‘EVERYONE is struggling’ a Cork school principal has said in light of a study that states four in ten teachers in Ireland have reported that they are seeing children coming to school hungry every day.
New research by Kellogg Ireland has reported that 78% of teachers have experienced this at least once a week, with an issue becoming more common in recent years.
Students in schools across Cork have experienced the impact of the cost of living crisis, according to one Cork principal.
“Through no fault of their own, families are suffering. Some people lost their jobs over covid and are still out of the work since, energy prices have gone up and there is definitely food poverty at the moment. Parents are struggling, and it goes beyond food. You notice it with books and school stuff. Everyone is struggling, especially with the cost of energy being so high,” says principal of Colaiste Eamann Ris, Aaron Wolfe.
Over 200 teachers at primary and secondary level around the country were surveyed about their experiences of hungry children in their classroom, with more than half of them stating the number of hungry children in their class has increased over the past year.
Over 1,000 families around the country were also surveyed as part of the research.
The survey also showed more people are seeking support from services, such as breakfast clubs or food banks, to help them manage the increasing cost of feeding their families.
“Every child in our school get their breakfast at 11am, which we even felt was not enough, so we introduced the morning club before school and there is a huge turnout to it, it is packed,” said Mr Wolfe.
“We have got such a positive response from the parents, but more importantly is the response from the students. They vote with their feet by the breakfast club being so busy and that his impacted the kids in such a positive way.”
Principal Wolfe highlighted the importance of local initiatives that allow their students to stay fuelled for less.
“Food Cloud is a brilliant initiative. Grocery shops that are throwing out food with short expiration dates, we collect from two Tescos in the city. We get loaves and loaves of bread that are just about to go but that’s used perfectly as toast for our kids in the morning,” he explained.
“The food clubs are obviously expensive to run but I would highly recommend other schools to apply for Food Cloud.”