A BIG-HEARTED Port Glasgow teacher is aiming to highlight the true meaning of Christmas - by asking for donations to the foodbank instead of gifts.

Newark Primary teacher Kate McLaughlan issued a letter to parents asking if instead of presents they could give something to the charity after being overwhelmed by the number of presents she received at the end of 2017.

She said: “Last year I was amazed by the amount of presents I received from the class.

“I actually got really emotional because they had all put thought into them. They knew I liked owls and one of the pupils got me an owl necklace and an owl scarf.

“I am so appreciative of the gifts but I know that this is an expensive time of year for others, so wanted to help."

Mrs McLaughlan decided she would send home a blank envelope, which parents can place a donation in if they wish.

The children will return the envelopes, the money will be counted and together the class will make a shopping list for the foodbank.

Mrs McLaughlan said: “I know the foodbank struggle at this time of year. It is part of the local community and people rely on it from time to time.

“Keeping the envelopes anonymous is important to me and the whole class will be involved in the shopping list regardless of whether they donated, there is no obligation."

Mrs McLaughlan says pupils have got on board, adding: “I sat down and chatted to the pupils about the idea and explained that Christmas is a time for giving and that it would be nice to do something for someone else.

“There are some parents that don't have two pennies to rub together and they feel pressure to buy presents for teachers. I hope this idea will help ease that while helping a local cause.”

Linsey Milloy, who’s daughter Sofia is in the class, shared the letter online after being touched by the teacher's generosity.

She said: “I thought it was a great idea and was a perfect way to help the foodbank.

“Making it anonymous is just another huge positive for me. The fact that it says only a £1 or £2 is required relieves the pressure. I expect some families will put in more, but only because they want to, there is no pressure.

“Involving the children in choosing the items is perfect, as it gives them a real sense of being part of it - it’s their gift to the community.

“I think it is a perfect example to set to our children, I am really proud that my daughter will be part of this."

Mrs McLaughlan says if the idea is a hit she may do it again next year, adding: “I would like to see it catch on. We have over 400 children at the school so it could really make a significant difference. However, I am not expecting anyone else to do it, it is a personal choice.

“If it works and it helps the foodbank, it is something I’d continue."