Youngsters at Hellesdon High School have been out and about helping to feed the homeless and to raise awareness of their problems.
Pupils and staff all contributed with donations after seeing a video made by the Shield (Supporting Hellesdon’s Inclusion, Equality, Love and Diversity) team to let the rest of the school know about the work of The People’s Picnic.
This is a group of volunteers who prepare and distribute hot meals and other supplies to homeless people in the city centre and who are seeing an increase in the number of people desperate for their help.
Donations included items such as tins of pasta and meat, biscuits, powdered milk, wet wipes and nappies and a group of sixth formers went along to deliver the supplies and to see how they were distributed.
English teacher Jess Baker said: “When we’d researched homelessness in Norwich prior to our trip, we’d been shocked by the high numbers of people who use this food bank for both hot meals and supplies, but nothing could have prepared us for what we encountered.
“There was a huge crowd of people when we arrived at 8pm.”
Younger pupils also played their part, making sandwiches to hand out – and they threw themselves enthusiastically into the challenge.
The students who accompanied Miss Baker to deliver the sandwiches and donations helped to distribute bottles of water, which gave them the opportunity to meet those in the queue.
The sandwiches, in particular, proved popular and were gone in 10 minutes.
After their experience, the sixth formers praised the volunteers who organise the service twice a week.
Georgia Leeds said: “I spoke to one man who told me the food we supplied will go far. I found that really touching.”
Scott Palframan expressed surprise at how many people there were using the facilities. “I was shocked at how busy it was… It shows you what a great need there is in Norwich,” he said.
Miss Baker added: “It was profoundly moving to see so many people of all different ages and walks of life coming together and using this service. The People’s Picnic organisers are absolute heroes.”
Hellesdon High School intends to continue to support the vulnerable through further fundraising campaigns and donations.