During Lent this year, the students of St John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate undertook a charity campaign with a difference.
The premise was simple, nearly every pupil has been bought a new school bag, and therefore has an old one in a cupboard at home somewhere. Meanwhile, in the poorest parts of the world there are children the same age in need of a backpack they can use for school. Over Lent, students not only brought in backpacks but filled them with items they thought might be useful.
Millie, aged 13, explained:
A lot of us have a bag which we don’t use, so we filled them with pens, notepads, coloured pencils and some clothes and toiletries. We have so much here compared to so many other people who have nothing.
David, aged 14, added:
We saw a video of a boy in Africa unpacking his new backpack. You should have seen his face when he got his own pen. It really made me think.
An international movement called Mary’s Meals, who provide daily meals in schools for over 360,000 children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe were the force behind the campaign. Their work is aimed at ensuring children receive an education and a daily meal, offering them hope for their future.
This year St John Fisher raised 40 backpacks in support of the campaign. The school believes they will raise 140 backpacks next year. The real legacy has been the realisation amongst the whole school community that by giving away the little things we have no need for, we can give immeasurable joy and hope to people who need them the most.