Pupils at Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Clonburris National School in Clondalkin, Dublin chanted “stop wasting food” and held placards with demands like “don't let me decompose.”
The primary school, where Dublin GAA manager Jim Gavin is a former pupil, took part in the Hunger Heroes campaign run by aid agency Concern Worldwide, which raises awareness of the global hunger crisis and teaches children how they can help solve it.
Schools across the country are urged to join the campaign and to mark Hunger Heroes Day on Friday, October 27 - when students can leave their uniforms at home and go to school in fun costumes while learning how they can help the 815 million people in the world who do not have enough food to eat.
The stark figure, which amounts to 11 per cent of the world’s population, was revealed by the United Nations just last week and is up 38 million from the 777 million people estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2015.
Concern Worldwide said 30 per cent of all food in the world (1.3 billion tonnes) is being wasted, which it said would be enough to feed all the world's hungry four times over.
In Ireland, it is estimated that one million tonnes of food is let go to waste and that this costs each household an average of €700 a year.
“It’s not very nice to waste food,” said Katie Gallagher (6), who was one of the children who took part in Hunger Heroes at Clonburris National School in Clondalkin.
Katie also pointed out that people who waste food risk creating a pungent stench in their own home when she explained: “That means you are going to have a very bad smell in your house.”
Lauren Wright, Concern's Schools and Youth Programme officer said:
Hunger Heroes is about fighting hunger and food waste locally, in our schools and in our kitchens
This is a fun campaign for schools about very serious issues that affect us all. It teaches children the connection between food waste and world hunger and how they can help build a future where they can be significantly reduced.It teaches children the connection between food waste and world hunger and how they can help build a future where they can be significantly reduced.
One of the things we teach is how to store food properly in a fridge or if it should be in a fridge at all - and to be clever about food shopping. We urge schools to contact us and to take part in Hunger Heroes, which will make Ireland’s children and their families more aware of this issue and its consequences.
Lauren said every school that takes part is sent an information pack full of games, posters, fact sheets and lessons for students, who each get a Hunger Hero certificate for participating.
Last week’s joint report from the United Nations on world hunger showed the number of hungry people in the world increased for the first time since the turn of the century - and it has sparked concern that conflict and climate change could be reversing years of progress.
To take part in the Hunger Heroes campaign, schools should contact Concern’s Lauren Wright at [email protected] or 01 4178078.
For more information or interview requests, please call Kevin Jenkinson at 086 358 2886 or by email: [email protected]