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'We wanted to support our pupils': The school foodbank helping struggling parents

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 December 2019

Debbie Ward and Omer Bashir with some of the donations and collecting boxes. Picture: Ken Mears

Debbie Ward and Omer Bashir with some of the donations and collecting boxes. Picture: Ken Mears

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A school foodbank is appealing for help to ensure it can provide supplies to those most in need over Christmas.

Rokeby School has been running the scheme for a year and has received a "fantastic" response, according to teacher and foodbank co-ordinator Omer Bashir.

"We get donations from pupils, parents, staff, the community, governors, businesses," he said.

"They want to help families in our community. We get a lot of support."

The foodbank is designed to support families who are struggling to make ends meet and provide a way of ensuring pupils - as well as their siblings and parents - have enough to eat.

"The reason we're doing it is because as a school, we have a lot of families in need of help," Omer explained.

"There are a lot going through difficult times. Some are made homeless, others are living in rat-infested properties.

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"We wanted to support our pupils and and were thinking, what could we do?"

The foodbank was the answer.

When it launched, pupils were taught about why foodbanks were needed and the importance of giving - and the past year has seen the foodbank steadily grow.

"We are starting to help more families," Omer said. "Some of them we help regularly."

He added that the foodbank was busiest in the winter months, and that the school was going to contact families it had previously supported ahead of Christmas to ensure that they would have enough to eat during the holidays.

Donations are made into packages and either sent to parents at home or left at the Barking Road, Canning Town school for them to collect.

"We have staff members offer to deliver food," Omer said. "I'm going to do a delivery to East Ham tonight."

Most of those helped by the foodbank are parents with children at Rokeby, but Omer said that it also supports those living nearby.

To donate to the foodbank or to find out more about getting help from it, visit the school reception or call 020 7540 5620.

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