If I told you that 1 in 5 kids in Australia go to school hungry, would you believe it? When the good people at Weet-Bix approached me to help put my voice to the national food crisis we have in this country, I honestly didn’t know much about it, I actually didn’t even know it was happening! I know from the work we do in The Sebastian Foundation, the need within some family units is huge, but I was blown away to learn more about what food insecurity was, the organisations that are doing something to help and how we can make a change within our own communities.
What I now understand is that crisis can hit any family at any time. It’s not necessarily just affecting the people living on the street, it’s affecting the people living in our street. It could be our own friends, family and neighbours. Imagine you are driving your kids to school and your car breaks down, you then get the quote that it will cost you $5,000 to fix it, you most certainly have not budgeted for this huge chunk of money to be taken from your account, but you need the car. So, you are now stuck with an impossible choice, what other needs in the family do I have to sacrifice in order to fix the car? Is it kids sport, a birthday party or sometimes, and in a lot of cases, is it food? There just isn’t enough to go around that week or month. This is, of course, just one example of how food insecurity can affect a family, but there are many more heartbreaking situations I have come to see and learn about that are causing kids to go to school hungry.
Watch my experience of visitng the breakfast club program and learning more below.
I know that in my own family, the privilege of feeding my kids breakfast in the morning is one I had taken for granted. My two boys get the best start to their day by getting a nutritious breakfast and they can go about their day with a full belly. I know from experience that a hungry kid is not a joke. They get irritated, find it hard to concentrate and don’t have much energy. Imagine being sent to school without any food in your belly and in some cases, not even food in your lunch box.
This is where the Sanitarium Good Start Breakfast Club program comes into significant play for these kids. Sanitarium supports more than 2000 breakfast clubs around Australia, with 15 million bowls of Weet-Bix having been served since 2001. That’s a lot of Weet-Bix! I was able to see a breakfast club in action when I went to visit a school that holds them every morning. It is run by volunteers and teachers from the school, who come into the space and set up a warm comfortable social setting where kids can come and hang out and are served a healthy breakfast. There is no judgment or stigma attached to any child coming and sharing a meal. That is what struck me the most. It is a club where all are welcome, no matter the situation.
Without organisations like Foodbank, Kickstart for Kids and the Australian Red Cross being so dedicated to helping thousands across this country, kids will continue to go to school hungry.
Food insecurity is happening all around us to families we know. So, what can we do? I asked the same question. Firstly, let’s break down the stigma that might be attached to needing a helping hand through a tough time. And secondly, let’s bring more awareness to how big this issue is – and how fast it is growing, here in this lucky country of ours because that’s when more help will start to arrive. And the one way we can do that, is to talk about this issue – share these stories.
Our kids are so precious and the last thing they should be thinking about is being hungry. Let’s spread the word that this is happening right here in our country and support the good work that these organisations are doing so that no child goes to school hungry.
#weetbix #sanitarium #foodbank #kickstartforkids #goodstartbreakfastclub #nomorerumblingtummies #foodinsecurity
* This post is a collaboration with Sanitarium Good Start Breakfast Club