The opportunity to be part of the Be Enriched Team as Covid Response Intern was a unique and rewarding learning experience.
In December 2019, the outbreak of COVID-19 turned the world upside down, making us revisit our priorities and quickly adapt to a new normal. As March 2020 approached and the virus reached official pandemic status, the UK quickly implemented measures in order to contain it. A nationwide lockdown led to a socio-economic crisis which in turn allowed for some unexpected issues to bubble up to the surface. One of them was the fragility of the UK’s food system and its obvious inequalities when it comes to food supply and distribution.
Food insecurity is prevalent among those who cannot physically or financially access food, the most affected being not only vulnerable groups but - those who are unemployed, on a low income, people with disabilities as well as those who are homeless. Food aid providers have since become overwhelmed as they are providing for more households than usual. In some parts of London, food bank usage quadrupled. In order to tackle the issue of food insecurity amplified by the pandemic, Be Enriched led local action by providing food to those in need.
Since joining the team in June, I’ve been providing support to Be Enriched’s Covid-19 emergency response work which has been incredibly eye-opening. During the main lockdown period, Be Enriched with an incredible team of volunteers prepared and delivered hot meals and food parcels in Lambeth and Wandsworth. It supported 90 households in April and up to 201 in June, extending its services throughout July and August in Wandsworth, when it managed to support 96 and 88 households respectively.
By seeing how well the organisation adapted to the ever-changing circumstances, it gave me a better understanding of the planning behind emergency relief projects. I’ve also learned how to build and manage strong community partnerships and how important community engagement and outreach is, especially during uncertain times such as these. Finally, Be Enriched has also shown me how to be a better team player, more proactive and to have a problem-solving mindset.
All in all, it has been an amazing experience to be part of such a lovely, hard-working team committed to driving change through better, more accessible food and stronger community ties.