In an effort to combat hunger in the classroom, Kepnock State High School has partnered with Australian not-for-profit organisation Eat Up to provide lunches for those in need.
Students have offered a helping hand in the initiative, making upwards of 2000 sandwiches since the program was implemented at the beginning of Term 2 this year.
The sandwiches are accessed by fellow students at Kepnock as well as distributed to students at Bundaberg North State High School and Bundaberg State High School.
Eat Up Australia Founder Lyndon Galea said Kepnock State High School was the first school in the region to be involved in the program after applying for a grant through the Feed Appeal.
“Kepnock State High applied for a grant through the Feed Appeal to support students in need with lunch,” Mr Galea said.
“Eat Up began supporting schools in Bundaberg at the beginning of term two this year after we were elected as the lunch support program.”
While Eat Up provided the ingredients and equipment, Lyndon said that the students were the ones who put in the hard work to make all the sandwiches for their peers.
“The students at Kepnock State High volunteer their time and energy to make sandwiches for the local schools in need,” Mr Galea said.
“It's a great opportunity for the students to help other kids in need, in a very direct and hands-on way.”
Kepnock State High School teacher Benjamin Stranieri is coordinator of the program who works with the year 11 leaders.
“My year 11 leaders really wanted to be a part of the program to improve their community,” Mr Stranieri said.
“The students are really happy with the program so far.”
Through research it has been found that when students are hungry they cannot concentrate, and when they can’t concentrate they cannot learn.
Mr Stranieri said that the program was really important for the students to reach their full academical and nutritional potential.
“We were noticing a lot of kids who just needed that little bit of extra help and we wanted them to have access to something to eat before lessons or during lessons to help with their brain function,” Mr Stranieri said.
“We have noticed increased engagement with the kids who have utilised the program.
“They are coming up and discreetly getting the help that they need and the product they need to fuel their nutrition and improve their engagement in the classroom.”
The program is rolled out extensively across Kepnock State High School, with all students having the opportunity to access a sandwich when needed.
“We are rolling the program out as much as we can, so we have a lot of different distribution points so kids of all different ages and abilities can access it,” Mr Stranieri said.
“From the Home Economics rooms to the Indigenous Block, we also have it in the Breakfast Club and in X Block with our special education program, so it is a very wide roll-out for all our kids.
“We are working with eat up to discuss how we can continue to build the program from here but it is a very positive outlook.”
Kepnock State High School Year 11 student Molly said that the program had opened her eyes.
“The program has taught me that more people than I thought are unable to bring lunch to school and that I take something as simple as a sandwich for granted,” Molly said.
“I would recommend other students get involved in the program as it is a great initiative and we could always use more hands.”
Eat Up started in 2013 with a simple premise that no child should have to go to school hungry.
You can find more information on the not for profit here.
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