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Thomas More - Food Bank (Update)

Posted on: 22/07/2020

Thomas More Catholic School, Purley organised a food bank to help vulnerable families needing support during Lockdown and the 6 week summer holidays whilst schools are closed. The school wanted to provide cupboard fillers so that summer food vouchers provided – thanks to Marcus Rashford’s campaign - could be spent on fresh meat and vegetables.

Mandi Larner, the Safeguarding Lead, explained that food parcel referrals had been made during Lockdown, but that families unable to cope without free school meals were regularly requesting additional support. When one young carer called for a third parcel explaining that her fridge was completely empty, the school was inspired to hold a food bank for all.

Following donations from school staff and pupils, support came from charities and the wider community. A phenomenal response saw the food bank inundated with donations of both food and money, totaling a dozen pallets and over £600 to be spent on additional everyday necessities. Goods were divided into parcels containing canned food, pasta, rice, toiletries and cleaning products, tea coffee, squash, and cereals.

The food bank helped over 100 families with deliveries made by staff volunteers to those shielding or unable to attend. The on-site primary school Margaret Roper benefited from food bags for their families, with further surplus materials being passed onto two local charities working with homeless youngsters and refugees.

Nathan Walters, Headteacher said, “The schools’ motto is To Care and we have proved this tenfold from staff and supporters generosity”.

Mandi Larner stated: “This summer families have some comfort from food vouchers, but normally the summer holidays are a six week period without Government support, leading to stress and worry for those already in difficult situations. Donations from amazing organisations such as the police and charities should not become the norm for supplementing the basic nutritional requirements of young families; Government support needs to be extended across every summer break to ensure no family goes without. Protection has to be given to the most vulnerable children living in poverty.”

Written by Mandi Larner

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