Full bellies boost attendance and concentration at schools around Alice Springs with the help of ARRCS’ School Nutrition Program.
The sandwiches are delicious – and varied: egg, salad, roast beef. Some days there are marinated chicken drumsticks and fried rice. As the days get colder, soups and stews are increasingly popular.
This range of tasty and nourishing food is all produced from a spotless industrial kitchen in central Alice Springs by Judy Kruske and her team, and sent out to 190 pupils in eight schools in and around Alice.
The ARRCS School Nutrition Program provides breakfast, morning tea, lunch and a fruit snack for the afternoon, and schools report that the healthy school meals program has increased attendance and boosted kids’ concentration.
“It was extremely well received when it began,” says Judy, and has made life a lot easier for school staff, who can now focus on their task of teaching. “If the pupils get a decent breakfast, they’re off to a good start.”
The program is available to all, and costs $20 a week, via Centrelink payments.
Two of Judy’s staff load up the Toyota Hiace van every morning and make the rounds of the seven primary schools and one senior school. Breakfast supplies for the next day are part of the delivery.
The Northern Territory has high standards when it comes to food quality, says Judy: “Compared to other states we’re very strict on salt and saturated fats.”
The service makes sure to include nourishing ingredients in their lunches – sneaking grated vegetables into the mix for their home-made sausage rolls, and adding them to the fried rice.
Certain schools have certain preferences but the one thing they all love is the drumsticks. They are delicious and filling. “It’s good food and the kids love it,” says Judy.
The ARRCS School Nutrition Program is good for grown-ups, too, providing development opportunities through work placement options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Find out more about ARRCS’ School Nutrition Program.