Thousands of students around Bognor Regis have collected a record amount of food for hungry families.
Pupils of The Regis School and 10 other schools, including Felpham Community College, collected 3,271kg of provisions in the annual food drive.
It was the first time for five years the school in Westloats Lane had joined with others for the annual event – and easily beat the previous total of 2,800kg.
The food was collected by UKHarvest and has already been distributed to some of the 6,000 people a week it helps to feed.
UKHarvest logistics officer Lizzie Waine said: “This is definitely the most we have collected from a school. It’s extraordinary.
“There are severe problems of deprivation across all of Sussex and Hampshire. We are not talking about people below the poverty line but people struggling to maintain their dignity and put food in front of their children.”
Chichester-based UKHarvest works with 109 charities, with another 46 on its waiting list, to ensure those unable to afford to eat receive a balanced diet to help their physical and mental health.
The huge number of donations included bags of pasta, tins of fruit, vegetables and soup, tubs of jelly and jars of pasta sauce.
Assistant principal Caroline Saunders said: “The amount of donated food is absolutely incredible. A massive thank you to all those who have worked in their schools to achieve it.”
The Regis School’s rights respecting ambassadors were involved in the collation of the donated food ready for it to be collected by UKHarvest last Friday.
One of them, Jessica Patterson, 14, said: “Poverty is an issue in our community and we wanted to help tackle it as best we could. It feels good to know this food is going to help someone.”
Other ambassadors who took part in the community initiative included George Sinclair, Edward Clark and Alexander Lawrence, all aged 12.
George said: “It’s good that the whole community has come together to do something for a worthwhile cause.”
Edward, said: “All the students have brought in at least one item of food. Some have brought in up to 20 or 50 items.”
Alexander added: “There are some people in our area who are in need and it feels good to help them.
“We feel we are making a difference to people’s lives.”