Thursday, June 20, 2019
Elaine Stock & Rachel Bird explain how packing food to tackle world hunger is being taken up by schools in order to teach about poverty and social justice. We’ve recently had the privilege of working with a number of schools around the UK in running Hand To Hand food packing events. These schools were looking for a communal way to teach about social responsibility and global citizenship; two areas that are covered by the curriculum in Primary and Secondary schools, as well as at GCSE. So far, over 30,000 meals have been packed by schools in the UK, ready to be sent to Burkina Faso. Each school has had both staff and students participating in mixing, weighing, sealing bags and packing them into boxes. Some schools have collaborated with the local church and parents to help support the students as they packed the food.
Each school food pack has taken a different format. At Horton St. Michael’s CE First School, Year 4 students enthusiastically packed meals in their school hall for an afternoon, while learning about poverty and social inequality. At St Paul’s C of E Primary School in Mill Hill, London, a group of Year 5 students helped to pack 5,000 meals in a classroom, with Bishop Rob Wickham and several members of the local church supporting them.
At another school, two sessions were run, one after another. In the first, children and members of the local community took part, while in the second, parents and staff were invited to have a go. Over 10,000 meals were packed in total; an amazing achievement. At St. Luke’s CE First School in Endon, the whole school took part, running four shifts throughout a morning. Headteacher of St Luke’s, Phil Wright said, “Our engagement with Feed The Hungry has been nothing short of brilliant – from the moment we spoke on the phone, to discussing logistics for the crazy goal of all 218 children to form a food packing factory, through to the delivery of a stunning experience for the children. The learning and experience the children have received has opened their eyes to the struggles others face and, just as importantly, that they themselves can have an impact in the world. That is hugely empowering and a perfect example of courageous advocacy.”
The children involved were personally impacted too. Abby said, “Working with Feed The Hungry helped me understand what other children go through and I’d love to help more people in the future.” Haydn said, “The factory packing was really good – children have food because of our work.” The Feed The Hungry team support schools before and after the food packs with online resources and visits to do lessons and assemblies, where the work of the charity is presented in order to help the students to understand the issue of world hunger, and the difference they are about to make. For faith schools, we want to help them to understand they can be Jesus’ hands and feet within their own sphere of citizenship. The Diocese of Lichfield has included Feed The Hungry as a focus in a scheme of work written around the theme of ‘Mission’ for their Church of England schools. The impact on the students has been overt. Libby said, “It’s made me think differently and realise how lucky I am – it is hard what other children go through.” Children receiving a certificate for their hard work has been the icing on the cake. Perhaps you have picked this article up as a teacher, School Governor or have links into a local school, and want to explore the possibility of doing a school food pack.
If you’d like more information about running a Hand To Hand event in your school, please click here or contact the team by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.