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Staff behind a food bank launched at Samuel Ward Academy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have praised the kind-hearted community for their support.

The Haverhill school started the foodbank last month to support local families and were inundated with donations from local companies and staff members.

They have since delivered more than 45 food boxes to families from the school as well as supporting young people living at the Cangle Foyer.

Jenna Powell, assistant headteacher at Samuel Ward Academy, said: “We started the food bank for families who were self-isolating and it developed from there.

“We have been dropping them on the doorsteps of families in need, either food and toiletries or a ‘care package’ which also contains books and games.

“We are also contacting hundreds of families every week just to check in and we always ask if they need anything.

“The families have been so grateful and the staff support has been so amazing. I’ve worked at the school for 11 years and they never fail to step up.

“This crisis has shown, more than ever, the strength of feeling that staff have for their community – their dedication goes way beyond teaching.”

In response to receiving a food parcel, one parent wrote to the school: “As a family we are overwhelmed, touched and so very grateful for our care package.

“Thank you all again. We love and appreciate the Samuel Ward team a great deal.”

The school was supported by donations of food and toiletries by Aldi, Nine Jars, the Felstead Aid charity, AM FRESH, Yum Yum Fudge and TK Maxx who donated over 100 Easter egg.

Jenna added: “We started with a few Period Poverty items and some of our regular food donations from Aldi, which people collected when they came to get their free school meal vouchers pre-lockdown, and it grew from there.

“Aldi have been great supporters, donating each week. When we asked staff if they could donate anything, they really rallied together with items and asking friends and local companies for support, and the size of our food bank really expanded.

“We would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated items and supported the scheme.”

If anyone would like to donate to the Samuel Ward Academy food bank, or if you are a family in need of support, please email foodbank@samuelward.co.uk.