Amazing lockdown efforts as school starts Parcels for Pupils

Schools and businesses continue to raise money and collect donations of food to support families around the borough whose circumstances have been affected by coronavirus and a loss of earnings.

Amazon’s depot off the Purley Way has been delivering Magic Breakfast boxes during lockdown

In Thornton Heath, the Paxton Academy primary school has identified several families who need assistance, and has started a crowdfunding page to raise funds.

The school has been open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children throughout the emergency lockdown, and this week opened for Reception and Year 1 pupils.

According to a source at the school, “Many of the families were living on the breadline before covid-19 struck – but now they are in far worse positions.

“Parents on zero hours’ contracts have lost employment, food and utility bills have increased with the children at home all day, every day, and many children, especially those with special educational needs, are struggling with a lack of stimulation, expertise and equipment that would normally offer them assistance with their learning.”

The scheme is called “Parcels for Pupils”, to provide bespoke care packages for families. Parcels may include food, toiletries, vouchers, books or specialist equipment.

“The teachers and staff know the families very well and are in the best position to determine what is needed,” the source said. Donations for Parcels for Pupils can be made here:

Meanwhile, just a couple of miles up the Purley Way, the experts in parcels, Amazon, have been working as part of the Magic Breakfast charity scheme, delivering meals direct to children’s homes free of charge.

Staff and pupils at the Paxton Academy have begun crowdfunding to help those in need

Across the country, three-quarters of a million breakfast packs containing food supplies from Arla, Heinz, Kellogg’s, Morrisons, New York Bakery Co and Quaker Oats have been delivered by Amazon.

Between May 11 and 22, more than 32,000 breakfasts were delivered to more than 2,000 homes in London and the south of England, many despatched from Amazon’s depot off the Purley Way.

Each child received packs containing two weeks’ worth of Magic Breakfast food, either via their schools, or via an Amazon delivery.

The children receiving these meals can normally have a free breakfast at school, provided by Magic Breakfast, to give them the fuel they need for their morning lessons. Since schools closed due to covid-19, however, the charity has adapted its delivery model, with help from Amazon, to ensure that children from its partner schools can continue to enjoy their Magic Breakfast at home.

Research by the Food Foundation has highlighted the growing issue of child hunger during covid-19.

“Amazon staff have bent over backwards to help the children and schools we support,” said Alex Cunningham, the chief executive of Magic Breakfast.

“In a time when hunger is a reality faced by many, Amazon is enabling Magic Breakfast to reach thousands of vulnerable children with a healthy breakfast – children who can no longer access breakfast provision at school and whose families may be finding it difficult to provide food under lockdown. A very big thank you to Amazon.”

Amazon say that they will continue to offer this free home delivery service to Magic Breakfast for 12 weeks, or for as long as schools remain under lockdown.

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