Eat Up works to ensure that the one in five students who go to school without eating, are fed. Using a network of volunteers and donations from large and small food companies, Eat Up makes and delivers nutritious lunches to registered schools. What this achieves is much more than a meal. As well as no longer being hungry, children feel connected, are able to concentrate in class, and have the energy for sports and play. And for many, their attendance is improving.
Project: Eat Up
Location: Regional Victoria, Regional NSW, Regional Queensland, Regional Western Australia
Eat Up’s goal is clear: to support young people to achieve their potential. For some young people, not having enough food in the house or resources to make or buy their school lunch means the difference between eating while at school or not. This is where Eat Up steps in.
Begun in Shepparton, Victoria, Eat Up now operates nationally, delivering sandwiches to over 700 schools from Bendigo to Bundaberg in Queensland, Palmerston in the NT and Bunbury in the west.
Eat Up doesn’t want a lack of food at a critical growth period for children and adolescents to be the cause for greater behavioural, emotional, or academic issues for individual students and in turn, their whole class.
Eat Up and the supporting school communities it works with understand that good nutrition at school improves a learner’s ability to participate in all activities, achieve academically, feel a sense of belonging and it also instils good eating habits.
Schools register their interest in the program and simple, fresh cheese sandwiches, popular with the majority of children, are made by Eat Up volunteers and delivered every three weeks. The quantity supplied depends on the school requirements and Eat Up regularly checks in to adjust the amount required.
Volunteers are place-based and through Eat Up’s public sandwich-making events, it’s all hands-on deck including children. Production is quick with a team of 20 volunteers making and individually wrapping over 1,000 sandwiches per hour. Schools also contribute. For Sue-Ann Gavin from the Kinross-Wolaroi School in Orange helping Eat Up is an “activity that all our students can be proud to be a part of, it fosters understanding, compassion and care for others”.
The Phillips Foundation recognises the lifelong impacts disadvantage can have for children and adolescents and supports Eat Up with assistance for a regional coordinator. This enables Eat Up to manage and build local relationships in the communities that are supported, liaising with the schools and improving the nutritional offerings available including greater locally sourced produce.