St. Andrew’s Primary & Nursery in Airdrie joined the #FoodBankChallenge and my, did they deliver.

St. Andrew’s Primary School and Nursery Class in Airdrie, has approximately 200 pupils. After seeing that actor Hugh Grant had donated to their local foodbank, they decided to get in on the #foodbankchallenge themselves. When I say get involved, I mean immersed.

A pupil from P4/5 leads us into Airdrie Foodbank. Credit: @SaintAndrews3 on twitter

As reported by several news outlets two weeks ago, actor Hugh Grant made a surprise donation to Airdrie Foodbank Obviously for the actor to have chosen Airdrie, was big news. However Saint Andrews Primary and Nursery had already started a “food drive” of their own, on 21st May.

As part of the school curriculum the pupils are taught about food poverty and other social issues. I find this very interesting and encouraging at the same time. Children should be taught about current issues. The fact that their local foodbank saw a 103% increase in use in 2017¹, makes it even more important, as this is an issue affecting their local community directly.

More importantly, 30% of the 3512 three-day emergency food supplies given out were to children, so it may be the case that a pupil had directly benefited from the foodbank themselves.

The St Andrews twitter account announces the food drive has begun.

One thing the school utilises well, is social media. While I am only highlighting foodbank related tweets, they really do show parents and the outside world whats going on from day to day. My son’s nursery does something similar but on a closed system. Nevertheless it’s a great way to increase parent participation for any events they are running.

Airdrie Foodbank is run by Calderbank Parish Church and its volunteers, in association with the Trussell Trust. It runs three days a week, Monday it is at Calderbank Parish Church of Scotland. On Wednesdays it’s at St Edward’s RC Church Hall and on a Friday they hold it at Airdrie Baptist Church Hall. The different denominations working together shows the strength of the community spirit in Airdrie in my humble opinion.

Now St Andrews don’t just post ‘we’re running a food drive’ and leave it at that, oh no. They like to remind you, and video content is something that they do very well, as can be seen below.

So Friday the 25th May arrives. The school carries on as normal as does the rest of Airdrie. At about 12pm, an Asda delivery van pulls up outside the Baptist Church Hall. Inside there’s an entire van full of supplies for them. But from who? They when then made aware who the mysterious Mr Grant was.

“We were completely gobsmacked. We wouldn’t have thought Hugh Grant would even think about a place like Airdrie,” volunteer Linda Murray told Glasgow Live.

Volunteers Week

Fast forward to Friday 1st June. St. Andrews Primary 4 & 5 classes pay a visit to Airdrie Foodbank. They weren’t only visiting to learn about the invaluable work the foodbank does, but also to help them out. I’m not sure if the school were aware but, 1st June was also the first day of National Volunteers Week. So they joined in two fantastic causes at the same time.

Photos used with permission of St. Andrew’s PS & NC, Airdire©

As you can see from the photos, the kids rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in. It’s a wonderful thing for children to get involved in community projects, it gives them a sense of achievement whilst learning at the same time. For some it looks as if it was tiring day too. At the same time they dropped off all the food and other supplies that they had collected since the 21st.

They gathered a whopping 145kgs of food and other things that people require. A fascistic effort by them indeed.

I contacted actor Hugh Grant for a comment, and he said to pass on his “Respect and Admiration” to the children of St. Andrew’s.

The school are holding a special assembly tomorrow to update the children and the parents on how their food drive went. In light of their recent efforts, I have arranged for a little something special for each and every one of them, to recognise their efforts over the past few weeks.

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The staff, pupils and their families should be incredibly proud of their achievement. For a school of just 200 pupils, 145kg of supplies in 2 weeks just by way of donation, is a huge amount.

I urge everyone to pay the schools twitter account a visit and see the vast amount of things they are involved in. You can go directly there by clicking here, @SaintAndrews3.

A quick note on criticism of the challenge

Now there are some, although a minority, who see the #FoodBankChallenge as a way of normalising foodbanks. Whilst I can see were they are coming from, unfortunately were we just to not donate or raise awareness of them, people would starve. I’m well aware many people don’t want to show they are donating and this is perfectly fine. The challenge has helped raise awareness of foodbanks and there will be many people who’ve donated and not said anything. That’s their right. How you donate or who knows is irrelevant.

I just want to say a massive well done to everyone who’s gotten involved in the challenge. As at report on destitution released today by JRF highlights, 4 million people are using foodbanks in the UK. This is disheartening and frankly unacceptable.

Whilst we must lobby and rally for changes to the system, until that happens people using foodbanks still need fed. I will continue to raise awareness of the issues many people are facing and push for change.

Wishing everyone a good weekend.

Alex @RespectIsVital

You can follow me on Facebook at by searching @RespectIsVital too.

¹Figures come from Airdrie Foodbanks yearly stats that can be found on their website here.

I do not get paid for what I do but if you’d like to make a donation so I can carry on my research and writing, I’d be truly humbled. Regardless of this I will carry on trying to make a positive difference.

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