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Community & Business

14 January, 2022

A year of nourishing young minds at school

VICTORIA and Simon Crosby from The Hungry Pug made themselves a challenge in 2021 to donate free emergency lunch to Mareeba State School every single school day for the whole year.

By Ellie Fink

Simon Crosby and staff member Brooke Stewart from The Hungry Pug in Mareeba with the help of Victoria (not pictured) have donated thousands of serves of lunch to school kids.

Now a year after they made that promise, they can officially say they have done it, donating over 2200 serves of food valued at over $15,400. 

Although it wasn’t an easy task, the growing café dedicated the early hours of the morning to make, pack and send off the healthy nutritious snacks. 

Victoria said that it was a rewarding experience that had touched the hearts of both her and her staff. 

“We saw that (Mareeba State School) had an emergency lunch program in place and they were often asking for donations from the community and to be honest, the thought of little kids going to school without any food just broke our heart,” she said.

“We thought that’s what we do, we do food, so for us to be able to support them was easy and the teachers should be focusing on teaching our kids and getting these guys equipped for the real world, they shouldn’t be worrying about making sure they are fed as well. 

“Every day we would make between 15 and 20 serves and a teacher’s aide would come and get it at 8am and it would go to the Hub.” 

Children arriving to school who didn’t have any lunch on them could easily go to the Mareeba State School Hub and get their fresh serves of lunch. 

This year, Victoria and her team have made the promise again to supply fresh lunches on the days they are open. 

“We have already made the commitment this year to provide emergency lunches the school days we are open which are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” she said. 

“The idea we have is to load them up the week before to hopefully get them through Monday and Tuesday along with the resources that they already have. 

“It wasn’t easy but it was well worth it as the kids weren’t worried about getting food, so they were concentrating on classwork.” 

The Hungry Pug staff has continued to donate their time and efforts to school around the region, this year also taking school supply donations for Mareeba, Biboohra and Mount Molloy primary schools.

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