A group of students from Lincoln University in Christchurch have been visiting Rowley Avenue School in Halswell every Tuesday over the past few months to cook breakfast for the pupils.
They are now looking for a supermarket wholesaler to support the project so they can continue running the programme for at least a year.
Scholar, Sally Terry says she and her peers decided to establish a breakfast club at the school while they were brainstorming ideas for projects to work on as part of their scholarship programme.
She says "The conversation turned to the topic of lower socioeconomic groups and we were talking about how parents are often so busy working, they don’t have the time or funds to teach children healthy eating habits,”
“So we decided to choose a low-decile school and work at initiating change by cooking with the children and teaching them that porridge, yogurt and fruit can be really yummy. We also want to show how affordable it is – that it’s cheaper than a box of sugary cereal.
The group has decided to trial the project, which they have called Fuel for Life.
Terry says this experience has has been an eye opener, not only for her but also for her peers.
“Some of the children attend school with no shoes on...it makes me so appreciative of the good things I have."
Every Tuesday, the group arrives at the school at around 7:30am with electric frying pans and other kitchen equipment, along with enough food to feed a large group of pupils. After they finish cooking, they play music and games with the children before leaving them to go to their respective classes.
“Some of the pupils bring older and younger brothers and sisters to the breakfast club, so it’s a great family atmosphere,” Terry says.
“We have such an awesome time with the kids each week. I’m buzzing all day after I’ve been there.”
Every week, the scholars ask the children what they want to eat the next Tuesday. Their requests have become more healthy and nutritious over time.
“To begin with, they wanted fast food, but now they ask for things like apple and oat pancakes, so they seem to be getting a taste for healthier foods,” Terry says.