Healthy breakfasts bring joy to families during school closures
As teachers navigate the challenge of school closures, we're making sure vulnerable students receive healthy breakfasts, so they have energy to concentrate and learn.
Since May 2020, we have supplied 720,390 nutritious breakfasts to 129 schools in Lambeth and Southwark, thanks to support from Impact on Urban Health, a part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Unicef and generous donations from the public.
Containing a mixture of healthy food items, each box provides two weeks’ worth of nutritious breakfasts. From oats and Weetabix to rice and fruits including desiccated coconut, the boxes hold the potential for a variety of breakfasts.
These breakfast boxes are distributed by our wonderfully dedicated school teams and provide an opportunity for teachers to connect with families during this isolating time: ‘Parents come to collect these boxes, which allows us to check in with them and they will regularly comment about what a lifeline they are and continue to be. Without the support of these boxes, many of our children would go without fresh food and enough food each day’ (Lambeth Assistant Headteacher). Parents have also mentioned how these collections extend beyond basic needs and ‘provide routine during lockdown’ and most importantly mean ‘there is no longer a stigma attached to asking for help’ (Southwark parents).
The breakfast boxes have also created heightened engagement in our Healthy Zones project, which aims to tackle childhood obesity. The programme provides a menu of support to schools, so they can better develop breakfast clubs, after school clubs and the implementation of school food policies that put children’s health first.
When schools re-open, we will be harnessing this increased awareness of the importance of nutritious options in the Healthy Zones work. The breakfast boxes have opened up conversations with teachers, students and created avenues to engage with parents too, who have commented how the boxes ‘made us try new foods or make new recipes that we might not usually’.
Once again, we have not stopped at breakfasts. In partnership with Chefs in Schools, since early January, almost 4,000 lunch hampers filled with one weeks’ worth of delicious lunches have been distributed to families across Lambeth and Southwark every week. These healthy hampers are a mixture of dry goods to cook such as pasta and vegetables, combined with high-quality fresh meals from restaurant partners Mission Kitchen.
There are 25 schools receiving both breakfast and lunch parcels, and have shared: ‘The joy of delivering bumper packs of breakfast and lunches to families doors is matched by their joy in receiving these kind donations’ (Southwark Headteacher).
Soon to reach 1 million breakfasts and 200,000 lunches, a huge thank you to our funders, charity partners and all our schools for making this happen!
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