As Silsoe School has grown it has not been possible to accommodate the whole school at one harvest service, so there are now two. A tradition at these services is for the children to bring gifts of food which are presented and laid at the base of the Church’s alter. The school also supports the Bishop of St Albans harvest appeal, through the collection made at the services, which this year was “Give peas a chance”. An initiative aimed at improving the nutrition and wellbeing of families in Malawi through the introduction of the productive pigeon pea; which is drought resistant, enriches the soil and the tops can be used as livestock feed.
The school children’s generosity this year was overwhelming. There was precious little room available at the Church’s alter for more gifts of produce. The question often asked is “what happens to this produce?”. Well prior to the Sunday Church harvest service the produce is sorted, taking about 6 man-hours this year, as arrangements have been made to make gifts of foods to local charities. Hence all the soup goes to the NOAH soup kitchen for the Luton homeless; tea, coffee and biscuits goes to the Tibbs Dementia day care centre at Flitwick; then a selection of the remaining produce goes to St John’s Hospice, Moggerhanger, Leonard Cheshire Home in Ampthill and Luton Food Bank.
In addition the children’s collection at their two harvest services raised a magnificent £226, which together with the collection for the appeal at the Church’s Sunday service made a grand total of £390. This is enough to buy the new pea varieties for 20 farmers in Malawi as well as the fertilisers and equipment to get their pea crops off to a great start.