Sydney School Students Help Storm Victims Rebuild with Food Drive

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July 19, 2015

A group of students from St Johns High School in South West Sydney, recently completed a food drive for the flood effected families after the devastating NSW storms. The students under the encouragement of their teacher Soo Yon Waesch and the Principal Sue French, were committed to the urgency of the situation and responded quickly to the people in the flood zone. Here is how they describe their own experience and why they did a food drive:

“We thought it would be great to help out because our part of Sydney wasn’t that damaged as the others. We thought if we were in that position, we would be devastated and urgently seek help from others. We didn’t want to be part of society that didn’t care what was going on because it didn’t affect us,” said Sarena, Year 10

“Two things motivated us to do a food drive for Foodbank NSW/ACT, the need to help people and considering how comfortable we all live compared to people who have been stripped of that luxury,” shared Alex, Year 8

The enthusiastic students worked very hard together, planning, organising and gathering the donated food products. They raised 23.1kg which is 30 meals! While this is a great effort (big thanks to Beta House students!) what’s also important is the story behind the students’ motivation and what they learned in the process. This is how the students describe it:

“Through doing the food drive we learnt that not everyone is as fortunate as us and we can change that by helping them out. It could mean volunteering our time, donating money or organising an event like we have,” said Jessica, Year 9

“The school community, along with our house team supported our efforts by helping us out. They gave us this opportunity, assisted with the organisation of it all with the promotion and dates which occurred and most importantly, donated the food to us!” shared Nancy, Year 9.

The students of St Johns High School with their House teacher Soo Yon Waesch and School Principal Sue French

The students of St Johns High School with their House teacher Soo Yon Waesch and School Principal Sue French

The Principal at St Johns Park School, Sue French, encouraged the students to organise the food drive as part of a wider ethos about encouraging the students take responsibility for each other and learning to help others.

“At the school we do a lot of work around building student leadership and giving kids the opportunity to do real things that are of benefit to the community and beyond the school. We see it as an important part of their learning that they do things like the food drive. From the students perspective not only have they had this experience of being able to make a donation in its biggest possible sense, they’ve had to organise it themselves, work as a team, they had to keep to a deadline and all of these things are great things that they can take forward so it’s more than just doing a good deed, from my perspective being the principal it’s a big part of their learning as well.”

The school students presented Foodbank NSW & ACT’s Fundraising Manager Beth Campbell-Bruce with the bags of food at a school presentation.

Beth said she was delighted to accept the food on behalf of Foodbank NSW & ACT and the flood victims and it was great to see young people making such a great contribution to the wider community through their generosity.

“Food drives are an important and helpful way for individuals, schools, clubs, organisations and companies to help Foodbank NSW & ACT keep up the supply of non-perishable food. These food products are critical to the process of breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty in an ongoing basis as well as when emergency food relief is needed. Without food drives we would be left short of a lot of food needed to feed the hungry every week.”

The students at St Johns High School summed it up well in saying, “We require no thanks, the fact that people can live a bit more comfortable and knowing they have more food to eat is thanks enough for us.”

With winter fully underway, the need for food relief has increased in NSW & ACT and some of our staple food donations have decreased. Please consider organising your own group food drive or donate today to help us have enough food to fight hunger throughout winter.

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