Nutritional start for St Georges Rd Primary students

May 02, 2017

FRONT: Rebekah Thomson (Front), canteen manager Berni Simkin, Tyrone Moran, Blake Gawne, Kurtis Lackmann, Jireh SitaBACK: chaplain John Stewart, Jordan Spencer and assistant principal Luke Simpson - St Georges Road Primary

Year 2 student Rochelle Murnane.

Year 6 student Blake Gawne.

Hassan Alhilfi, Ikwa Baksh and Junior Falaniko.

Students at St Georges Rd Primary School dug into a nutritious breakfast of baked beans, just 2km from the SPC factory where they were made, as well as toast donated by Woolworths.

Add a hot cup of Milo to the menu, and the Prep to Year 6 students were kept warm in the frosty weather last week.

The morning ritual was part of the School Breakfast Clubs Program, launched by the Victorian Government last year and implemented by Foodbank Victoria, providing a free breakfast for up to 25000 children from 500 schools across the state.

Run weekly at St Georges Rd Primary, assistant principal Luke Simpson said the school got on board with the program last year.

‘‘We want to fuel their bodies and brains to assist with productive learning in class,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s about providing those nutritious foods ... the program runs from Prep to Grade 6 so it covers the whole school.’’

It’s all hands on deck most Wednesday mornings, with Year 6 students pitching in, helping to cook the breakfast and set up the morning.

‘‘It’s an opportunity to develop leadership capacity in the Grade 6s,’’ Mr Simpson said.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino, who toured SPC last week, said the $13.7million program helped ensure children were ready to learn, with one in seven students arriving at school with an empty stomach.

Most of the products served up for breakfast come from Victorian businesses like SPC, with the company donating baked beans, fruit cups and canned fruit to feed students each week.

Feeding Students

Breakfast sourced from the Goulburn Valley and served to the state’s schools is benefiting more than just Australian children.

On a visit to SPC last Wednesday, Victorian Education Minister James Merlino spoke of the value of the School Breakfast Clubs Program and the impact it had on the region’s economy.

Introduced in 2016, the program was a way to address underlying poverty in schools and concentration rates, which have since increased.

Implemented by Foodbank Victoria, the $13.7million program provides breakfast to 25000 students at 500 primary schools across the state.

The bulk of the food products served up every day of the school year come from Victorian businesses like SPC, with the company supplying canned fruit, baked beans and fruit cups to the menu.

The company’s signature canned fruit has been a staple of the Breakfast in Schools program and, in 2017, SPC’s baked beans and fruit cups were added to the menu.

Mr Merlino said more than 2500 jobs relied on the factory keeping its doors open and the Breakfast in Schools program would continue to source its food from SPC for years to come.

‘‘The visit to the SPC factory was another reminder of how valuable our Breakfast in Schools program is,’’ Mr Merlino said.

‘‘Not only are we making sure Victorian kids don’t head to classroom with an empty stomach, we are supporting local jobs in the region.’’

—Rhiannon Tuffield


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