Wed, 30 Dec 2020
A NORTH Hampshire school has made a huge donation to West Berks Foodbank after running a reverse advent calendar through December.
Woolton Hill Junior School ran the calendar from the first of December until last Friday, when term ended, with children encouraged to take a specific item of food on each day.
Some brought the food each day, while others donated a week’s-worth in one go.
Food items included jam on December 1, pasta sauce on December 2 and baked beans on December 3, and the calendar ended with donations of toiletries.
On Thursday, December 17, a van from the foodbank turned up and three weeks’ worth of donations from the children was piled inside, filling the whole van.
Headteacher Lisa Rees said she had been astounded by the generosity of the children and parents.
She said: “We did one last year as well, so this is the second year, and the generosity of the parents has been incredible.
“So much of what we do at Christmas time is focused on the children – Christmas parties, Christmas jumpers – so it’s important to remember that Christmas is not just about that, it’s so much more.
“We did it last year, but it felt more important this year because there are so many families who are struggling because they’re in different situations than they would normally be in.
“It’s also stimulated conversation at home for the kids to look outside your own families and Christmas presents, why they were bringing these items in and to not focus on themselves.
“The community has really embraced it.”
West Berks Foodbank project manager Fran Chamings said: “As with all our schools we couldn’t do it without them.
“They’re the backbone of our donations and we rely very heavily on them. It’s amazing for the community and it’s about getting the message out there and starting young.
“It’s great that schools are getting involved because it’s starting many conversations and if we can get to more kids that age then hopefully it’ll remove the stigma of using foodbanks, and it’ll be a generation that knows foodbanks aren’t something to be embarrassed by or ashamed of.
“It’s sharing the story of community supporting community.”