Recent Australian research found that, on average, three kids in every classroom are skipping breakfast and arriving at school hungry – affecting their concentration, energy levels, attentiveness and emotional wellbeing.
To address the concerning statistics, a group of 15 eager jobseekers have been busy in the Rowville Community Kitchen preparing sandwiches, fruit and precooked meals for students and families in need.
“Over the last five years, Rowville Community Kitchen identified evidence of widespread food insecurity in our local Knox community,” said Christine Smith, from Rowville Community Kitchen.
Thanks to the support of Coles, SecondBite and Aldi, the Rowville Community Kitchen developed the Meals to Go program – with the aim of producing and distributing 1,500 nutritious meal packages to disadvantaged, disabled and aged groups across the community experiencing food insecurity.
“To extend the benefits of the program, we approached Employment Plus to get a team of Work for the Dole candidates involved in the preparation,” explained Christine.
“The candidates have been fantastic and have learnt valuable food preparation, packaging and logistic skills as they’ve been busy preparing and delivering the fresh and frozen meals across the community.
“The team has also really got behind the initiative, enjoying the social engagement the program creates and realising the benefit it is having, particularly for school children and families.”
Since the program commencing in March, seven schools have signed up to the Food Support Schools Program component, with the candidates delivering over 200 sandwiches, more than 100 frozen meals, in excess of 120kg of fruit and vegetables and 80kg of bread. In other words, there are a lot of full and happy little school bellies!