Leanne Jopson

West Ulverstone Primary School chaplain Leanne Jopson listens intently to Peyton at the school

s breakfast club.


By Paul O'Rourke

Increased demand at school breakfast programs is further proof that many Tasmanian families are struggling.

Numbers at about 60 schools statewide have increased markedly, in some cases doubling over the past six months.

Loaves and Fishes Tasmania, together with other charities, school committees, and businesses help feed thousands of children each week, from one to five days a week.

More students are attending, more often, and wanting more food.

The programs are run by parents teachers, chaplains, and community volunteers who serve up breakfast and a dose of encouragement. The cost is about $1600 per school per year.

The social component of a program intentionally available to all students helps build connections and alerts teachers and chaplains to family needs.

West Ulverstone Primary School chaplain Leanne Jopson said the breakfast program fed an average of 40 children each day from a school population of 140 students.

One child ate 15 slices of toast


“I watched one young person eat 15 pieces of toast one morning.

“We have children who come to school unwashed, who haven’t slept and are hungry.

“Or they are eating lots of two-minute noodles.

“That’s concerning for me. If they don’t get the food they need, they can’t learn.”

Tilly and Ian enjoy a quiet breakfast before another hectic school day. School breakfast programs are open to all students so as not to create a stigma around those attending.