Those forced to choose between food and or heating bills will benefit after a Walthamstow school donated more than 2,000 items to charity.

Walthamstow School for Girls organised the festive drive in aid of Eat or Heat, a charity dedicated to feeding people on low incomes.

Year 10 charity representatives and volunteers held the donation and delivery on December 15, and the school says the food collected will “go directly to families in need this holiday season”.

“I am so proud of everyone in our school community and the generosity they have shown, illustrating our ethos of empathy and kindness,” said head teacher Helen Marriott. “These gifts will really help local families over the festive period.”

Ms R Schaber, the associate assistant head teacher, said: “Staff and students have both gone above and beyond this year in showing their generosity for their local community.”

Eat or Heat says the pandemic has led to a huge rise in referrals. Between March and August 2020, nearly 200 referrals were due to Covid-19. In addition to this, nearly 150 referrals were due to unemployment, a three-fold increase from the same period in 2019.

The total number of referrals rose from 891 to 1810 between 2019 and 2020.