Pupils rush to school to get only meal of the day

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IOL news june 6 ct Zerilda 900 (25914212) INLSA Kennsha Fredericks, 7, Jade Remedis, 8, and Gladesha Rozlde, 8, carry dozens of plates to the school kitchen. The pupils are among those who are fed by the schools feeding scheme. Picture:Brenton Geach

Rushing to get to school an hour before the bell rings does not come naturally to most eight-year-olds.

But for Jade Remedis, a Grade 2 pupil at Zerilda Park Primary School in Seawinds, it means getting a warm bowl of porridge – the only breakfast he would have had that day.

“My mommy works, but sometimes there is nothing at home. It makes me sad sometimes. I enjoy the food they give to me at school, I like the fish because it’s my favourite,” he said.

Jade joined about 400 Grade R to Grade 7 pupils who receive a plate of samp and beans with an orange. There are 1 300 pupils at the school.

This is one of the daily meals funded by the Education Department and the Peninsula School Feeding Association, that provide food funding to 748 primary schools, high schools and special needs schools across the province.

Yesterday, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, along with DA federal chairman Wilmot James, visited the school as part of their Food Security Campaign.

Principal Lorna Engledoe said she was often approached by parents who were unable to provide a single meal for their children.

“Many times parents come to me and say they had to send their children to bed with nothing more than a glass of water. It’s not nice for an adult to go through that so it must be worse for a young child,” she said.

Engledoe said teachers identified children in their classes who often didn’t bring lunch and came from underprivileged households.

She added that attendance had increased since the feeding project was introduced.

“The meal the children get at school is the only guaranteed source of sustenance. We have children arriving earlier because we also serve a bowl of porridge before school starts,” she said. Engledoe said despite frequent vandalism to property, their status remained quintile four.

This meant they did not qualify to receive full funding for the feeding scheme.

Mazibuko said it was important to visit communities in order to create policies which would be put in place for these feeding schemes.

“I’ve been to rural schools and schools where pupils have adequate resources. The cost of living not only affects consumers, but organisations like this that provide food for children who need it,” she said. - Cape Times

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