Pupils and staff at Ormskirk School have gathered over 1000 items of food in just under a week in support of Ormskirk, Skelmersdale and Knowsley Trussell Trust food banks.
As part of a project designed to teach pupils about local charities and allow them to engage in charitable activities, Ormskirk School held a food drive from the 8th February. The week of donations ended with an event showcasing the donated food and allowing specially selected pupils to hear from those who need it most – the local food banks themselves.
Jennifer Moore, a Religious Education PGCE student at Edge Hill University who organised the project along with the RE department at Ormskirk School stated:
“It is so important for our children and young people to engage with these issues in a real way. The reality is that thousands of families in the North West rely on food banks on a regular basis. By donating food and meeting with the representatives from the food banks, pupils can begin to understand the real-life implications of the topics we discuss in our classrooms every day.”
The donated food was taken by the food banks back to their individual storage facilities where it will be packaged up and sent out to local families who need it. A quote from the Trussell Trust website states that “Winter is the hardest time of year for people living on the breadline; many will face stark choices between eating and heating.” With February showing no signs of warming up yet, the need for continued support for these essential charities remains high.
Pupils were also given the opportunity to discuss the Christian aspect of the food banks, which will undoubtedly assist in their Religious Education. Duncan Petty, a Minister from Oaks Church in Tanhouse who is also a board member for the food bank in Skelmersdale, fielded in-depth questions from pupils about his faith and his commitment to various charitable projects around the local area. Following the Q&A, the 1000+ items of food were loaded up and taken away for use.
Following the success of this project, pupils are keen to continue to commit to charitable works in the future. Several pupils commented on their experiences;
Erin Kennedy in year 9 said, “I found it really interesting to learn about the different reasons why families may have to use a Food Bank. If I had understood this I would have brought in even more food”.
Alfie Beveridge also in year 9 said, “I found learning about the set-up and organisation of the Food Banks really interesting. Duncan was really nice and down to earth. I thought he was going to be really stern and very serious when explaining his beliefs but he was really nice and honest about not always believing in God. This was a good experience.”
Annabelle Gallagher in year 10 said, “I found it really interesting to find out what type of help the Food Banks need. I am going to find out how to volunteer so that I can help pack the parcels.”
Head teacher John Doyle and all of the staff at Ormskirk School are exceedingly proud of how hard pupils and staff have worked to raise as much food as possible for such a good cause, and hope to be able to replicate the success in the future.