One of the biggest dilemmas in education is when a pupil comes to school hungry, says Prestwich Primary School principal Mahdi Samodien.
He should know: it’s an issue he has grappled with daily.
But now, a charity, Ladles of Love, has partnered with the school to help feed its pupils. The programme was introduced to the pupils towards the end of last year but officially got under way earlier this month.
The school could not afford to feed all the pupils who needed a meal, said Mr Samodien.
“Research has shown that there can be a big effect if the pupils don’t eat properly. Because we are based in Green Point, near the CBD, we don’t get as much funding as we need,” he said.
Only 78 of the school’s 772 pupils are on its feeding programme. Many of the pupils don’t get a chance to eat because they have to travel far and leave home as early as 4am.
“We need to be able to feed many more. Many of our pupils don’t get the nutrition they need regularly,” said Mr Samodien.
He praised Ladles of Love for the work it did and said he hoped to expand the programme. “We didn’t want to attach stigma to the programme. They come in with nutritious soup and feed 200 pupils. We are seeing how the pilot project goes but we hope it can expand.”
Ladles of Love spokeswoman Kate Heywood said the programme at the Green Point school had started very well. “We are feeding about 200 kids and the feedback from them has been positive. We need about 10 volunteers for the programme to run smoothly. People can also make cash donations or give ingredients that we can make soup for the kids.”
For more information on how to get involved in volunteering, visit the Ladles of Love on Facebook or call Ms Heywood at 071 522 7467. Donations can be dropped off at Doppio Zero in St George’s Mall.