16 Jun Free breakfasts in hundreds of NSW public schools to fight …
Each morning students from Campbellfield, in south-west Sydney, take it in turns to serve as many as 120 of their classmates who get to school early so they can eat breakfast.
The student leaders help run the breakfast club, with almost half the school population each day eating breakfast at school before the day starts, along with their parents and teachers.
Campbellfield principal Nicole Wade said the program had “changed many families’ lives”.
“It has had amazing benefits that we didn’t set out to have and it is much more that just cereal and toast for children,” Ms Wade said.
“It has brought our school community together and it has really taught students the value of teamwork, empathy and collaboration as well as nutitrion and cooking skills.”
She said it had also improved children’s ability to concentrate.
“Children are coming into their classrooms smiling and happy to learn,” Ms Wade said.
The school’s P&C president Sam Hyratt said the program had been running for 18 months and each day serves between 80 to 120 breakfasts, ranging from toast to banana pancakes and quiches.
Ms Hyratt said the school also prepares fresh food hampers each Friday, which families can buy for $5. Each week about 40 families take advantage of the hampers, she said.
“It has been something that the community really loves and really wants,” Ms Hyratt said.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who will announce $8 million in funding for the program in the budget, said the program would help “fight food poverty” in NSW.
“This initiative will help take the pressure off parents and carers who are struggling to put food on the table for their children and will provide relief to the communities who need it most,” he said.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the joint initiative with Foodbank would give children a better chance to succeed in the classroom.
“Research shows that a nutritious breakfast will have a positive impact on a child’s mental and physical health, will enhance engagement and productivity in the classroom, improves cognitive functions and educational outcomes and helps to develop social and leadership skills,” she said.
Foodbank is the largest food relief organisation in the country and provides more than 70 per cent of the food rescued for other food relief organisations nation-wide.
The school breakfast program will use rescued food, such as fresh produce like fruit and vegetables and bread, as well as some purchased food.
Alexandra Smith is the State Political Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.