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Students Celebrate a Charitable Harvest Festival

Students Celebrate a Charitable Harvest Festival

The students of St Paul’s Church of England Primary School recently enjoyed a visit from staff of The Bridge (East Midlands), as part of their Harvest Festival celebrations.

Students and parents had gathered plentiful donations of long-life food, to create food parcels for The Bridge to disperse to local people in need. Year 5 pupils were able to talk to staff of The Bridge about homelessness, rough sleepers and how their donations can benefit the lives of many local people.

The Bridge, based in Loughborough, provides free and impartial advice and support services to people across Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, who are homeless or facing housing crisis. Alongside this, the Customer Service Team at The Bridge organise food parcels for their most vulnerable clients; in 2018-19, they handed out 737 of these food parcels.

Encouraged to think about the how rough sleepers may feel, the pupils were tasked with writing positive messages for The Bridge’s clients, attaching notes to each donated item.

Mrs Gilchrist, Head Teacher at St Paul’s Primary, commented: “It was fantastic for The Bridge to be able to engage with pupils, helping students to understand where donations go and how they can change lives.

“It is important to raise awareness and reduce stigma in an age-appropriate way; we encouraged pupils to think about the causes of homelessness, but also how rough sleepers may feel.”

A handful of pupils made a visit to The Bridge’s office to deliver the food parcels, taking the opportunity to speak to a client, see where their donations are stored and find out more about The Bridge’s services.

One student said: “It was nice to meet someone that our donations will help… We got the idea for the messages on our donations from Meghan Markle writing on bananas, when she visited a hostel.”

Peter Davey, Chief Officer at The Bridge, said: “It was a pleasure to have the students visit our office and the fantastic notes left by the children on these donations will no doubt make the world of difference to the clients that receive them.”

 “We are extremely thankful for all of the Harvest Festival donations that we receive from the local community. Food poverty is a rising issue in the local area and it is increasingly hard to keep up with the demand for food parcels; as testament to this, nearly all food items donated have already been dispersed to our clients.

“The Bridge has benefitted from many local organisations, including Highgate Primary School in Sileby, Fairfield Prep School and Stonebow Primary School in Loughborough, St Mary’s and St Paul’s Churches in Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves, as well as St Bartholomew’s CofE Primary School and St Bartholomew’s CofE Church in Quorn.

 “Winter is a particularly difficult time for rough sleepers, but also for families and individuals who are struggling to cover the costs of heating, bills and food. The Harvest Festival season is a fantastic opportunity for the community to pull together to help others and we are proud to be supported by so many.”

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