For 21 years, our School Breakfast Program has been filling hungry tummies, giving West Aussie kids the energy to work, learn and thrive.
Beginning in response to a call for help from Cloverdale Primary School, the program grew quickly. Today, we reach 21,000 students in 475 schools as far as Esperance in the South, Kalumbaru in the North and the Tanami Desert in the East. The schools and the breakfast clubs are as different as apples and cheese, with each school adapting the format to suit their kids and location.
Deliveries travel nearly 4500 kms over land and sea, to reach Kalumbaru remote community school. Road access is difficult in the dry season and treacherous at best during monsoon, so each term, bulk breakfast packs are trucked from Perth, across the border to Darwin, before crossing the Timor sea by barge.
Kalumbaru Remote Community School Deputy Principal Hannah Beatty said the connection with Foodbank WA has helped the school immensely.
“Having breakfast at school lifts attendance and helps families. Healthy bodies and healthy minds are the key to a good education.”
Providing little learners with the most important meal of the day has been shown to improve attendance, concentration, behaviour and class engagement. It also gives them a safe space to chat and improve social skills.
“Being a very remote school, we appreciate Foodbank’s WA’s efforts in transporting the food bank supplies to us every term,” said Hannah.
“They’re not used to sitting down at a table with people eating and talking together. I try to talk to them and put some positive conversation into their lives. If they talk about movies they’ve seen, I talk into that space.”
Maureen is always looking for ways to make breakfast special.
“Sometimes I go buy something they don’t usually get, like blueberries or strawberries and I make pancakes for them.”
“I’m from South Africa, so I make South African porridge and they love it,”. “We call it mieliepap. We mix cornmeal with water, a little bit of salt, some sugar, butter and milk and we heat it up in the microwave.”
Foodbank WA CEO Kate O’Hara said the School Breakfast Program was a great success story, but still had a lot of growing to do to keep up with need in the community.
“People are often surprised to hear the size and scale of our School Breakfast Program. What’s really surprising, is that in a state as rich as Western Australia, so many children still go to school without breakfast on a daily basis.”
There are so many wins from this program, on top of all the measurable benefits to health and learning, teachers report a lift in happiness levels after breakfast club. I’d love to see us spread those smiles even further in coming years