MORE than 1,000 items donated by pupils, parents and staff at Melksham Oak Community School are to be handed over to Melksham Foodbank.

The groceries and toiletries will be parcelled up ready to hand out to around 100 people in need ahead of Christmas.

Hilary McFall, who manages the foodbank at the Melksham Baptist Church in Old Broughton Road, said: “It’s just wonderful. It will make a big difference to our clients.

“What makes it so special is that the whole school has taken part. We are just delighted with the donations.”

The collection from 1,300 pupils at Melksham Oak was supported by donations from staff and parents, friends and relatives.

It was organised by the school’ s religious education teacher, Michaela Hyne, 30, following lessons on poverty as part of the national curriculum.

She said: “We asked every pupil to bring in at least one item, but parents and staff have been very generous.

“The response from some of the pupils has been absolutely brilliant. One pupil brought a huge boxful of items.

“We have collected the items over the past three weeks and will be making two deliveries to the foodbank on Wednesday and on Monday.

“We are a community school and we want the students to remember that we are part of the community and to give something back.”

Aidan Blowers, the school’s new interim principal, said: “The response from pupils, parents and staff has been phenomenal. They have donated literally hundreds of items.

“We managed to get Asda to give us four shopping trolleys on loan, and they have nearly filled them twice over.

“We wanted to show that the school can support the local community in the build up to Christmas. It’s a great time for many but a really difficult time for some.

“I’m really proud of the support from the students, staff and community in doing something so powerful for the town.”

The items collected include dry and tinned groceries, cereals, toiletries, chocolate and drinks.

The school is having an internal competition between its four houses, Omega, Polaris, Sirius and Castor, to see which one can collect the most.

Miss Hyne intends to hand out house points and certificates to each one, as well as prizes for individual tutor groups.

Lewis Henley-Francis, 12, the leader of Castor House, who helped Miss Hyne to organise and promote the collections, said: “I’m really pleased with the amount we have collected.”