Sitting next to her peers in class, a young child finds herself struggling to concentrate. Hunger pangs are gnawing at her, as she loses track of what’s going on in the lesson.
With a shockingly high number of children in Newcastle going without regular meals, Drakensberg Primary School has a feeding scheme which lovingly supplies 42 children with steady meals.
“The feeding scheme supplies the children with breakfast, followed by sandwiches with a sweet or fresh fruit at 10 am. Then at 1 pm, the children get a fully balanced meal,” says Drakensberg Primary’s principal, Pieter Hanekom.
Hanekom explains as the feeding scheme is a privately-run initiative, the school relies heavily on the support of the community.
“We have people who prepare the meals, as well as those who deliver food parcels such as the Newcastle Lions, the Rotarians, churches, private individuals and anonymous sponsors.”
There are also a dedicated team of women who give up their time to run the mealtime shifts, ensuring the children receive their meals. Thereby ensuring the children can concentrate during class time and can face the day with a full stomach.
Despite regular assistance, Hanekom explains it is always a battle when it comes to funding. To enhance the feeding scheme, the school welcomes all sponsorships and donations.
“We are looking for assistance in getting warm water into the “kitchen” we have made for the children so we can do dishes.”
The school also would like to acquire a fridge for meals.
“We understand circumstances are getting worse in terms of the economy, but the need is there, and the children are here,” concludes Hanekom.
Let us pull together as Newcastillians and make a lasting difference in children’s lives.
If anyone can assist the school, they can contact Drakensberg Primary School on 034 318 5011