FAMILIES and individuals who are facing hard times will be in for a brighter Christmas thanks to the generosity of a school community.

A harvest of treats and essential supplies has been gathered by pupils and their families at Haughton Academy, part of the Education Village Academy Trust, Darlington.

Every pupil, from Year 7 to 11, was involved in the initiative which resulted in almost 80 hampers being handed over to the town’s King’s Church Food Bank.

The school’s culture for learning lead Liam Taylor organised the operation which allowed children in tutor group time the opportunity to consider the challenges faced by people living in Darlington and the concepts of kindness and respect.

Mr Taylor said: “Our whole school community responded brilliantly well and were just so generous in what they sent in, which is so heart-warming.”

Members of a Year 7 tutor group joined principal Jonathan Lumb for the official handover of the food parcels.

They were told by food bank worker Andrew Coltman of the dire need for foodbanks in Darlington as many families and individuals struggled with the cost of modern life.

The foodbank hands out enough food to make 75,000 meals a year and it is just one of around nine in the town.

Last week 86 people visited the King’s foodbank in a single day seeking support and during the week 130 bags of provisions were handed out.

Mr Coltman said: “This is a truly fantastic donation which will make such a difference to people’s lives. Many families in work as well as on benefit are struggling this year and the issue has been made worse by zero hours contracts and the introduction of universal credit.”

Callum Gohr, 11, said: “I think staple foods should be made free so no one ever goes hungry. That way we wouldn’t need foodbanks in the 21stcentury.”

Lacey Burns, 12, added: “I think it is good for us to consider the lives of other people and to give food so they can have a better Christmas. We all need to understand what some people in the town are going through.”