Every single student at some small schools in remote Australian communities needs their school to provide them with food so they have enough to eat.
On average across Australia, there has been a 40 per cent increase in students coming to school without breakfast and lunch in the past 12 months, according to the Feed Appeal, which raises money to help charities feed more people in need.
In some schools, teachers are buying food for students with their own money.
Feed Appeal chief executive Katherine Gokavi-Whaley said about 70 per cent of those currently seeking food relief were doing so for the first time because they were experiencing economic hardship* because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 has seen an increasing number of people seeking help to feed their families for the first time,” she said.
Ms Gokavi-Whaley said many Australians were surprised to learn that one in eight students across the nation go to school without breakfast and/or lunch.
“Unfortunately, the average number impacted in rural and regional communities is one in four students,” she said. “In some of the really remote communities, we’ve even had a handful of schools that said, ‘Look, we’re basically feeding everybody’, because none of the students is coming to school with meals.
“For some students, the meals they are getting at school are probably the only guaranteed meal that they have.”
Teachers report that those who don’t have enough to eat have greater difficulty concentrating, learning and managing their behaviour, feel stressed, upset and socially isolated and often appear unwell.
KIDS HELPING KIDS
To help students in rural and remote communities have enough to eat, the Feed Appeal is launching the One=One campaign so Australia’s school communities can be part of the solution.
One=One means $1 will provide one meal to feed a hungry student in a regional or rural school.
Schools can register to host a One=One day between August 17 and September 11. On a One=One day, kids can bring a gold coin donation and every $1 raised equals one breakfast or lunch for a rural pupil in the state in which the donation is made.
Feed Appeal is calling on Australian schools to host a One=One fundraising day with a total fundraising goal of $100,000.
Schools can register at www.feedappeal.org.au/oneequalsone
HOW IT HELPS
Janeine Stibbe is a PE teacher and wellbeing leader at Caloundra State High School on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where one in four of the almost 1300 students are coming to school without breakfast or lunch.
She said staff recognised how important it was for the students to have enough to eat.
“They know they are going to get more out of their kids in class,” Ms Stibbe said.
The school provides breakfast for any student who wants it on Fridays and she said making it available for everyone removed any potential awkwardness for those who really needed the food.
Students also know that several support staff at the school, such as the nurse and the chaplain, have used their own money to create a supply of food such as muesli bars or cheese toasties for those who need lunch.
“If they feel uncomfortable, they can access food from people who don’t ask them why or how,” Ms Stibbe said.
The school has applied for a Feed Appeal grant to help buy food.
The Feed Appeal has received almost 100 Rural Schools Grants applications in 2020.
If the One=One campaign were able to fund all of these, it would equal more than 150,000 meals being provided in these schools in the coming year.
While Caloundra State High School hopes to benefit from a grant, the students are also doing their best to raise money for the Feed Appeal.
The middle school student council is running a One=One free-dress day at the end of term with a goal of raising $250.
“They want to do it because they’re supporting kids their own age who are doing it tough — that’s what really hit home,” Ms Stibbe said.
Thirty Victorian schools have applied for a Rural Schools Grant. With remote learning during COVID-19-related restrictions preventing on-site gold coin collections at schools, Victorian students and families are encouraged to make a donation directly to the One=One campaign at www.feedappeal.org.au/oneequalsone
One = One campaign to support Feed Appeal
- economic hardship: not enough money; inability to pay for the basic things you need to live
- List some of the challenges students who aren’t eating enough are experiencing at school.
- What does the name One=One mean?
- How many grant applications has the Feed Appeal received from rural schools this year?
- What is the middle school student council doing to raise money?
- What can kids at Victorian schools do to help while they’re learning at home?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. Draw a flow chart
Providing food for students who would otherwise go hungry has many flow-on positive effects.
Draw a flow chart to show the positive effects that it could have on both students, and their families. Think of positive effects that happen immediately and those that may occur later (even years later).
Providing food – means students are not hungry – they will be healthier – they will feel happier about being at school – they will manage their emotions better, etc
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking, Health and Physical Education
Join the campaign.
How do you feel when you are hungry? Can you concentrate on tasks? Are you angrier or do you get upset more easily? It would not be nice to feel like this all the time. According to the article, many students around the country go to school hungry every day and that affects their learning. The One=One campaign is aimed at raising money so that schools can apply for grants to help provide food for students so they can concentrate on learning and reach their full potential.
Write a letter to your school leaders requesting permission to support this campaign. Ensure that you highlight why this campaign is a worthy cause and how it will help students.
With your letter include a proposal of how you would go about raising the money.
It should include:
- how you will raise the money
- what event will you hold?
- when you will hold the event?
- how you will advertise
- how much money you hope to raise?
- who you will donate the money to
Time: allow 45 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding, Mathematics, Health and Physical Education
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Share your ideas for a One=One day.
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.