FRESH IS BEST: Ballina High School canteen co-ordinator Julie Gilmour and volunteer Pam Blowse get healthy lunches ready for the influx of hungry students.
FRESH IS BEST: Ballina High School canteen co-ordinator Julie Gilmour and volunteer Pam Blowse get healthy lunches ready for the influx of hungry students.

Healthy food on menu at canteen

WHEN the bell rings for recess and lunch at Ballina High School, hordes of hungry students rush to the canteen.


But it’s not pies and sausage rolls they want.


The canteen now specialises in fresh and healthy – and tasty – sandwiches, rolls and fruit salads.


Canteen co-ordinator Julie Gilmour has made sure of that.


She roasts beef every day to slice up for rolls, and her homemade chilli jam, which she uses on wraps, is now getting quite a reputation.


“Everything’s freshly made and it’s good and healthy,” Ms Gilmour said.


“The kids have been really responsive to the changes – no one wants the junk food anymore and no one minds that we use only wholemeal or multigrain bread.


“Having a healthy diet is just so important for young people.”


But Ms Gilmour needs a few more helpers in the canteen kitchen.


Volunteers don’t need to commit to hours of their time each day – just two hours or so a week would help.


P&C treasurer Kate Curtin said they would particularly like to see grandparents and older members of the community at the school.


“We think it might be a nice way for people to give back,” she said.


“The canteen is a really worthwhile part of our school, and having healthy food available now will make such a big difference to the kids’ education.


“They will be able to concentrate better and focus.


“It’s a comforting place to volunteer and we can provide any training that people might need. Men can help as well – this isn’t just a job for women.


“Volunteers can gain a lot from helping out at the school, and we’re getting air-conditioning in the canteen soon.”


Students from the school’s special education unit who are studying hospitality also help out in the canteen, so volunteers would be able to assist these students with their jobs.


People are also needed to volunteer in the library, as educational tutors, school radio announcers, special project helpers, mentor program support people, quality work portfolio program supporters and for other special projects.


Principal Phil Steer said he was keen to have a ‘skills register’ which would be referred to when there are projects that require volunteers with certain skills.


“If you have a particular skill or if your service club or organisation wishes to volunteer with us, this is the time to register,” he said.


“There are benefits of volunteering for the volunteer, students and the school.”


Phone Ballina High School on 6686 2133 to register your interest in volunteering or ask to speak to community liaison officer Kim Hernage for more information.


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