Hartlepool food charity needs van to collect school’s huge harvest gift

Abi Knowles Hartlepool foodbank co-ordinator is presented with items by pupils from Sacred Heart Primary school. Picture by FRANK REID
Abi Knowles Hartlepool foodbank co-ordinator is presented with items by pupils from Sacred Heart Primary school. Picture by FRANK REID

A Hartlepool school rallied round for the town’s food bank with a bountiful collection.

Children at Sacred Heart RC Primary School, in Hart Lane, gathered so much donations for Hartlepool Foodbank that they needed a van to take it away.

Abi Knowles Hartlepool foodbank co-ordinator is presented with items by pupils from Sacred Heart Primary school. Picture by FRANK REID

Abi Knowles Hartlepool foodbank co-ordinator is presented with items by pupils from Sacred Heart Primary school. Picture by FRANK REID

The youngsters, along with parents’ support, spent a week bringing in non-perishable food items as part of the school’s harvest celebrations.

It provided a welcome boost to the food bank which has recently seen its stock drop to worryingly low levels.

The charity is seeing increased demand from users in financial crisis.

Sacred Heart teacher Joanne Shanks said: “We are very pleased with this year’s collection, it is absolutely brilliant.

“The parents and children are always very generous, they all participated and wanted to help.

“We have had a collection for the food bank for about four or five years now.”

Abi Knowles, coordinator of Hartlepool Foodbank, based in Church Street, visited the school to collect the donation and also explained to pupils how it would help provide meals for people in Hartlepool who cannot afford to buy enough food for themselves and their families.

Ms Shanks added: “She talked to the children about the work of the food bank and of sharing with those less fortunate than yourselves, and how vital the work of the food bank is in Hartlepool.”

Abi said the collection was the biggest yet from the school.

“I was absolutely blown away by this year’s donation,” she said. “They have excelled themselves this year.

“Sacred Heart are one of our first schools that collect for us during the harvest season.

“It seems to get bigger every year and we are very proud of them and very thankful.

“In response to our appeal for more donations a couple of weeks ago in the Mail it has really helped fill the hole that we have got at the minute.”

But Abi said, such is the demand that the food is never on the shelves for long and hopes further generous donations will continue to come in in the run up to Christmas.

During a recent harvest assembly, Year 2 pupils at Sacred Heart also raised more than £100 for CAFOD, the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development, to alleviate poverty and suffering in developing countries.