Break­ing the fast to­gether

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

STU­DENTS at Echuca East Pri­mary School were among 500 schools who marked five million breakfasts served since the Vic­to­rian school break­fast club pro­gram com­menced in 2016.

The pro­gram, de­liv­ered in part­ner­ship with Food­bank Vic­to­ria, helps stu­dents at Echuca East Pri­mary School get a healthy start to their school day.

Each term, Food­bank de­liv­ers the healthy break­fast menu of Vic­to­ri­an­man­u­fac­tured oats, Vita Brits, whole­grain Chee­rios, muesli, UHT milk, baked beans, fresh ap­ples, canned fruit and fruit cups.

The pro­gram serves 50,000 breakfasts ev­ery week and inde- pen­dent re­search showed 81 per cent of schools re­ported im­proved stu­dent con­cen­tra­tion be­cause of the breakfasts.

“We have about 50 stu­dents at­tend break­fast club on Mon­day, Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day each week,” prin­ci­pal Lyn Stra­chan said

“Echuca East Pri­mary School and fam­i­lies place sig­nif­i­cant value on the pro­gram. For a mul­ti­tude of rea­sons, some chil­dren are not eat­ing break­fast at home, or are trav­el­ling dis­tance on the bus and just need a top up.

“It is such a lovely pos­i­tive cafe style en­vi­ron­ment, where all stu­dents have pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tions with the staff who vol­un­teer their time to run the break­fast club.

“If we can sup­port our stu­dents to start the day with good fuel in their stom­achs, that goes a long way to sup­port the best so­cial, emo­tional and aca­demic out­comes for the stu­dents.”

Food­bank Vic­to­ria chief ex­ec­u­tive Dave McNa­mara said the breakfasts were also pro­vid­ing a great in­for­mal learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for stu­dents.

“Stu­dents are de­vel­op­ing lead­er­ship skills. They’re de­vel­op­ing con­fi­dence and ex­pand­ing their so­cial skills by in­ter­act­ing with vol­un­teers, who are pos­i­tive role mod­els, as well as older and younger stu­dents. They’re learn­ing valu­able life skills,” he said.

Echuca East Pri­mary School stu­dents Jade McDonald, Noah Parkin­son, Tasz­man Gard­ner, Max Pot­ter, Azarlia Reade and Paige Hall.

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