Please sir can I have some more?
The Whangarei Child Poverty Action Group are supporting the call from the Auckland based CPAG for the government to fund school food programmes.
On Monday CPAG launched Hunger for Learning exploring nutritional barriers to children’s learning. “We know there are a large number of children turning up to school without breakfast in Whangarei and it’s great that many schools and communities are responding to this but the cause of the problem is Government policy so they have a responsibility to address it” says Ngaire Rae, Whangarei CPAG spokesperson.
“The main reason people don’t have enough food to eat is because they don’t have enough money. Real benefit levels remain well below what they were prior to the benefit cuts of 1991 – twenty years ago,” she says.
“Regardless of why children are going to school hungry we need to stop punishing the children and ensure they have a healthy start to the day – so they can learn and participate in school life” she says.
“We have just started our own research into how much people are reliant on other sources for food e.g. foodbanks, school food programmes. If a school or a community group are feeding people we would like to know about it.
“We need to quantify what’s happening now so if the situation gets worse, as many are expecting it to, we have a measure of increasing need. We can also work with schools and communities to address the needs.”