A new Foodbank hub to be established in Ballarat will help provide more fresh food to school breakfast programs.
Foodbank Victoria and Ballarat Foundation announced 2019 as the target operation date for the food distribution warehouse on Thursday.
It will act as a pantry to charities and community groups who feed those going hungry in the region.
Foodbank Victoria funds around 20 school breakfast programs in Ballarat, and 516 throughout the state.
Around 25 pupils sit down for breakfast at Yuille Park Community College each school morning, munching on cereal and toast from bright coloured plastic bowls.
The Yuille Park school breakfast program has been in operation for more than six years. Acting principal Brett Shillito said staff had seen the benefits translate to the classroom.
The importance of the breakfast program is greater than filling the belly, it is about social interaction for the children too.Brett Shillito, Yuille Park Community College acting principal
“It allows the kids to focus, and to have those conversations before the learning starts rather than during class. A lot of parents are also seeing the benefits of it, feeling like they can participate in the learning as well as helping out in a little way.”
Robert Walklate has been coordinating the Yuille Park breakfast program for three years, with the help of a team of dedicated parents.
He arrives at 7.30am each school morning to prepare cereal, toast, and hot food like bacon and eggs or pancakes which is served once a fortnight.
Foodbank report Rumbling Tummies published earlier this month revealed more than one in five Australian children have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months, greater than the number of adults.
Monash University research based in Ballarat found 36 per cent of surveyed clients accessing charitable food relief have dependents relying on them.
“Kids across the nation come to school without food in their tummy. The breakfast program is a basic solution for them to get on with their day with the nutrition they need for the classroom,” Mr Shillito said.