Youngsters at a South Tyneside school gathered in scores of food donations to help others.
Whitburn Church of England Academy held its annual Harvest Festival to collect donations for The People’s Kitchen and South Tyneside Churches KEY Project.
We all need to take some responsibility to help others where we canAmelia Gillespie
A team of Year 11 house captains from the school went along to visit the Key Project to find out how donations are used.
The visit was incredibly eye-opening for the teenagers, who then spoke to the whole school about what they had learned.
Pupil, Ruby Edmiston, said: “Many have the view that homeless people are associated with crime and wrong doings, but our visit to The Key Project challenged these preconceptions. “The people we met were the opposite of that negative stereotype.
“One of the people I met was an ex-soldier and, at times, has slept in a tent on the beach.
“It was surprising to see how happy he was and, despite having his own troubles, he kept telling us that we need to go to university and make a life for ourselves.
“We really need to realise that this is happening all around us and we need to help.”
Fellow pupil, Amelia Gillespie, said: “The thing I learned the most was that this amazing charity was going on just around the corner from my house and I was completely oblivious.
“Some of these young people had nobody to love or care for them and I was reminded that, when people work together as a community, then we can help people overcome hardships.
“We all need to take some responsibility to help others where we can, as the hardships they face could happen to any one of us.”
And, Oliver Hughes, another house captain at the academy, said: “People at The Key Project treated us with respect; they told us how lucky they were to have places such as the Food Bank that they could turn to. Not once did they mention lacking anything and it was immediately clear how grateful they were.
“We realised how fortunate we are in comparison. Those who had nothing did not want to talk about the hardships in their life, but only the positives that places such as The Key Project provide.”
A spokeswoman for the academy said they would like to thank the whole school community for the amazing amount of goods which were donated.