Brekky is still the best: Foodbank WA School Breakfast Program

Margaret Marriott,  of Warnbro Community High School, Rex Milligan, of Healthy Food For All, and Foodbank school breakfast program co-ordinator Miranda Chester with healthy breakfast ingredients. Picture: Marie Nirme        www.communitypix.com.au   d446279
Margaret Marriott, of Warnbro Community High School, Rex Milligan, of Healthy Food For All, and Foodbank school breakfast program co-ordinator Miranda Chester with healthy breakfast ingredients. Picture: Marie Nirme        www.communitypix.com.au d446279

FOODBANK WA, along with schools from around Perth, celebrated the 15th anniversary of the School Breakfast Program with a special event at Foodbank’s headquarters.

The program started in 2001 when a number of schools approached Foodbank to report that they had a growing number of students attending school not having eaten any breakfast.

“We started with just 17 schools in 2001 and were supporting more than 100 schools within four years,” Foodbank WA chief executive Greg Hebble said.

“People find it hard to believe, but we now have more than 18,000 students a week accessing our breakfast clubs. The reasons for this vary, but some of the key drivers include low income, poverty, remoteness and lack of access to nutritious food at home.”

Belmont Primary School YouthCARE chaplain David Ward has been running a breakfast club at the school for three years.

He feeds between 20 and 30 school children breakfast who may have missed out at home.

“The breakfast club, runs every Monday. Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8am in our undercover area and is open to every student in the school,” he said. “We serve a range of food from fruit, cereal, yoghurt, cheesies, breakfast wraps, toast and pancakes; we try and mix it up each week.

“This year, the breakfast club moved from a classroom to the undercover area to make it more accessible for all students and to take the stigma out of it being for just those who don’t have food at home.”

He said there were many reasons why students came to school hungry.

“Sometimes the family don’t have enough money, or do not have food at home, but for others they are just in a rush in the mornings,” he said.

“We provide a safe environment for children to have breakfast, chat and play before school starts.”