Healthy ap­petites

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - So­phie Moore

BELMONT City Col­lege has served up more meals than ever be­fore in 2016 through the Food­bank School Break­fast Pro­gram.

BELMONT City Col­lege Chap­lain Adrian Her­bert made about 5000 ham and cheese – and spaghetti – toasties in the first half of the school year.

“I made about 1900 in Term 3 and it’ll be about the same for this one,” he said.

As part of his job as Belmont City’s Food­bank School Break­fast Pro­gram Co-or­di­na­tor it’s his task to feed the 30 to 40 stu­dents who turn up to their four break­fast clubs a week.

“Some don’t have food, some might have missed break­fast for what­ever rea­son and some just might want to fill up with a sec­ond meal,” Mr Her­bet said.

Belmont City was one of the first schools to join the break­fast pro­gram 12 years ago. In 2016 the school served up more meals than ever be­fore.

The Food­bank An­nual Hunger Re­port found one in six Aus­tralians had in­suf­fi­cient ac­cess to af­ford­able and nu­tri­tious food which had left about 644,000 peo­ple seek­ing food re­lief each month.

Its break­fast pro­gram cur­rently ser­vices more than 440 schools and feeds 17,000 kids a week, just in WA. Food­bank said the key rea­sons be­hind food re­quire­ments were low in­come, poverty or a lack of nu­tri­tious food at home.

Mr Her­bert did not think WA’s eco­nomic down­turn had much to do with the prob­lems in Belmont.

“Maybe a tiny bit but across the board not so much; there are still the same stres­sors on family.”

Mr Her­bert said Belmont held the break­fast club in the ac­tiv­i­ties room with a pool ta­ble and games.

“It’s about not mak­ing stu­dents feel stig­ma­tised for not be­ing able to af­ford or eat break­fast.”

It also helped build a re­laxed at­mos­phere for the kids to linger and chat.

“You get to know the kids hav­ing is­sues at home, where they are at, and rec­om­mend dif­fer­ent in­ter­ven­tion pro­grams. It’s all about form­ing re­la­tion­ships.”

As a YouthCARE Chap­lain, Mr Her­bert has been ac­cred­ited to work in schools and look after stu­dents’ so­cial, emo­tional and men­tal well­be­ing.

“I’m not al­lowed to push my own spir­i­tu­al­ity, I’m only al­lowed to of­fer pas­toral care, I’m not a min­is­ter or like a chap­lain at an in­de­pen­dent school,” he said.

Food­bank WA CEO Greg Heb­ble and Adrian Her­bert serve up break­fast to two stu­dents.

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