Students of English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College visited St. Aidan’s Kitchen to deliver ten huge boxes of supplies.
Pupils in St. John Boste House collected a variety of tinned foods, cereals, toiletries and other various supplies as part of their house mass in October.
Rev. Gemma Sampson, who runs the project along with a group of volunteers, met with students, gave them a quick tour and answered their questions.
“We started with a couple of microwaves and kettles” the reverend explained. “We quickly realised there was a real need for the kitchen so we fundraised. Within three months we had £30,000 and opened the kitchen you see today.”
The vital service is based in St. Aidan’s Church and is open every Thursday between 11am and 1pm, providing hot meals and groceries for people who are hungry, homeless, or in any kind of need.
Mrs Kathy Spears, House Leader for John Boste was overwhelmed by the experience: “As soon as I walked into that community I was lost for words.” She Said.
Similarly, the students were lost for words: “When I walked in my eyes filled with tears.” Said Keely McManus in Year 9. “The visit made me realise how unfortunate other people are. It was absolutely heart-breaking.”
The kitchen, now in its second year of opening, has secured enough money and supplies to open on Christmas Day, providing warmth, food and a small gift to all who visit.
Rev. Gemma thanked the students for their donation: “I, and more importantly, all the people here, thank you all for your donations. It is a fantastic gesture and I can’t thank you enough.”
Anne-Marie McKenna, the school chaplain at EMS said: “We are going to be supporting this wonderful service at all of our House masses this year and we are going to adopt it as our Lent charity too. Rev. Gemma has done a brilliant job and I hope the kitchen continues to serve the people of Hartlepool who need it for a long time.”
Donations are always welcome at the church and they are always in desperate need of toiletries and tinned food.