Save the Children Supports New Campaign For Food In Schools
Save the Children Supports New Campaign For Food In
EMBARGOED 8AM Wednesday 1 May 2013
Save the Children New Zealand is behind the Community Campaign for Food in Schools, which launches today and the child rights organisation is calling on New Zealanders to let the government know just how important it is to ‘feed the kids’.
“The food in schools campaign is about taking care of our children. The level of child poverty in New Zealand has doubled over the last 30 years and is quite simply unacceptable. All of us, including government, have a role to play in tackling this issue” said Save the Children New Zealand chief executive Heather Hayden.
A Ministry of Health Survey found that 20.1 percent of New Zealand households with school-age children did not have enough food for active and healthy living.
The Community Campaign for Food in Schools aims to encourage community and political involvement in the delivery of food in schools as a measure to tackle child poverty that can be introduced relatively quickly. And the organisations involved want to encourage public debate about how food in schools could be provided.
“There are many ways we could deliver food in schools. They include the recommendations in the Education (Breakfast and Lunch in Schools) Amendment Bill, which the members of this campaign are asking the government to support. What is important is that we all agree that feeding our kids is a priority issue” said Ms Hayden.
“We know that when we don’t give our children a good start we collectively pay the price, at a cost of around $6 billion each year in areas like health, remedial education and reduced productivity costs,” she said.
“As a signatory to the United Nations convention on the Rights of the Child, the New Zealand government is obliged to ensure that children realise their right to an adequate standard of living. As part of the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of its, we urge the government to take the issue of food in schools – and our children’s futures - seriously.”
Save the Children has also heard from children themselves on the issue. The topic of hunger has been discussed by children and young people on Save the Children’s Values Exchange forum. “Children who are distracted by hunger can’t learn. They are more likely to be disruptive in the classroom and report feeling confused and lethargic when they go to school hungry” said Ms Hayden.
“We often talk about living another day in paradise. The reality is that thousands of children in New Zealand go to school too hungry to learn and develop. That’s not right. Through this campaign we are calling on the public, parents, families, communities – all of us - to tell the government to play their part and feed the kids,” she said.