Teacher tells class to donate to foodbank instead of buying her gifts

A primary school teacher has asked her pupils not to buy her any Christmas presents this year, but to help her donate to a local foodbank instead.

Kate McLaughlan teaches at Newark Primary School in Port Glasgow. Picture: John Ferguson/Geograph

Kate McLaughlan, from Newark Primary School in Port Glasgow, explained in a letter to parents and carers that the donations to Inverclyde Foodbank will teach the children “the spirit of giving and kindness”.

She will send blank envelopes home with the pupils into which donations can be placed, before the students will gather together on December 17 to count the money and write a shopping list for the foodbank.

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“Please do not feel you have to donate and if you do chooose to, then £1 is plenty,” wrote Mrs McLaughlan.

“This is about teaching the children about the spirit of giving and kindness, not about raising record breaking amounts.”

Parent to seven-year-old pupil Sofia, Linsey Milloy posted the letter to Facebook where it has been shared thousands of times.

“I was really touched by the generosity of Mrs McLaughlan,” the 37-year-old told the Press Association.

“I think this shows everyone the true spirit of Christmas and am proud that my daughter’s class will be part of this.

“Doing all of this gives them great experience in social learning and it’s an excellent example to set to our children.”

Mrs McLaughlan said in the letter she had been overwhelmed by the “kind and thoughtful” gifts given to her by her pupils last year, which included chocolates, jewellery, and bath products.

“I don’t need gifts, it’s not why I do the job.” Mrs McLaughlan told BBC Scotland.

“People struggle at Christmas time. Where does it stop?

“It puts a lot of stress of parents that they don’t need. And that’s not in the spirit of Christmas.”

The i58 Project, who run Inverclyde Foodbank, recently shared a video to social media explaining it had been unable to open due to a shortage of food on its shelves, an issue they explained is now a “weekly occurrence”.

The video called for help with the incoming high demand of winter and Christmas.

“My daughter and the rest of her class are really keen to help with this,” said Mrs Milloy.

“To me if other people followed suit with Mrs McLaughlan this would help greatly.

“Not only does it help those in need of assistance from the food bank, it also take financial pressure of if parents.

“I guess you’ll see it in every schools where some of the presents given to teachers are just taken too far and may make other pupils feel that their gifts are inadequate.

“By gifting a couple of pounds in an anonymous envelope or even handing an empty envelope there is no judgment either way.”