Convenor: Deanne O’Neill

Region: North Queensland

School Type: State Primary School

No. of Students: 625

Acknowledgement of QAST Awards Received:

Top Ten Tuckshop 2019

Volunteer of the Year 2019 (Selena Stevens)

Tuckshop Menu Award 2018

Top Ten Tuckshop 2018

Community Service Award 2017 (Deanne O’Neill)

Smart Choices Menu Award (Primary School) 2016

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 “Our tuckshop, the Caterpillar Cafe holds an important place in the community of Currajong State School”

Deanne and her team work closely with the school community, P&C Executive and the school’s Principal across all aspects of school life.

The tuckshop has embraced recycling wholeheartedly. The kitchen garden is well established and provides fresh produce for the tuckshop, the worm farm and compost bins are a great outlet for food waste. The container recycling program is up and running, with parents encouraged to donate their recyclable containers. Plastic waste from the tuckshop is returned to Woolworths for their recycling program and all cardboard is recycled. The tuckshop has a no straw policy, with paper straws being available on request. There is very little waste generated from the Caterpillar Café.

Like many tuckshops the Caterpillar Café is always on the look out for new volunteers. To encourage new volunteers Deanne speaks at information sessions for new Prep students, informing parents about the menu and food choices available to their children and also the tuckshop operation and the various roles volunteers can consider. To broaden the pool of prospective volunteers the tuckshop team made a targeted effort to encourage more dads to volunteers and have been successful in recruiting dads and a grandfather to their ranks.

Deanne and well-established volunteer, Selena, work closely together with the school community. This was particularly evident when the school and surrounding community were impacted by severe flooding, causing the school to close for a number of weeks. Deanne and Selena ensured the tuckshop’s Facebook page became the go-to place for families to keep abreast of the current state of the school by keeping informal communication channels open, providing reassurance to families.

When the school re-opened one of the main aims of the school’s administration was to ensure that the children had a positive return to school. Working with the school to reach this aim, the tuckshop team provided fruit platters to all the classrooms on the first day back. They also provided free lunches to all the teachers.

The tuckshop plays an important role in the community of Currajong State School and goes beyond their primary role of providing healthy food for the students. A core belief is that it takes a village to raise a child and Deanne and her team embrace that daily. Following the floods, it became a focal point at the school, allowing students and parents with a safe place to express their own stories about how the floods had affected them.

Ongoing, the tuckshop is a place where students who have forgotten their lunch can go; for the parent who calls up at 10am flustered because they forgot to order via flexischools; for another copy of the menu or school form that went missing; a quiet place for a teacher who needs to sit for a few minutes; for the new student who has gotten lost in the school. The phrase often heard around the school is “Go see the tuckshop… they will know”.

Working together as a whole the Currajong State School community has created a successful and welcoming tuckshop.

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