House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Statements by Members

Food For Schools Ltd

1:55 pm

Photo of Phillip ThompsonPhillip Thompson (Herbert, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

One in seven students at Townsville high schools don't eat breakfast. That is a figure that Paula and Demelza, two locals, are trying to reduce to zero. Their charity, Fuel for Schools, is doing an amazing job collecting donations of food for local students and putting on breakfast programs to make sure they have brain food to get them through a tough day of learning. No child should be sitting at a desk in a classroom, first thing in the morning, with an empty stomach. Apart from being uncomfortable, research has shown that skipping breakfast can affect concentration, mental performance, mood and memory—all things that are critical for an effective day of education. A proper breakfast can provide those things as well as helping students maintain a healthy weight and providing energy and essential nutrients, like vitamins, iron and fibre.

It was great to catch up with Paula and Demelza just before the start of the school term as they were stocking up for another year. The amount of food they need each week to supply each of the state schools in Townsville is staggering. On average, they need 70 loaves of bread, 36 litres of milk, eight kilos of jam, two kilos of vegemite, two kilos of peanut butter, two litres of honey, two kilos of cream cheese, seven kilos of milo, eight kilos of margarine, 10 kilos of canned spaghetti, one kilo of baked beans and multiple cartons of cornflakes and Weet-Bix. It's a huge need, and I would encourage anyone in our community who can help out to get in touch to make sure our students start the day in the best way: with a full stomach.