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Make most of your time and become local by helping in your community

Hi, my name is Celeste from Paraguay and I want to share with you how rewarding has been my volunteering experience at Time To Help UK. But first, let me tell you how it all began. At the end of December 2019 I was embarking on the adventure of settling in London and one of the myths I wanted to bring down was that in this city it is difficult to make friends, or at least, it costs a lot.

With this goal in mind, I began to search for things to do in Edmonton and I found an interesting arrow of activities such as cultural and sports services in the area, among which I got information about charities and I’ve got to know about Time to Help UK, an organization dedicated to providing relief and assistance to people in any part of the world who are victims of disaster, poverty, and hunger.

Through its Instagram account I found out about one of their activities – “Breakfast for Homeless People on Monday”, so I took courage to write and it was thanks to the response of Yusuf, the Chief Operating Officer, that we arranged a meeting and I went to Rumi Mosque, where the charity works. Since then, I started collaborating with breakfasts for the homeless and I realised it was not just about cooking, it was about getting to know people who share with you their culture, concerns and interests in life.

Volunteering can also help you learn skills, for instance, due to the work I do with Time To Help UK, I have had to take an online course on Food Safety and this has even helped me improve the preparation of my meals in my own home.

I definitely feel more local thanks to TTH; walking from home to Edmonton Green has become a routine for me and I have even had the opportunity to bump into volunteers on the streets. I have also witnessed how quickly Time To Help UK responded to the coronavirus crisis, providing support to people in self-isolation and receiving messages from its members to check up on me as well.

Despite not professing the Muslim religion, at the centre of the mosque where the charity operates, I have found inspiration through people who dedicate themselves to reading, meditation and giving their best to their community.

I strongly recommend joining Time to Help UK to become part of this wonderful community. And as Kathy Calvin, the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation once said: “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.”

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