As a species, we humans work in a similar fashion to cars. We can work for several hours together; do multiple things at the same time and in order to carry on like this smoothly, we need a large amount of energy to keep us going every day. Forget physical strains, but mental aspects also add to this workload and merely thinking requires some sort of energy. Food fuels this energy for us. Experts say that we should not let our body starve for more than three or four hours each day, thus we have mealtimes: breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and a supper if needed. This is how we have been trained to live. However, not everyone is so fortunate.

Imagine waking up to an empty stomach, having to concentrate on your studies while your stomach creates a symphony of rumbles, skipping mealtimes and going to bed knowing that you have to spend another day tomorrow without even a small morsel of food. This is the story of around 721 children in Harrow. And mind you, this figure includes just children and only in Harrow. It is deeply saddening to know that children my age, in my locality are suffering each day thinking about when their next meal would be, while others pester their parents to take them out to a Nando’s or Pizza Express. Food is a necessity and unfortunately necessity doesn’t discriminate in terms of wealth or power. Are people earning so less, that it does not cover basic necessities? We talk about climate change, Brexit, the December election but real problems that are happening right in front of us, clear to even the naked eye, we choose to ignore. Homelessness, poverty, and malnutrition: these are the true issues of society today because they involve needs and not desires. Adverts made to promote a charity literally beg viewers to spare a small two pounds every month towards feeding some children in Africa or Asia. When we can spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds taking our children out to the finest restaurants, why not two pounds to these kids that actually need it? People cringe when they see these adverts in between their EastEnders or Corrie, they close their eyes and in some extreme cases switch the TV off. Well, we should cringe, cringe knowing that this is the state of some people that share a home with us. The Earth definitely has enough for all people, but still some are not “entitled” to it. Those kids on that advert do not want to be on TV to show their poor state, they would want to be on TV to celebrate their success, they would want to have a brighter future too, and certainly not a hungry one! The true greatness about nature is that all animal species never let their own die, even if it means that they have to sacrifice something. We are a collective species, why are we thinking twice before we help someone? Why are we glued so much to what we have and dismiss all the things that someone less fortunate needs?

Nower Hill High School, my school, understands this issue. We have been taught about it too much for us to ignore it. We as an institution do as much as we can to help our wider community. Every half term, the student leaders organise an event to raise funds and this is what brings our whole school together as a large student body, we are not confined to our own school walls, in fact we can see through them. We know that a Mufti day comes as a privilege to us, so every half term we carry one pound along and drop it into a small envelope. You don’t have a pound, you don’t wear mufti - simple concept that runs through our school as a tradition. Students write letters to our leadership body for the most deserving charity and all the money collected goes to that charity. To give you a rough idea about how much we collect: there are around 1900 students in our school. Let me spare you the maths – that is about £11,400 to charity every academic year.

On top of that, the school conducts a Harvest Collection Event, an event that just passed around two weeks ago. This event encourages every student to bring in at least one tin of food that keeps, and this is treated as an Interhouse competition encouraging a lot more students to participate. It is not confined to just students, but teachers and all fraternity are welcome to participate as well. Last week, it was announced that the school had collected the highest amount of food items ever in the school’s history. Mr. George Nagle, a member of staff credited for all such events, couldn’t be happier. “I am very proud of this school community. Both students and staff can work together and do some tremendous work for charity.” This year the food collected went to Milman’s Day Care Centre in Pinner which is a council run centre caring and supporting the elderly with no access to necessities. “The impact was immense. Both parties are affected in a positive way. The elderly really do appreciate the gesture that a young person, unknown to them has taken the trouble of donating the gift that is food. At NHHS we know that the kindest of people tend to be the strongest. Kindness and giving is an important facet in the development of young adults and I hope the charitable activity they show at school remains with them throughout their adult life.” He remains one of the most inspiring people at school and hopes to “continue with the tradition of the Harvest Festival to keep helping the local community.”

“We make a living by what we get, we make life by what we give”, said Winston Churchill. Christmas and New Year arrives at a convenient time for everybody, the end of a stressful mock GCSE exam and also a chance to turn over a new leaf. Christmas is a time to give, so why not give a little more this year? We always complain about the Brussel sprouts on the Christmas feast, but imagine not having a feast at all! Help someone taste a Brussel sprout, I am sure they will like it, not because of its taste but because some kind soul like you has chosen to give.

Here come the excuses “I am not Christian, I don’t celebrate Christmas – so I won’t give” – but remember necessity doesn’t discriminate in terms of wealth, power or religion at all, and I am sure that all religions encourage giving and if you don’t have a religion - one does not need a specific religion to do the right thing, your conscience is there to tell you that. However, Christmas is not the only time to give. Give food, clothes, shelter all year – make that your New Year’s Resolution, instead of “I am going to stop eating five BigMacs a day; I’ll make that just four!” So before throwing away some food that you didn’t like, think twice and imagine those who do not have the choice of whether they like to starve or not, I am sure you will make the right call. I know that I have.


by Rathi Ramakrishnan, Nower Hill High School