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Pupils spread festive joy for Feed a Family This Christmas

By Heather Large | Feed a Family | Published:

Schoolchildren have been spreading plenty of festive cheer by supporting the Express & Star's Feed a Family This Christmas appeal.

Each day bags and boxes of food have been brought into Westcroft School in Wolverhampton by staff and pupils eager to get involved in the campaign and help those in need.

Hundreds of items from tinned vegetables to bags of pasta along with festive goodies and toys have been handed over to help those in need and will now be passed on to food banks and other good causes across the Black Country and Staffordshire.

At the moment the total number of items collected during the appeal stands at more than 12,000 with still more to be counted.

Class teacher and student council co-ordinator Carl Bates said: "We have been delighted to support the feed a family campaign for the third year running.

"We were really pleased with the response before but this year we have collected far more items than the last two years.

"It has been overwhelming how well the appeal has been supported and to see so many bags and boxes of goods arriving in school each morning.

"I think that people are far more aware now of the increasing problem of poverty in our own country.

"Helping each other is at the heart of our curriculum at Westcroft so supporting the appeal fits right in with this.

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"Our school council have been promoting the appeal in their tutor groups and then helping to collect in all of the items."

Our appeal, which finishes today, has received a great response from communities all across the Black Country and Staffordshire.

The biggest donation came from former Goodyear workers who handed over £3,000 worth of food and toiletries.

Five huge trolleys were loaded with everything from cartons of fruit juice and jars of coffee to noodle pots, breakfast cereal and boxes of biscuits thanks to hanks to kind-hearted members of the Goodyear workers 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund.

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We also had a generous gift of more than 2,660 items from Lichfield Food Bank, which passed on surplus stock to our campaign so it could benefit people in need further afield.

We've also had businesses including Assa Abloy and Saddlers Shopping Centre get involved by collecting donations.

The causes we are supporting this year are the Black Country Food Bank, which has centres across Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall, The Well (Home of Wolverhampton Food Bank), the Good Shepherd Ministry, based in Wolverhampton, and Cannock and District Food Bank.

Some donations of chocolates have also been taken to the Haven refuge in Wolverhampton which provides both practical and emotional support services to women and children who are affected by domestic violence and homelessness.

We launched the appeal for the third in a row after food banks, in particular, reported seeing numbers needing support continue to rise.

A key issue people face is benefits being delayed or stopped, which leaves them turning to the food bank for help, while the roll-out of Universal Credit has also left some families in debt.

Other reasons include redundancy or receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.

At this time of year, many are also faced with the heart-breaking choice of either putting food on the table or heating their home.

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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