Wednesday, 24 January 2024 12:55

Fonterra butter powers school brekkies in Oz

Written by  Staff Reporters
Fonterra area managers Alison Hall (second right) and Sam Flight (far right) dropping off donations of Duck River Butter to Bridport Primary School for their breakfast club. Fonterra area managers Alison Hall (second right) and Sam Flight (far right) dropping off donations of Duck River Butter to Bridport Primary School for their breakfast club.

In some of Tasmania's most remote schools, students are getting a healthy breakfast and a chance to start the day on a full stomach, increasing their focus and appetite to learn.

With regular donations of Fonterra's Duck River Butter, 19 schools across northern Tasmania are serving up nutritious dairy at their daily breakfast club, an initiative aimed to reduce the impact of disadvantage when breakfast is missed.

Fonterra site manager Douglas Overdijk oversees the production of Duck River Butter at the dairy manufacturer's Spreyton site.

He said the idea to donate to schools came directly from the site's employees who wanted to give back to farmers and our local communities.

"Our team contacted schools from Smithton in the northwest, to Ringarooma in the northeast, with an offer to donate butter or their breakfast programs," says Overdijk.

"We now donate around 150 kilograms of butter in total each term," he adds.

Research shows children who go without breakfast find it difficult to concentrate, impacting their learning. Many schools provide breakfast for children to help them focus on their schoolwork but rely on donations to keep them running.

"Fonterra is committed to keeping our communities strong, and the next generation are key to this. We want to ensure breakfast clubs can run each day, and children continue to learn and develop," says Overdijk.

"It's great to see our butter giving back to Tassie kids so they're not hungry for the next meal, they're hungry to learn," he added.

Bridport Primary School Breakfast Club Coordinator Natalie Brown says the donations from Fonterra have been greatly appreciated by students and staff at the school. It has allowed the club to purchase other items, helping them save on costs.

"Fonterra's generous donation allows the Breakfast Club to purchase additional items such as fruit, ham and rolls. Thanks to the donated butter, it alleviates an expense that would otherwise need to be budgeted for," says Brown.

"Students love having buttery toast, and we probably use at least four to five tubs a term. Toast is always a favourite, with some students preferring and enjoying toast with only butter."

Fonterra's Farm Source team are regularly on the road visiting farmers right across the state. With their support, they've ensured each carton of donated butter makes it to some of Tasmania's most remote schools.

"We're on the road every day, visiting farms and supporting our suppliers. We drive through these communities on a weekly, even daily basis. We know them well," said Fonterra Farm Source regional manager Darren Smart.

Children living on farms and in remote areas often travel long distances to get to school, meaning they're up early to allow enough time to travel.

"Dairy farmers are milking cows at five in the morning, and kids will often be up too. Even with breakfast, they're hungry again when they get to school because there's been a big block of time since they last ate," says Smart.

"We're helping children start their day with the right focus, setting them up for success down the track, whatever they choose to do. It's a great initiative and we're proud to be part of it."

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