real life

The reason these kids' lunch boxes are empty is a tragedy

What do you think would happen if you compared the school lunch boxes of richer kids with poorer ones?

3News in New Zealand decided to put it to the test.

You can pretty much guess the outcome, but it's far worse than you could ever imagine.

Here are the lunches from the school located in a more affluent area:

The green ticks indicate that these children have eaten breakfast.

Then, the camera crew headed to the poorer school:

Many of the tables were empty. The kids had been sent to school with no food. Most hadn't had breakfast either.

The principal of Sunset Primary School in Rotarua, Niels Rasmussen, told The New Zealand Herald that he's started a soup kitchen on Mondays, to provide children with a warm meal after the weekend. He takes a pack of soup mix to the school every Monday to mix with vegetables for soup for the children.

"All we ask kids to do is bring a plastic cup from home," he said.

It is a sad situation and one that's becoming increasingly common in classrooms around Australia too.

Charity organisations are being overrun with requests from poor families for food assistance. There are reports of entire families not eating for days and some kids looking through bins for leftovers.

How are these children expected to get the most out of their education?

Sue King, co-author of the Anglicare Hard Choices report, said: ''It was very clear that parents were keeping their kids home from school because they can't give them lunch and they're embarrassed. 'Their children's education and health is being compromised. They can't afford fresh fruit or vegetables so they fill up on two-minute noodles and pasta."

The long term impact of poor diet in children can include ...

  • Truancy
  • Lack of education
  • Criminality
  • Poor health
  • Unemployment

Anglicare Sydney chief executive Grant Millard described the findings as shocking. ''Behind these statistics are people's lives,'' he said.

Research by the Australian Council of Social Service released last year found that an estimated 2.2 million Australians, including 575,000 children, live below the poverty line.

Do you find choosing healthy, affordable food options a struggle at the supermarket?

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