Franklin’s canteen crisis

Franklin Public School canteen volunteers Dora Du, Margaret Garard, Shirley Rankin and canteen coordinator Jenny Hodges badly need more recruits.

The Franklin Public School canteen desperately needs to recruit volunteers to prevent it from being shut down.

The canteen is tied in with the Franklin P and C, and at the February P and C meeting a quorum couldn’t be reached. Both are in serious danger of folding.

Canteen coordinator Jenny Hodges and her current group of volunteers are doing the equivalent of bailing water out of a boat to keep it afloat.

Two of Mrs Hodges’s sisters have joined to keep it going.

“We can’t get enough volunteers, and a lot of people can only come in once a month or so,” she said.

The canteen is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, providing low-cost, healthy food, and therefore taking some pressure off students’ families.

“We’re not here for the fun of it; we’re trying to help out parents,” Mrs Hodges said.

“We know the parents would miss it if it closed, but we have other things to do.”

With no canteen and lunch orders, there will be no fundraising to go to Franklin Cover. The money the P and C puts towards Franklin Cover each year saves parents $140 for each student.

Franklin Cover funded by the P and C each year is as follows;

Transport costs: $10 per student.

Art exhibition bus for all students: $2 per student.

Stage 1 excursion to REEC: $3000.

Stage 2 excursion to Canberra: $3000.

Stage 3 excursion.

The P and C committee needs a secretary, treasurer, and a new canteen coordinator. Without these volunteers the P and C and canteen can’t run, and fundraising such as street stalls, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day stalls and meal deals can’t run either.

“Without the canteen, a lot of children would not have anything to eat; someone here at the school would have to make them a sandwich.”

Ultimately, Mrs Hodges would like to see the canteen return to running five days a week.

“We would be able to contribute more money to the school,” she said.

However, at this point the mission is to keep the canteen going – full stop.

“With Covid, a lot of the parents have disengaged,” Mrs Hodges said.

Another problem is that teachers aren’t permitted on the P and C, which is unfortunate because some Franklin teachers would like to be.

The canteen also has a breakfast club which opens at 8am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, providing breakfast for students who may not be able to get it otherwise.

“The kids love coming to it,” Mrs Hodges said.

“We have cereal and fruit, which is donated by Coles; they have given us great support.”   

All potential canteen volunteers need is a Working With Children check; they do not have to have children at the school.

Anyone interested should contact the Franklin Public School office on 6947 1533. 

“Many hands make light work,” Mrs Hodges said.