26 September 2023

Breakfast clubs satisfying hungry students

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Hundreds of thousands of students have started their school days with full stomachs and clearer minds thanks to a Department of Education and Training (DET) program which reached a major milestone this month.

Celebrating the success of DET’s School Breakfast Club Program, Minister for Education, James Merlino said the program had served 20 million meals since it launched in 2016.

Mr Merlino said the Program, delivered in partnership with Foodbank Victoria, provided free, healthy food for students at 1,000 Government primary, secondary and specialist schools.

“Feedback from schools has shown the Program has had benefits beyond making students happier and healthier – it has led to greater social outcomes for students and the school community, improved student engagement and concentration, strengthened staff-student relationships, enhanced social skills and better academic performance,” he said.

“Since being established, the Program has not only delivered more than 20 million nutritious meals, but has continued supporting students with access to healthy food despite periods of remote learning during the pandemic.

“Smaller Breakfast Clubs were run at school for students who were permitted to learn onsite, as well as ‘grab and go’ meal options for students to take home, food provided for families to collect from school sites to keep kids fed at home, and supplies even delivered to the homes of vulnerable students.”

Mr Merlino said the Program also provided nutritious lunches and holiday food supplies to students in need, and delivered cooking classes for families from about 100 schools across the State.

The Minister said nearly 40,000 School Holiday Supply packs had been distributed since the Program began, with the 14-day food packs expanded last year to include lunch items, in addition to healthy breakfasts and snacks.

“Kids just can’t learn well on an empty stomach – and this Program has made such a difference in the lives of many thousands of students who need a bit of extra support to have a nutritious, delicious meal every morning,” Mr Merlino said.

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