Ten years feeding hearts, minds and souls

This year the school community of St Mary’s Catholic College, Gateshead, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the operation of its Breakfast Club.

Launched in 2008, the Breakfast Club was created to ensure students were getting the most important meal of the day, enabling them to be more focused in their morning lessons.

After approaching the Red Cross to gain an understanding of how the Breakfast Club could operate, the concept was initiated by then Assistant Principal, Louise Roach; Year Co-ordinator, Patrick Beisler; Food Technology Assistant, Christine Shaw and supported by many generous students and staff, most notably Janice Lawrence and Debbie Hill.

Thanks to Christine’s tireless commitment to co-ordinating the program, along with continual support from Janice and Debbie, the Breakfast Club continues to operate smoothly and is able to feed 100 to 180 students each week.

“So many students and staff have shared in the running of the breakfast club,” said Christine Shaw.

“It is the collective effort of so many people operating out of a spirit of generosity and service which we will be celebrating during the 10th anniversary on 29 May.”

Brian O’Neill, from the local conference of St Vincent de Paul, has been instrumental in the Breakfast Club’s operation from the beginning, ensuring students have fruit to eat every morning. The college receives two boxes of fruit each week, which is available free of charge to all students.

The Breakfast Club also provides the opportunity for the school community to give real meaning to the college motto, ‘Ready to Serve’. Staff and students work side by side to provide a service to students in need.

Students delight in being given the responsibility of service. They continually rise to the occasion to help create a relaxed, caring and inclusive environment that ensures everyone feels welcome.

“Community means to care” (Jean Vanier) and this is demonstrated in a profoundly positive way through the operation of the Breakfast Club ‒ and it is a gift to be celebrated,” said Principal of St Mary’s, Larry Keating. 


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Amanda Skehan

Amanda Skehan was the Marketing Team Leader for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and a regular contributor to Aurora and mnnews.today.

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