The free program has been providing a healthy, nutritious breakfast to primary school students across Victoria since 2016.
Three blue whales weigh in at 569,000 kilograms: that's how much food was distributed in 2017 to 500 Victorian government schools as part of the free School Breakfast Clubs program.
Delivered in partnership with Foodbank Victoria, the program recently celebrated serving its five millionth healthy breakfast to Victorian primary school students with an event at Morwell Park Primary School.
'We see our breakfast club as a great opportunity for children to come to school, fill their bellies ahead of a day of learning, and be greeted in a warm, receptive environment.'
'It's a happy place,' says Principal, Chris Joustra.
The School Breakfast Clubs program
One in seven children arrive at school hungry each day. Children who are hungry find it harder to concentrate in the classroom; it affects their behaviour and ability to learn.
Since 2016, the School Breakfast Clubs program has been addressing this problem by providing 50,000 free meals each week at metro, regional and remote schools across Victoria, ensuring students start their school day with a full stomach and ready to learn.
The nutritious options on offer include fresh, tinned and cups of fruit, cereal, instant oats, bread, and baked beans. In Term 3 2018, honey and Vegemite are set to be added to the School Breakfast Club menu.
Morwell Park Primary School recently served its 86,000th breakfast to students after starting its own breakfast program in 2003. It operates every school day and is attended by an average of 50 students per day. Education support staff volunteer their time to run the breakfast club with support from teachers.
'Everyone is very supportive of the program – students, teachers and our wider school community. And it couldn't run without our staff volunteering their time,' Chris says.
The program's successes
Research commissioned by Foodbank found that:
- 81 per cent of teachers have seen improved student concentration in the classroom
- 76 per cent of teachers report improvements in social relationships between staff and students
- 98 per cent of schools use their breakfast clubs for informal learning opportunities
- 88 per cent of schools felt they are meeting the breakfast needs of their students.
These findings certainly ring true for Morwell Park Primary School. Chris says the school's breakfast club is more than just a good opportunity for students to fill their bellies before a day of learning.
'It's more than just the breakfast they get: it's the social-emotional engagement of being in a welcoming environment as soon as they start their school day,' Chris says.
'And it makes sense that if your belly's full, you're more than likely going to be better set up to learn than if you're hungry.'
For more information on the program and a list of schools involved, see: School Breakfast Clubs
For volunteering opportunities, see: School Breakfast Clubs – Volunteering