Serving up better futures for WA kids

Posted April 18, 2024
Serving up better futures for WA kids

A hidden struggle is unfolding within the Western Australian community that affects one in three households. With the rising cost of living, this struggle is food insecurity – a reality profoundly impacting the health, education, and future of WA children.

The demand for food relief services is rising. The Foodbank Hunger Report 2023 highlighted over 388,000 WA households are grappling with food insecurity – up 80,000 in the past year. Among these, 120,000 are families with children. This is more than just statistics; it’s a daily challenge faced by many, often silently. 

With Telethon’s support, Foodbank WA, OzHarvest and Bridge Builders Inc. aim to tackle this significant problem: children going hungry. 

In 2023, Foodbank WA’s School Breakfast program supplied 351,500kg of breakfast foods to 524 schools across WA. More than 80,800 breakfasts were served to children each week, with a mission to ensure no child started the day on an empty stomach. 

“Many of our students arrive at school having had no breakfast, some not having had an evening meal the previous night. Without the support of the program, our students would not be able to sustain a whole day of concentration at school. Not only would their academic progress and school engagement suffer, but their behaviour would severely negatively impact their lives,” said a representative from Communicare Academy Kenwick.

In 2023, OzHarvest’s Nourishing Our Schools program delivered more than 308,098 meals to 93 schools. This enhanced the lives of 4,650 vulnerable children and young people, and directly impacted 1,395 families experiencing food insecurity.

“In the past, we had kids stay home because their families did not have food to send with them to school. Now we can say, please don’t stay at home because you have no food; we always have food at school,” said a representative from Port Kennedy Primary School.

The Backpack Buddies program by Bridge Builders aims to prevent children from going hungry, especially on weekends. Currently, more than 4,900 kids in the Mandurah region are food insecure. Backpack Buddies is taking action by distributing backpacks filled with nutritious food every Friday to schools with kids in need.

Telethon’s support enables Foodbank WA, OzHarvest and Bridge Builders to partner with local schools and connect with children and families struggling to put food on the table. It’s about more than just a meal; it’s about giving WA kids a better chance at a healthy, happy life.