Former actress and school teacher Nada Morgan, still resident in Kew today, recalls introducing the scheme some 45 years ago.
“I started organising the harvest parcels not long after I joined the school to teach Speech and Drama and some RE – (religious education) which I enjoyed and found I was quite good at! For the harvest celebration I would collate the names of people to receive the parcels at their homes and at Abbeyfield Nursing home. All the children would bring in food for their parcels, in the 1970's parcels there was an abundance of fruit given.
They immensely enjoyed visiting the older folk in the village. The elderly people we would visit were always so delighted to receive the parcels, particularly the pretty boxes and the lovely handmade cards. Care over presentation was very important and part of what they would learn from the activity.
There were some memorable incidents over the years, none more so than the party of school children arriving as a funeral cortege pulled up outside the house they were due to visit. Their shock and disappointment was touching.
Delivering the harvest parcels encourages the children to think of others, and find out about a person in a different generation.
During my time at the school I studied in the evening to gain my qualifications and I took over the drama department. I worked at the school for 25 years until I retired and I still join the carol service. During retirement I joined Kew Neighbourhood Association as a volunteer, helping out in the office and with driving. More recently as my mobility has reduced, and my eyesight is no longer good enough to drive myself I now book lifts with the present day volunteers. They help me get to hospital appointments, and my bridge and lunch club at the Avenue Club. It’s clearly a case of what goes around comes around for me, volunteering with KNA, and now using their support and having set up the harvest parcels all those years ago and now having the joy of the children visiting me.
I feel a swell of pride when I see children in the traditional Broomfield uniform, and more so than ever when they are out delivering cheer to neighbours in Kew with the harvest parcels. The partnership with KNA works well, as a small local charity for Kew they are well connected to older people in the local area, and can secure their permission before any information is passed to the school. It is a timely opportunity for the charity to catch up with their clients ahead of the winter months and find out who may want a regular companion to visit, more help with their shopping from a volunteer and to remind people about the driving service they offer.”
Do you have a memory of delivering or receiving a harvest parcel? We would love to hear!
As always if you know of someone who may benefit from our service, or you would like to find out more about volunteering contact us