Church to expand kis's brekkies
By MARY MANN
IF YOU hear a rumble in the mornings at Alstonville, it is more likely to be a B-double truck ploughing through the main street than a hungry tummy.
And that's thanks to John Wilson and the Alstonville Baptist Fellowship, who have served more than 1300 free breakfasts to hungry kids since October last year.
The Breakfast For Kids (B4K) program is part of a new youth centre called Zeal, established by the Alstonville Baptist Fellowship and other community groups 'to address the issue in the Alstonville community of youth having nowhere to go'.
However more donations are needed to help keep the program running and to support the church in its plans to extend the program into the afternoons.
The program was initiated by Mr Wilson after surveys were conducted of Alstonville school students which revealed a large number of them went to school without breakfast.
"We started the program because experts tell us we need a healthy breakfast in order to concentrate properly at school," he said.
"And we were aware there were a number of local children not getting the breakfast they needed at home."
The program is run by volunteers such as program co-ordinator Nick Weeks, who dedicate their mornings to serving breakfast to about 20 schoolchildren each school day.
It relies on the generosity of local businesses such as NORCO and Rad's Bakery to put food on the kids' plates each morning.
Mr Wilson said the church was in the process of lodging a development application with Ballina Shire Council to extend the program's operating hours.
He said the plan was to start afternoon sessions such as homework assistance and possibly organised activities for school holidays.
"We have a vision to see this centre as a community service to our young people, offering various programs each morning and afternoon of the school week," Mr Wilson said.
Any school-aged children in the Alstonville area can take advantage of the free breakfast program and there is no need to book.
For more information or to make a donation, call the Alstonville Baptist Fellowship office on 6628 5387, or email