Kids will get Eat My Lunch at home during Covid-19 lockdown

2:57 pm on 6 April 2020

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help deliver food packs to children's homes in Auckland and Wellington.

Eat My Lunch is continuing its programme to provide lunch to schoolkids during lockdown, by sending food packs to their homes.

Eat My Lunch has donated more than a million school lunches, but under lockdown is now delivering lunch packs to homes. Photo: Supplied

Until the Covid-19 lockdown the team at Eat My Lunch was feeding about 2000 kids a day, across 77 schools in Auckland and Wellington.

Starting this week, these kids will have boxes delivered to their homes, with milk and ingredients for a week's worth of healthy lunches.

Eat My Lunch Founder Lisa King said the need to feed hungry kids doesn't go away just because schools are shut. If anything, the need would be greater, she said.

"When you think about when the kids are at school. For a lot of them, it was their only access to food. So when you take that away and they're at home, they don't have that access anymore.

"Just yesterday we did an emergency drop to one of the families from one of our schools because they were waiting for some of the welfare to come through."

She said packing has begun today, and tomorrow Eat My Lunch will be delivering to about 1000 kids.

Foodstuffs has donated $100,000 to help launch the intiative, named Give, which will cost about $40,000 each week.

As of midday Monday, a Givelittle page had collected more than $22,000.

Eat My Lunch has had to completely revamp the way it operates, to continue it's efforts feeding school-aged children.

When schools shut last week, Eat My Lunch reached out via email to the families of the 2000 kids in the schools programme.

About 1500 have already responded asking to please keep the food coming, but it's old original funding model wasn't going to work.

Traditionally Eat My Lunch has relied on corporate businesses buying lunches to fund the free lunches for kids with a 'Buy one, Give one' model.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown, most of the corporate demand has disappeared, although Eat My Lunch is providing food to some essential services, as well as making home deliveries of boxes of fresh groceries.

Eat My Lunch: Social enterprise & money-making venture co-owner Lisa King

Eat My Lunch founder Lisa King Photo: RNZ / YouTube

"The reality is that our new business services are not generating anywhere near the money necessary to fully fund the social side. In addition, our costs are higher as we need to deliver direct to homes and use paid staff to pack and deliver food - instead of volunteers," King said.

She said the company would love to expand into the regions, but right now the team is focusing on immediate need.

"If the lockdown goes on for longer than we expect, we need to make sure we can keep delivering to those kids.

"But of course there's a huge need. And who knows where this could go. It could be a new way of us helping to feed kids, even post the lockdown. Hopefully we can do a lot more in the future.

"There's probably a lot that can be done, it's probably just a matter of funding and also willingness to work together."

Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quin said this need was critical - "so this is a pragmatic, fast way to get help to where it's needed".

"This new programme is a great example of how organisations can respond to major challenges and completely rethink how they operate, while staying true to their core purpose. Foodstuffs is proud to get things going with our $100,000 donation."

Fonterra is providing milk from its Milk in Schools programme to be included in the lunch packs, and Nanogirl Dr Michelle Dickinson is including a science experiment worksheet for kids to do at home.

Scaling up the home delivery programme beyond the current 2000 kids in the schools programme would depend on funding, logistics and the length of the schools closure, King said.

Eat My Lunch has been given Essential Service status under the Covid-19 lockdown.

Staff adhere to the strictest processes and procedures to ensure full compliance of all Food Safety regulations and Level 4 guidelines.

The Eat My Lunch weekly Give pack will include:

  • a loaf of wholemeal bread
  • fresh vegetables (lettuce, carrots, tomatoes)
  • ham and tuna
  • 5 servings of fruit (apples, bananas, pears)
  • snacks (biscuits, popcorn, vege chips)
  • 5 servings of Anchor Milk
  • A Nanogirl science experiment worksheet to help build superpowers at home

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