TEACHERS at Cleveland State School no longer have to dig into their own pocket to feed, dress and equip their most vulnerable students.
A $6000 donation to the school's Yanggabara program means disadvantaged children can now be given funded tuckshop food vouchers, uniforms, educational supplies and excursion allowances when needed.
It is all part of the school's Wellbeing Project, which is a school-wide initiative to boost the physical and mental health of enrolled students.
The money, half accrued by the Lions Club of Cleveland Challenge through transactions at IGA Market Place Cleveland and topped up to $6000 by the bayside grocery store, was handed to principal Mark Ionn and guidance officer Veronica Briggs on Friday.
Mr Ionn said all donated money was greatly appreciated.
"Prior to gaining support, these funds came directly from staff to fill this gap in disadvantage,” he said.
“We ask the community to be a part of what we do in the school.”
Yanggabara means “safe place” in the Quandamooka language and the program is targeted at supporting at-risk children in an effort to help them thrive at school.
Children who arrive to school with empty lunch boxes, school uniforms astray and without educational supplies, are referred by their teacher to the school’s welfare team to receive assistance in the program’s Yanggabara room.
While the program only began last year, students have already embraced the concept.
Mr Ionn, who is completing doctoral study research into the Wellbeing Project, said children had painted signage for the room with help from Quandamooka artist Delvine Cockatoo-Collins.
"We believe not only this room, but the whole school, should be a safe place," Mr Ionn said.
Guidance officer Veronica Briggs said reducing the stigma attached to disadvantage was important, with discretion key to the program’s success.
"Sometimes our most vulnerable students might need to access to food, uniforms or book packs,” she said.
“This is to enable them to improve their self-esteem and to help them thrive in the classroom.”
Community representatives at the money hand-over were Lions Club of Cleveland Challenge president Pauline Denisenko, secretary Celeste Parker, IGA community liaison Grace McSorley and Cleveland IGA store manager Popi Parardisis.
Both Ms Denisenko and Ms Parardisis agreed Cleveland State School’s Yanggabara program was a great cause.
With the $3227 raised through My IGA Card transactions, Ms Denisenko said she was a great believer in “shopping local” to help local charity efforts.
Ms Paradisis said staff at IGA Market Place Cleveland were honoured to support the community with the donation to Cleveland State School.