Strategies & Objectives
The project strategies include working with Education Queensland and Foodbank Queensland to:
- Abide by the Smart Choices – Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland’s schools by providing healthy, nutritious food
- Provide a service free of cost to students and schools
- Provide a fun club environment where students are free to attend without feeling stigmatised
- Ensure every student regardless of culture, economic or family circumstances are not disadvantaged or curtailed by commencing the school day without a healthy nutritious breakfast
- The YMCA provides eligible schools with a refrigerator and or freezer, a metal cabinet for the storage of dry food, toasters and cutting boards etc. This is to ensure schools are not disadvantaged due to the cost of these items
- The YMCA provides support, training and resources to a breakfast coordinator within each school
For a variety of reasons, a significant number of children come to school without eating breakfast or a substantially healthy breakfast. These students are disadvantaged by hunger and poor nutrition. Not only does this affect their education, but it also affects their long term health and wellbeing.
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2013) revealed that 1 in 6 (15.9%) of Queensland school children skip breakfast, which is higher than the national average of 14.8 %. It also shows that 17.7% of all children were living in poverty Australia wide¹.
The YMCA’s own 2016 data shows that an average of 24% (1 in 4) of the students enrolled in participating schools attend the breakfast program on a regular basis.
Not only does hunger and poor nutrition impact the child involved, but also has a negative impact on every student in the classroom. Foodbank Australia’s 2015 ‘Hunger in the Classroom’ Report identified that: ‘Four out of five teachers (82%) report an increased workload due to hungry students as the children find it harder to concentrate (73 %), are lethargic (66%), or demonstrate behavioural problems (52%)’.
Breakfast is considered an important meal because it breaks the overnight fasting period, replenishes your supply of glucose and provides other essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the day (Better Health Channel, 2014). Breakfast gives children a ‘better chance of having a healthier diet overall, reducing their risk of a range of chronic diseases long term’ (Cancer Council Queensland, 2014).
¹. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census at School 2013.
². The Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA); and geographical region’s Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) score/rating is used by the YMCA to assess the School’s socioeconomic status.
>> Future Objectives
The demand for School Breakfast Programs continues to be high as demonstrated by the rapid growth of the program and expansion into South West Brisbane and Ipswich regions. In response to this demand it is our objective to expand the program to a total of 200 Schools across SEQ and provide over one million meals annually within the next five years.
YMCA Expands It's Support
Part of the new YMCA premises in Mary St, Kingston has been set aside as a ‘food warehouse’ which provides much needed food storage for the School Breakfast Program. Food is donated by the pallet load and enables the YMCA to also support other Schools Breakfast and lunch programs.
Schools in the following South East QLD suburbs, can apply for assistance: all Logan suburbs, Acacia Ridge, Coorparoo, Forest Lake, Goodna, Inala, Oxley, Ipswich, Gold Coast and surrounding suburbs.
Interested schools are able to contact the YMCA Schools’ Breakfast Program Coordinator for more information or complete the online application.
Phone: (07) 3440 4307