June 17, 2018

Lyn & Christian’s Story – It shouldn’t have to be this way in our lucky country

Did you know that more than one in five Australian children are going hungry each year? Isn’t this heartbreaking.I know you will agree with me. It’s not what we want for our kids. It’s not what we want for their future.

I’d like to share with you another inspiring story about Lyn and Christian. Christian is only 10 years old. His mum Lyn, does her best. But she’s been doing it really tough for some time, especially over the last three years since her ex-husband stopped paying child support.

As families struggle to make ends meet, children often bear the brunt. Food insecurity is putting the health, wellbeing and future of our Australian kids in jeopardy.

This is why the work of Foodbank’s School Breakfast 4 Health is so critical to provide a healthy nutritious meal to hungry Aussie kids.

Lyn didn’t choose this life – a life of hunger and heartache. No one would choose this life. But as Lyn says, hard times happen.

This is not the life she imagined. Lyn never dreamt she would be a single mother.

I was in a pretty bad relationship and things were getting worse. I just had to get out and get the kids out, to be safe. It was tough, but I knew I had to do it.

But with safety came struggle.

That was eight and a half years ago, when Christian was just a toddler – a loving, fun-filled two year-old. Lyn and her four boys were suddenly thrown into a world full of uncertainty. To make matters worse, it’s not easy for Lyn to find regular work. She suffers with fibromyalgia, which causes chronic muscle and joint pain and fatigue.

With careful budgeting, Lyn was managing OK. But just over two years ago, her former partner stopped paying child support completely. Lyn was left to raise her four boys alone.

This is why I need your urgent gift today.

Foodbank needs to set up more School Breakfast Club in more schools, to help ease the immense financial stress felt by Lyn
and other families just like hers.

Lyn is not alone. Despite Australia’s reputation as the ‘lucky country’, hunger is a reality for many Australian families like Lyn’s. Unexpected expenses or large bills and housing payments are often the main reasons for food insecurity in households. And
sadly, children bear the brunt.

I can live with my own hunger. It’s like an ache I just accept as a fact of life. But the heartache of not being able to feed my kids? I can never get used to that.What’s happening to me, to my kids – I know this happens all the time. But I never imagined it would happen to me.

Foodbank provides school breakfasts for over 116,500 children a week, but there are many more children missing out. Your urgent gift could feed so many more children. Your gift today could help set up more School Breakfast Clubs in schools, so kids like Christian don’t have to go hungry.

Your gift today could help set up more School Breakfast Clubs in schools, so kids like Christian don’t have to go hungry.

It’s not unusual for Lyn to go hungry so she can feed her kids. It shouldn’t have to be this way. But Lyn says that as a mum, this is just what you do.

You make those sacrifices, you go without, so they have what they need. I’d rather they have a full belly and I go to bed hungry.”

Last week, Lyn skipped her dinner so that the kids could have more – she told them she wasn’t hungry. Just so they could have more food.

“Christian, my beautiful boy, he’s obviously woken up to the fact that I’m doing this, because one day he did ask me. I would always dish out the kids’ food first, and he said, “But mum, what about yours?” I just said, “Oh, no, I’m not very hungry. How much do you want?”

Lyn lay in bed that night and tried to imagine away the ache of her rumbling stomach. Sometimes if she gets up in the night, her head
spins from hunger. But she says nothing.

For one in five children in Australia, breakfast is a luxury.

Hungry children arrive at school with an empty stomach as their family silently battles food insecurity. Lyn’s son, Christian, is one
of them. It’s hard to imagine this happening here in Australia. I know you will agree with me that our children in Australia should
not have to go hungry.

Despite the abundance of food in Australia, food insecurity is putting the health, wellbeing and future of Australian kids in
jeopardy.

Lyn never wanted to ask for help. “Accepting help was a very hard thing for me… to swallow my pride, to ask and accept help. We all have our pride. It’s not somewhere I ever thought we’d be.”

Foodbank is committed to supporting these families, through programs such as the School Breakfast 4 Health, and offering food hampers to families doing it tough. But this is possible only with your help.

Your valuable gift can help set up more School Breakfast Clubs in more schools, helping more children and more families.

Funding is limited. This is why right now Christian’s school receives breakfast just once a week.

“It’s a relief knowing that at least once a week, he can have full breakfast at school. You can imagine how yummy that
sounds to a growing boy – he can’t wait to get to school on Thursdays!” Lyn says with a smile.

Foodbank has been such a comfort to me. To know that there are people out there who care and that food is available for my little boy. I’m so grateful. We live on a roller coaster some weeks. Sometimes we will receive a food hamper to help, but I still finish the week with barely any food in the pantry. I desperately need the School Breakfast Club to help my little boy and more kids like him in our neighborhood, so I know Christian and his friends will not be starting the school day hungry.”

This is why your gift today will be life changing.

When children like Christian come to school hungry, they can lose of up to two hours a day of learning time. Foodbank Rumbling Tummies Child Hunger Report show that students who miss out on breakfast find it difficult to concentrate and become lethargic, with many experiencing learning difficulties or exhibiting behavioural problems.

Foodbank’s School Breakfast 4 Health Program is making a real difference for the kids at Christian’s school. There has been significant change in learning outcomes and enthusiasm in the classroom.

At the School Breakfast Club, the kids are served cereal with milk, toast with butter, jam or vegemite, as well as fruit, yoghurt and juice. Sometimes there is a delicious cooked breakfast.

This is why I am asking for your gift today to set up more School Breakfast Clubs to provide food to kids across more schools in NSW and the ACT.

Your support will help stop children from going hungry.

Warm regards,

Gerry Andersen
CEO
Foodbank NSW & ACT

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