Caring Catholic primary school pupils in North Shields help top up local foodbank

Caring pupils at a North Shields school have been helping the local foodbank by collecting donations for the Harvest Festival.

The pupils at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Cullercoats,  took part in the charitable venture to support The Bay Foodbank, collecting a wide range of donated items  to help families in the community.

The event was spearheaded by St Mary’s Mini Vinnies – a group of children in Year 6 who promote charitable causes as ambassadors for their school, a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust.

“At St Mary’s we take part in many activities which allow us to put our faith into action,” said Deputy Headteacher Joanne MacDonald, who was involved in the project with teaching assistant Grainne O’Brien.

“One of our annual events is our Harvest Festival. The Mini Vinnies led a short assembly to tell the school about the project, and made posters to encourage all families to take part.

“Children from Nursery to Year 6 were invited to bring in tins, packets, sweets and chocolate for the foodbank. Mrs O’Brien and I supported the children by promoting and publicising the event and basically keeping them on track, but the Mini Vinnies sorted the donations and helped pack them for the foodbank.”

It’s not the first time the school has supported the charity, based in North Shields and has provided over 45,000 emergency food parcels to more than 10,500 registered clients across North Tyneside and parts of Northumberland since launching in 2012.

“We have been supporting the foodbank for several years now, as it is local to us and serves our community,” continued Mrs MacDonald. “We also make donations of toiletries, sanitary products and household items in December as part of our Advent Angel project.

“The children were amazed by how much food was in the hall and how it would be used to help people who really needed it.

“The Mini Vinnies then helped our caretaker load his car with the donations, and he kindly dropped these off on our behalf.

“All staff in school support this work, because it is such a vital part of our role as a Christian community,” she added.

“Whilst this is a Mini VInnies project which they organise, this can only be successful if the whole school takes part and supports it.”