coming together, it also opened her eyes as to how much some people are in desperate need of essential goods.


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She said: "It's a national disgrace that food banks are needed so badly in such a wealthy country.  When you see pictures of the food that is being provided for free school meals compared to what we give out it's absolutely disgraceful."

Leanne said it's been heartbreaking to see the wish lists that people submit of essential items they're in desperate need of. 

Leanne said it's been heartbreaking to see the wish lists that people submit of essential items they're in desperate need of. - Credit: Irfan Shah

A lot of the clients Leanne helps are single mums and people who are self-isolating who don't have anyone else to rely on.

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"Just seeing the basic things that people put on their wish list is heartbreaking and it makes you feel grateful for what you have," she said.

"People aren't putting luxury items on there like chocolates and crisps, they're putting basic necessities like toothbrushes, toilet paper and things like rice and bread."

The Ilford Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award celebrates the great things being achieved by young people of Redbridge, aged 25 and under.

Each month’s nominee will be in the running for the overall Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award.

The overall winner will receive £100 from Redbridge Rotary Club and will, along with the runner-up, go through to the national Young Citizen final run by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.

To nominate, visit www.redbridgerotaryclub.org/contact giving information about the nominee and contact details.

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