A SIMPLE donation of a fridge or freezer could go a long way to helping hundreds of high school students throughout the Illawarra.
The St Vincent de Paul Society's Illawarra High Schools Support Program provides a breakfast club at Warilla, Oak Flats and Kanahooka High Schools, offering free and healthy breakfasts to more than 300 students each week.
Much of the food used in the program is supplied through OzHarvest, a not-for-profit food rescue program, but a lack of cold storage facilities means it can't be kept for use in the breakfast program.
"We get a lot of food from OzHarvest," Illawarra High Schools Support Program co-ordinator Janelle Trigg said.
"They'll turn up with a truck and drop it off, but we don't have a fridge or freezer here so we just can't keep it. The stuff we don't use doesn't go to waste, it goes to our other welfare services, but the breakfast program is continuing to grow and it would really help us if we had the ability to hold on to more of the food we get to use in the schools."
Ms Trigg said the benefits of the breakfast program were clear.
"You go the schools and the teachers tell us that if a student who usually doesn't have breakfast comes along one morning and has the breakfast we provide then they're really able to concentrate a lot better and are just better students," she said.
"We're seeing kids come along for more and more reasons as well. We still have the disadvantaged kids, but now we're getting kids whose parents are working all the time and the kids want to have breakfast in a environment that's more family-like and not them on their own.
"There's a problem now as well with a lot of students staying up to all hours on social media and that sort of thing and then not sleeping properly and being disorganised in the morning. We don't stand at the door and ask why they want breakfast or turn people away, so to be able to keep more food would be a real help."
Ms Trigg said a working fridge or freezer would be welcomed.
"We'd be extremely grateful if a business or just a member of the public wanted to give us one. It doesn't have to be brand new and by donating it, it could save somebody the hassle of trying to take it to the tip."
Phone Janelle Trigg on 4276 4224.