Belmont City College breakfast club a massive hit this school year


Foodbank WA chief executive Greg Hebble and Belmont City School Chaplain and school breakfast program co-ordinator Adrian Herbert with Belmont City College students.
Foodbank WA chief executive Greg Hebble and Belmont City School Chaplain and school breakfast program co-ordinator Adrian Herbert with Belmont City College students.

BELMONT City College Chaplain Adrian Herbert made about 5000 ham and cheese, and spaghetti toasties in the first half of the school year.

“I made about 1900 in (Term 3) and it’ll be about the same for this one,” he said.

As part of his job as Belmont City’s Foodbank school breakfast program co-ordinator it is his task to feed the 30 to 40 students who turn up to their four breakfast clubs a week.

“Some don’t have food, some might have missed breakfast for whatever reason and some just might want to fill up with a second meal,” Mr Herbet said.

Belmont City was one of the first schools to join the breakfast program 12 years ago.

In 2016, the school served up more meals than ever before.

The Foodbank Annual Hunger Report found one in six Australians had insufficient access to affordable and nutritious food, which had left about 644,000 people seeking food relief each month.

Its breakfast program currently services more than 440 schools and feeds 17,000 kids a week, just in WA.

Foodbank said the key reasons behind food requirements were low incomes, poverty or a lack of nutritious food at home.

Mr Herbert does not think WA’s economic downturn has much to do with the problems in Belmont.

“Maybe a tiny bit but across the board not so much; there are still the same stressors on family,” he said.

Mr Herbert said Belmont held the breakfast club in the activities room with a pool table and games.

“It’s about not making students feel stigmatised for not being able to afford or eat breakfast,” he said.

It also helped build a relaxed atmosphere for the kids to hang around and chat.

“You get to know the kids having issues at home, where they are at, and recommend different intervention programs,” he said.

“It’s all about forming relationships.”

As a YouthCARE Chaplain, Mr Herbert has been accredited to work within schools and look after students’ social, emotional and mental wellbeing.

“I’m not allowed to push my own spirituality, I’m only allowed to offer pastoral care, I’m not a minister or like a Chaplain at an independent school,” he said.

Foodbank operates by collecting edible, surplus fresh or tinned food and groceries from farmers, retailers and manufacturers, which due to damage or expiry dates, would be thrown out.