Holiday hampers ensure kids don’t go hungry

A vital school holiday breakfast program is being delivered by its founder, Rotarian Bill Dobson, with financial support from the Rotary Club of Launceston, Tas.

In 2008, Bill started participating in the school breakfast program at East Tamar Primary School and wondered how the children receiving breakfasts got on during school holidays when the program didn’t run.

Recognising a need to fill this gap, Bill began delivering breakfasts to families during these times. Eleven years on, Bill continues to deliver the Holiday Hampers to needy families in Launceston’s northern suburbs, while the Rotary Club of Launceston provides funds to purchase the food.

Over the years, the program has been supported by Rotarians, members of the public, St Lukes Health Charity and Foundation 33. In recent times, the Rotary Club of Launceston has funded the purchase of breakfast supplies and Woolworths at Mowbray has been very supportive in supplying foodstuffs.

Rotarian Adrian Kok, a retired produce manager with Woolworths, has also assisted in sourcing breakfast supplies.

The families who receive hampers vary each holiday and are determined by the school, which knows those most in need. The Holiday Hampers included bread, cereal, margarine, jam, fruit, and milk, and are delivered to 12 families with a total of 31 children between them. Each delivery is scheduled to last a fortnight.

East Tamar Primary School has been involved in the Holiday Hamper program from the start, with Waverley Primary School also now involved in the program.

“Every time we deliver a hamper you see a mother in tears because of the relief that she can feed her kids,” says Bill.

“One young fellow was so pleased to receive a hamper because his mother had to ask him to hand back his Christmas money so she could feed the kids.”

It is reactions like these that keep Bill motivated to continue delivering the program each year.

PICTURED: Holiday Hampers founder, Rotarian Bill Dobson, with breakfast goods to be delivered to grateful families in Launceston, Tas. (Photo: Rod Oliver)