Hungry Queensland children fall through the cracks
As Queensland lockdowns cause an increase in demand for food relief, the state’s largest hunger relief charity, Foodbank Queensland, launches the Foodbank Hunger Drive raising vital funds to help hungry families falling through the cracks.
Foodbank Queensland CEO Sara Harrup said 22% of Queenslanders experiencing hunger were children, with many children going to school without breakfast or lunch.
“With the impacts of COVID-19 placing extreme pressures on families, many parents are facing the scary reality of not being able to feed their kids.”
“Our School Breakfast Program is vital for children facing hunger, but sadly, 79 Queensland schools are currently on Foodbank’s growing waitlist for nutritious breakfast foods to help give hungry kids the energy they need to learn and thrive,” Ms Harrup said.
After waiting for more than 6 months, Burketown State School, a primary school located in an isolated far North West Queensland town, recently began a Foodbank school breakfast program to help combat the challenge of school attendance.
Chris Ford, Burketown State School Principal, said with the help of Foodbank, they can now provide a healthy breakfast five days a week for up to 40 students, nearly the whole school, to give children the best start to their school day.
“Many students wouldn’t come to school because they had nothing to eat for breakfast and had no lunch to bring to school.”
“We recently received our first delivery from Foodbank, and it has made such a difference in reducing the barriers children face when coming to school,” Mr Ford said.
The Foodbank Hunger Drive is calling on schools, individuals and organisations to join the fight against hunger by creating a Hunger Drive fundraiser or donating food hampers virtually.
Charlee Oddo, a Grade 5 student at Queen of Apostles Primary School who features in the Hunger Drive promo video said she was helping to organise a superhero free dress day at her school and encouraging her classmates to dress up as ‘Hunger Fighters’ to raise vital funds.
“This September, my school has signed up to fight hunger to help Foodbank supply half a million meals to Queenslanders in need. Every one dollar we raise for the Foodbank Hunger Drive will create two nutritious meals for families going hungry,” she said.
Kym Waters, Assistant Principal Religious Education at Queen of Apostles said the school was proud to be supporting the Foodbank Hunger Drive and creating opportunities for students to be involved in social justice issues to make a difference to the lives of others.
“Our superhero dress up day is part of a larger focus to not only fundraise but educate our school community and their families about food insecurity, which has increased since the pandemic.”
“It also teaches the students about ways in which we can work together to sustainably address this issue through reducing food waste and supporting the front-line charities that work with our vulnerable Australians,” she said.
Ms Harrup said the charity was currently distributing more than 115,000 kilograms of food every three days, and this was still not enough to keep up with the growing demand for emergency food relief across the state.
“Food is rushing out the door faster than ever before, and we are struggling to keep up,” Ms Harrup said.
High profile ‘Hunger Fighters’ supporting the campaign include Brisbane Broncos’ Scott Prince and 7News Reporter Kendall Gilding.
Kendall Gilding said as a proud Ambassador of Foodbank she was holding a Hunger Drive fundraiser at work this September to fight hunger.
“People often don’t realise how close to home hunger is across our state – sadly, one in five Queenslanders are dealing with the anguish and despair of not knowing where their next meal will come from,” she said.
“Together, we can help our friends, neighbours and colleagues who are struggling to make ends meet during these stressful and unpredictable times,” Kendall said.
Scott Prince said tackling hunger here in Queensland was a massive team effort.
“I am proud to be supporting the Hunger Drive and helping Foodbank raise vital funds to source and deliver more food across our state to Queenslanders in crisis.”
“Whether you make a one-off donation or create a Hunger Drive fundraiser, you can make a big difference to the lives of vulnerable Queenslanders,” he said.
Supporting the Hunger Drive campaign is Foodbank’s partner Sunny Queen Australia who is matching all donations made to the Hunger Drive in September to help twice as many people in need.
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