Staff at President High School in Goodwood are calling on the public to support their food and stationery drive for next year.
Deputy principal Annari Stander says the school started the stationery drive after Covid when many of their pupils’ parents lost their jobs.
“Many of our learners are needy, and we realised that we can’t expect them to sit in class and work when many of them don’t have workbooks or stationery,” she said.
“It started with the staff buying stationery, and then we asked learners to donate their old stationery. However, the number of learners in need of assistance expanded. We have roughly 40 learners who cannot afford anything so we equip them with everything they need.
“A child should be happy at school; they shouldn’t have to worry about where they will get a pencil or if they’ll be scolded for not having a workbook or a pen to write with in class. Also, how does a child study when all their work is in one book? They need a book for every subject. Basically, we are just trying to assist the learners.”
Pupils are also encouraged to donate their used books. Ms Stander said they would remove and bind the unused pages into books and recycle the used pages for extra income.
The need for food donations was even greater than the need for stationery, she said.
“In 2011, we started a food parcel project. Sometimes instead of asking the learners to make a money payment to wear civvies we asked them to bring a non-perishable food item, and that is how we stocked our food cupboard,” Ms Stander said.
Pupils needing stationery or food supplies are identified by the grade heads or through the school’s financial department. Certain pupils also receive food parcels twice a month.
Ms Stander said they would like to provide families with weekly meals but were currently only able to distribute food parcels twice a month.
Principal Erna Joubert the school provided sandwiches to up to 30 pupils daily.
“With the long holidays coming up, I always worry about the families that we cannot provide food to during the holidays,” Ms Stander said. “Previously, we made food boxes and delivered it to the families but at this stage we don’t have enough to provide families with food for the six-week holiday.”
The school received a stationery sponsorship for 30 children for next year as well as sanitary pads for the girls. However, it is still collecting stationery, toiletries and non-perishable food items.
Pupils are also encouraged to donate their old uniforms. During their last exam, matric pupils donated their uniforms, which will be washed, altered or repaired and donated to the clothing bank.
Donations can be dropped at the school.