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Serving school tuckshops a healthy boost

The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops was thrilled to join the Health Minister, Shannon Fentiman MP, local member Grace Grace MP, and Health and Wellbeing Queensland CEO Robyn Littlewood yesterday at Kelvin Grove State College to announce another year of funding to deliver the Healthier Tuckshop Support Program.

It was so wonderful to hear the Queensland Government acknowledge the importance of tuckshops in the school environment and their contribution to healthy eating for Queensland children.

More than a third of families rely on the school tuckshop once a week to feed their kids.

School tuckshops are collectively one of Queensland’s biggest catering providers, with about 1,400 tuckshops servicing 870,000 students across the state.

“Tuckshops help hundreds of thousands of Queensland families feed their children nutritious and delicious food and drinks every day,” Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said.

“The school tuckshop is no longer just a treat. For many busy parents and carers, it’s a necessity, which is why we invest in supporting them provide the healthier choices to our kids.

“I know many families struggle with accessing healthier options for their children and this is one way we can help minimise that challenge.

“I am excited that we are providing more than $130,000 in additional funding to ensure we continue delivering the Healthier Tuckshops program.”

The program is delivered by the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) and funded by the Queensland Government through the state’s prevention agency, Health and Wellbeing Queensland.

“It’s never been more important for tuckshops to supply affordable and healthy food and drinks to students as families adjust to the rising cost-of-living,” Health and Wellbeing Queensland Chief Executive Officer Dr Robyn Littlewood said.

Research by Health and Wellbeing Queensland shows 39 per cent of families order from the tuckshop once a week or more.

“Not everyone has access to the same food at low prices, and for families who experience food insecurity, tuckshops are vital in providing tasty, interesting and affordable meals that encourage children to adopt life-long healthy habits.”

QAST CEO, Deanne Wooden also explained how complex and underrated the role of the convenor is.

“The school tuckshop is essentially a small business, with many moving parts. It is a higher-pressure environment than most foodservice operations because of the short time frame for service,” Deanne said.

“We are so pleased that the Queensland Government recognises the important place tuckshops have in the fabric of the school environment and how essential healthy menus are to student health, wellbeing and academic outcomes.

“With the Healthier Tuckshops funding from Health and Wellbeing Queensland, we can continue to connect with more tuckshops and get the message about healthy menus out to all schools across Queensland.

Thank you to Julie and team at The Hive Canteen at Kelvin Grove State College for their help in making the morning possible.

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