Network Special: Food Bank Project
Orla Kenny and Emma Njagi
After we visited the Bishop’s Stortford Food Bank in early October in order to write our article for The Network, our school’s online newspaper, we were really impressed by the generosity of the volunteers we spoke to, and surprised by the need for the food bank even in a town as affluent as Bishop’s Stortford. So, we decided to set up a partnership between the Herts and Essex Interact team, our rotary led charity committee, and the Stortford Food Bank. The partnership involves the entire school, with each form having been given their own box in their form room to fill up with donations of food, drink, and hygienic items. The idea we have implemented is to have a half-termly food collection for the Food Bank, with the first donation to be given in early December. As it is Christmas time, we are currently encouraging festive donations, such as mince pies and crackers.
Why did we do it? Well, after the success of the collection during the Harvest festival in September for Broxbourne Food Bank, Emma and I both agreed it would be a good idea to set up the partnership. After seeing how positive the students' response was to the gentleman from the Broxbourne Food Bank who gave a moving speech in an assembly about why we should donate, we knew the students would respond warmly to the initiative, too. We think it will be useful for our Food Bank to have another regularly donating institution and a reliable, steady flow of donations, so they know when a donation will arrive, and can plan for an influx of food.
Donating food (something that we all take for granted) is such an effortless gesture but one that can be so important for a family or individual in crisis. We couldn’t think of a simpler way to harness the students’ generosity and enthusiasm than to give them the option to donate to the Food Bank in their form room, so they know they can provide easily and whenever they want. This partnership and half termly donations will hopefully be successful and become a normal part of Herts and Essex life. It will help the students and school become more involved in and more aware of issues within the community, and will provide many invaluable donations to the Food Bank.
How the Project works
Step one: Accept delivery of your very own collection box. Each form should have one. Email us here at the network if your form didn't get one or needs a new box.
Step two: Look at the list for the half term. This will be specially compiled through contact with the food bank to ensure that we collect exactly what is in demand. Make sure everyone in the form has been allocated an item to bring in (feel free to double up on items if need be).
Step three: Put your items in the box in your form room and, when you hit the collection deadline, send your box down to the collection point next to the sixth form office.
The trial run went really well with 18 forms collecting items for the food bank, but we would like to do a lot more.
If every form could make sure they collect at least some of the items, it would make a huge difference some of the most vulnerable people in our community. If you make one news year's resolution as a form this year, let it be this!