Well it’s that time of year again, people are hurrying around the shops choosing presents, wrapping paper and writing Christmas cards, not to mention ordering the turkey, plus buying all the extra food for ‘that dinner’.
It’s a busy time in schools too, ironing tea towels for the school nativity, rehearsing carols for the concert and making gifts for pupils to take home. And the work doesn’t stop in the classroom; as I write this school catering staff across the country will either be serving or planning Christmas lunch for our children who are safe, warm and well-fed in school.
But let’s just slow down a minute and think of when school closes and of those children who won’t be getting that laptop, tablet or whatever the latest toy is on Christmas morning.
There will be children who won’t be warm and sitting around a table enjoying a family meal, because there is no table and although parents desperately want to provide the best they possibly can for their children, they simply cannot afford it.
No, this is not a Dickensian Christmas Carol, this is 2017 and it is a reality.
Over the years that I have been visiting schools as part of Food for Life, I have seen levels of deprivation increase to a level I never thought I would. But I have also seen schools working harder than ever on decreasing budgets and under a never ending sea of paperwork, doing everything they can to minimise the effects it has on their children. Those schools are truly embracing the values of Food for Life and I am so proud of them all.
Food and food education should have no barriers and at this time of year it’s especially important to be thankful for those schools, their wonderful staff and incredible cooks and caterers who go the extra mile. There are many, many of you, but one that I particularly wanted to recognise is Food for Life Gold School Award holders Park Community School in Portsmouth, who are opening on Christmas Day to serve their community a fantastic lunch and provide those who need it with company, plus games and much more for the kids.
Thank you Park Community School.
If you have someone you would like to say thank you too, those special people who always go that extra mile, please let me know. You can Tweet me @JeanetteOrrey and I will share as many as I can.
To all of you a Very Happy Christmas and see you in 2018