All students at Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester joined in the collection for the local Wythenshawe Food Bank.
Each year group focused on collecting one item of food for food bank. Year 7 students collected baked beans, Year 8 collected tinned vegetables, Year 9 collected rice pudding, Year 10 collected tinned fruit and Year 11 collected soup.
The Wythenshawe Food Bank is a collaboration between The Trussell Trust and local church and community groups.
Four students: Leon Vieru, Kieran Atherton, Isaac Amo and Freya Corrigan from Year 7 who had greatly contributed to their form’s collection were selected to visit the Food Bank and personally donate the food collected by Saint Paul’s.
The first task was to fill the mini bus with the 700 cans the school had collected and the group then set off for the Food Bank.
“We were introduced to our tour guide for the day; Gerry Flannigan the community worker to the Wythenshawe catholic churches,” explained Lay Chaplain Ric Slatter. “He told us about the work the Food Bank did feeding families and individuals suffering poverty in our area. He then gave each student a can of beans which they had brought in and explained that it would travel to the hub, on to a distribution hub at St Aidan’s church and then on to a young family they’re supporting.
“We first went to the Food Bank’s central hub at Wythenshawe Civic where we met Pam who works at the hub. Her volunteers helped us write the use by dates on top of our cans. We weighed all our donations on a giant weighing scale. It weighed 300kg!”
The students then had a tour of the facility and Pam told them about her project Real Food Wythenshawe, a programme which runs alongside the food bank teaching families how to cook healthy meals on a budget. (http://www.realfoodwythenshawe.com/).
Ric added: “Gerry had sent through an order of what supplies his distribution hub at Saint Aidan’s needed this week and Pam had five packed crates waiting for us. We loaded the crates onto the mini bus and headed on to St Aidan’s.
“When we arrived at St Aidan’s Centre, the community café was celebrating Romanian day, with food prepared by some of the Romanian volunteers (The previous week was Polish week!).
“We sat and spoke to lots of the volunteers. We then had a chance to meet two of the ladies who use the food bank. They were moved away from their homes to a woman’s refuge in Wythenshawe where they didn’t know anyone. They found the food bank which welcomed them and gave them the life line of food packages and friendship. They have also both started going to church and reconnecting with their faith in Jesus.
“We loaded our crates in to the store room then Gerry gave us an order from a mother and her two children who needed one week’s food. We followed a meal plan which told us how many of each item to put in the bags.”
Mr Tony Billings, Executive Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s, added: “The Wythenshawe Food Bank is an absolute lifeline to families in need. We don’t think anyone in our community should face going hungry which is why we supported this cause. Involvement with charity work such as this is a very valuable experience for our students.”