Sacks of seasonal fun come early for Ranelagh Primary School children
Santa is making some early calls in Newham this month – but he’s not dressed in seasonal red, and he’s not even a he.
The early start to seasonal goodwill comes from staff at Stratford’s Morrisons’ supermarket who, in their green uniforms, are delivering sacks of toys, chocolates and gifts to primary schools in Forest Gate and Stratford.
On Tuesday Morrisons’ “People’s Champion” Lutfa Begum and her colleague Olu Akiwowo visited Ranelagh Primary School in Stratford, with three sacks of toys.
Other visits are lined up for Godwin Primary School and Forest Gate Community School.
Lutfa Begum, a Stratford resident who co-ordinates the flow of food and goods from Morrison’s to local food banks and other groups supporting vulnerable members of the community, said:
"THIS IS ALL MADE POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF OUR STAFF AND MANAGEMENT."
But it’s not just children in Newham who are benefiting – next Friday Lutfa will deliver more sacks of sweets and bundles of fun and games to children at Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in central London.
“We’re out and about every day at the moment”, she says. “This time of year is always busy, but with Covid, it’s even more frantic and even more needed.”
Solidarity supporters: From left, Olu Akiwowo, Lutfa Begum and Aisha Sheikh
At Ranelagh School, head teacher Shella Lawrenson and community cohesion leader Aisha Sheikh joined children in celebrating the latest gifts from Morrison’s, which has helped the school develop its own food bank service to support vulnerable families in the area.
“They also provide us with food and other supplies which we distribute to families who we know are in need of help,” says Shella Lawrenson. Around 30 families are receiving support.
Identifying those in need is not easy, but sensitive use of information on the school database has helped. “Using the database and working with our parents we have got to know those most in need,” said Aisha Sheikh.