Two years ago, an off-the-cuff remark made in a form period at University College School during a discussion about Mike Leigh’s film, I, Daniel Blake saw three boys organise a small collection for a food bank within their group of friends. The collection has now grown into an annual “harvest” event at UCS, Hampstead. This year just under three tonnes of food and toiletries was donated in a collection which took place on Friday morning.
The demand for food at the North Paddington Food Bank has increased by 200% over the last two years and the donation from the UCS community will make a huge difference to the work carried out there. The manager, James Quale, stated, “This single donation is the biggest we have ever received. It will allow us to focus our efforts on supporting people both with food and essentials packages and with improving the other support we offer to them, instead of having to focus on getting enough food. It is of huge importance to us and we cannot communicate how much we appreciate the effort that has been put in by the students to make this happen.”
Ben Byre, 16, who was part of the group of pupils who organised the donation was delighted by the response of the UCS community. “It was amazing to see all the donations flood in this morning from the pupils and staff at both the Junior Branch and the Senior School. I have never seen so much pasta sauce!” Josh Naftalin, 16, who was also involved in the organisation commented, “We filled 76 boxes with food and toiletries. I would like to thank everyone in the two schools who donated items and our maintenance team who helped deliver the boxes to the food bank.”
Pupils across the school are now busily planning events for UCS’s Community Action – a 7-week period after the half-term break of creative fundraising for local and national charities.