A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy is cleaning up streets to help a foodbank that has seen a 40 per cent rise in usage since the Covid pandemic began.

Darlington boy George Hodgson is raising money for King's Church Foodbank through sponsored litter picks in a bid to make sure "every family has a turkey this Christmas".

The Harrowgate Hill Primary School pupil was upset by the amount of litter he sees on his way to school and, after learning about foodbanks, decided to tackle both problems by raising money.

George, who is concerned about the environment, hoped to raise £100 but "would be happy with £60" – he has raised over £400 in just one week.

Mum Joanna Hodgson said: "George is such a lovely, astute boy. He's quite the activist and eco-aware.

"He must have heard foodbank somewhere and then asked me what it was. He was silent when I told him. He could not believe that people relieve on food donations to eat. The concept did not enter his head."

The family, who are blown away by the generosity of strangers, are now hoping to raise £1,000.

The Northern Echo:

Poppy, 17, who is proud of her younger brother, is getting ready to join the RAF and currently at Darlington's Military Preparation College.

A friend asked her to pick any number between one and 100, with no explanation. Poppy picked 72, and £72 was then donated to George's Just Giving page.

Students at the Military Preparation College as well as Harrowgate Hill councillor Jon Clarke have said they will join George on a litter pick, which are happening weekly in the Harrowgate Hill area.

Since Covid-19, King's Foodbank has seen a 40 per cent increase in use, supporting approximately 410 young people and families with children at King’s alone.

King’s Foodbank also supports other foodbanks in the local area to help meet the needs of the current climate.

The Northern Echo:

Mrs Hodgson added: "This made George even more determined. He really wants people to donate food to King's, even if you are not local to it, King's supplies food to other foodbanks so you're helping the whole town.

"We're also encouraging people to stop dropping littler. Even as a nine-year-old, George comes home with pockets stuffed with litter because he knows not to drop it... if everyone just took pride in outside their home."

Councillor Jon Clarke, Darlington Council’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services is joining George on Saturday.

He said:“I am delighted to get involved with George’s efforts to raise money for this very worthy local cause.

"Thanks to him, the King's Food Bank will have extra resources to carry out its essential work and, as a double bonus, there will be less litter on our streets. George has really put some thought and effort into this and I urge everyone to play their part and help him smash his target.”

Anyone wishing to donate should go online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/j-hodgson-1