General News

South Australia food bank asked to provide school lunches to help hungry children as cost of living rises

A South Australian charity that provides schools with breakfast facilities for students has been approached to expand its program to include a special lunch service.

Most important points:

With the pressure on the cost of living, South Australian families are increasingly turning to charities for support.

Aid organization Foodbank South Australia offers a breakfast program to about 500 schools in the state. Along with cereal, bread spreads, and milk, the food aid charity provides fresh fruit for schools to place in classrooms and common areas.

Greg Pattinson, CEO of the South Australia Food Bank, said there were increasing calls from schools using the service to expand the program to include lunches, as the higher cost of living meant parents struggled to get the lunch boxes for their children. Fill children.

“In the past, schools would ask for some extra bread or fruits and vegetables for the kids to eat,” he said.

“This is the first time we’ve seen people say, ‘What can you do?’. What can you offer us for lunch programs?

Mount Gambier North Primary School runs a breakfast club three days a week and has recently started offering lunch for children. (ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

“Demand for our school breakfast programs has increased… and the schools already participating in the existing school program have requested additional amounts of food to start providing lunch to the children who have to go without.”

Demand for breakfast clubs is increasing.

Pastoral Caregiver at Mount Gambier North Primary School Meg Malseed runs the school’s Breakfast Club with food provided by Mount Gambier’s Foodbank.

The club has about 15 to 25 children and is active three days a week.

Ms. Molseed said she has also recently noticed an increased number of children using the service.

“There may be a 10 percent increase,” she said.

“We [also] have a lot of kids who don’t eat lunch, so we also do a lot of sandwiches and things like that for lunch.”

More and more South Australian schoolchildren do not have enough to eat. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

school lunches

Parents struggle with financial insecurity.

Katie* lives on the Limestone Coast, one of the state’s most fertile and agriculturally productive regions.

Despite the abundance of food grown in the region, the working mother of three has struggled to pay for the family’s basic needs for the past 12 months.

“I’m ashamed we haven’t been able to afford a basic grocery store… I’m supposed to skip toast at dinner or meals so that [my children can] have what we have to eat,” she said.

“My son doesn’t always understand why some kids get a full lunch box; theirs is a bit empty sometimes.”

Katie said her financial situation made her feel like she was failing as a parent, and like many people who struggle to make ends meet, she found it difficult to talk about the difficulties she faced taking care of her children.

“I have always believed that it is my responsibility to ensure my children are fed and not to take care of anyone else,” she said.

“But for the past year, I’ve had to swallow my pride and accept help…I know now that I’m not alone in my struggle.”

Manufacturers feel financial pressure.

Across the industry, Australian food and grocery producers have faced financial pressures that are beginning to be passed on to consumers on supermarket shelves.

The CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Tanya Barden, said food producers had previously taken care of the costs, but that was no longer possible.

“The cost of shipping ingredients and finished products to Australia has increased by 500 to 700 percent,” she said.

Food manufacturers have faced increased costs that they can no longer absorb. (Supplied: Anglicare WA)

“There are also high costs to business from COVID security measures, increases in domestic freight costs due to weather conditions, shortages of pallets, and packaging costs.

“Manufacturers no longer have the ability to absorb those higher costs.”

Regional areas hardest hit

Pattinson noted that a disproportionate number of Australians in regional areas needed help from the Food Bank.

“There’s a Rise” [in demand for our services] across the state,” he said.

“But there is no doubt that the regional areas have seen a huge increase, significantly higher than the metro locations.

“The Riverland is about 50 percent higher than last year, Whyalla has almost doubled, Murray Bridge is about 60 percent higher than last year, and Mount Gambier is about 30 percent higher.”

The Foodbank’s Mount Gambier Food Hub provides schools with food for their breakfast programs and individuals access to both free and highly discounted food. (ABC South East SA: Selina Green)

Pattinson believed the difference was due to the level of support services in regional and remote areas compared to metropolitan areas.

He said people from all demographics could access the service.

“It’s not necessarily people who have stereotyped need for food aid … who have problems that prevent them from having a sustainable income,” he said.

“In more than 60 percent of cases, it is families for whom the cost of living starts to rise.

“And I have to be honest; I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it either.”

Recently, in the local supermarket aisle, Katie explained to her daughter why she couldn’t buy the food the child had chosen from the shelf.

“All I had was $6 in coins in my name,” she said.

“I had to tell my daughter we could only afford the bread we came for, and at one of the hardest moments of parenthood, she turned to me and said, ‘I’m so tired of being a poor mother.'”

*Katie’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

Local news straight to your inbox

ABC South East SA provides an overview of the week’s news, stories, and photos every Friday. Sign in to stay connected.

Posted 26 minutes ago26 minutes ago Fri 20 May 2022 at 8:23 AM, Updated 24 minutes ago24 minutes ago Fri 20 May 2022 at 8:25 AM

Dorothy R. Barrett

I’m a full-time blogger by passion. This is my first blog, and I'm excited to share everything that I love about technology, business, and lifestyle with you. I’m a writer by trade, and I can be found writing about tech, business, and lifestyle on my personal blog.

Related Articles

Back to top button