Alfredton Rotary members weren’t aware of the scale of need when they first started delivering sandwiches to primary schools with the intention of ensuring no student goes without lunch.
Two years on from their first sandwich making session, volunteers have delivered more than 12,000 sandwiches to 18 Ballarat schools, thanks to the help of Ballarat Grammar students.
Year seven and eight students have been volunteering their time after school to make sandwiches for kids who come to school without lunch.
The program has expanded from initially delivering to six to now 18 schools. Students have made almost 5500 sandwiches this year.
Ballarat Grammar director service and leadership Matt Hanlon said the delivery of sandwiches once a fortnight was helping schools that were struggling to keep up with need.
“Teachers put the sandwiches in the freezers at school and stockpile them for when they have an influx,” he said.
The number is quite sobering, knowing so many kids are going to school with out lunch.Matt Hanlon, Ballarat Grammar
“Some of our students making the sandwiches have been able to relate to when they were in primary school knowing some of their peers didn’t have lunch.
“The number is quite sobering, knowing so many kids are going to school with out lunch. We make sandwiches from around 30 to 40 loaves of bread each session.”
Alfredton Rotary member Deb Roderston distributes the sandwiches to schools each fortnight.
She said the requests from schools change, with some needing 80 a fortnight and some needing 30 a term.
One Ballarat principal said learning is improved when pupils are fed.
“Having the constant supply makes it easier for staff to feed those who need it. We know they will be there when we need it. In the past staff used to spend time putting the sandwiches together.”
Ballarat Grammar’s involvement in the Eat Up Program was organised by year 12 student Keely Reid.
The program is expected to continue at Ballarat Grammar next year.
Mr Hanlon said the school was determined to be told the program was no longer needed and will continue making sandwiches until demand no longer exists.