Caring children at a West Denton school have been helping to bring some festive cheer to homeless people in the community. The Year 6 pupils at St John Vianney Catholic Primary have set up their own Christmas card shop to raise money for charity, with all proceeds going to The People’s Kitchen, which provides food, clothing and other essentials to those living on the city’s streets.

Stock for the shop is supplied by staff members at the school, who donate Christmas cards they don’t want or have left over, while the Year 6 children themselves often contribute cards too.

Pupils across all year groups are each invited to buy one card for £1 to send to their class as a whole, with purchases made through the school’s online payment system.

Last year, this fabulous card shop raised an amazing £130 for The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle,” said Mrs Black, Year 6 teacher at St John Vianney, which is part of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust. “The children purchased £60 of much needed socks and used £70 on The People’s Kitchen ‘Feed a Friend for a Fiver’ campaign, ensuring that many homeless had a hot meal last Christmas. Maggie Pavlou, one of The People Kitchen volunteers and trustee, came in to visit the children and collect the socks. We hope she’ll do the same this year.”

Established in 1985, The People’s Kitchen provides hot meals, clothing, toiletries, food, mobile phones and sleeping bags for homeless people in the Newcastle area, serving over 250 meals per day, every day of the year.

As well as selling Christmas cards to raise funds for the charity, the children have found an additional, and even more personal way to support their chosen cause.

Also, the Year 6 children make Christmas cards for the friends of The People’s Kitchen, and these are on the tables on Christmas Day for all who arrive for a hot meal,” continued Mrs Brown.

And the eco-conscious youngsters are helping to protect the environment too.

In his letter Laudato Si, Pope Francis called for his people ‘to care for our common home’,” added Mrs Black. “Year 6 embrace this message in this Christmas Card Shop by reducing the number of Christmas cards bought, and therefore reducing waste and hopefully deforestation. Every little helps!

Sent on behalf of Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust and Barking Dog Media. For more information contact david@barkingdogmedia.co.uk or call 07754 271086.

Images reproduced with the kind permission of Kate Buckingham.