Daily lunch for 700 children

Kai for Kids founder Jo Taylor receives a cheque for $1000 from Ashburton College Year 10 student Honey Reuben, who is part of a Maori innovation business class involved in an enterprise project that choose the lunch project as a recipient of class profits. A number of the students involved have younger siblings benefitting from school lunches. Below: Lunches lined up and being prepared through the Kai For Kids project.

More than 100,000 meals have been made and distributed through Ashburton’s Kai For Kids project over the past 12 months.

The school lunch initiative now produces almost 700 nutritious meals each school day.

Run through the Kai for Kids Charitable Trust, the service has expanded from a pilot project at Netherby School in 2020 to include Hampstead and Chertsey schools, Merle Leask Kindergarten, 30 meals at Hinds School, 24 at Borough School and nine at Ashburton Baptist Preschool.

Speaking at a morning tea gathering held last week to thank sponsors and supporters, Kai For Kids founder Jo Taylor said the project had achieved so much in 2021.

The service now employed eight people and was well supported by local business that sent volunteers to lend a hand each week and also by local funding bodies like Advance Ashburton and the Lion Foundation.

Many others in the community also put their hands up to offer human resources, legal and financial support.

Mrs Taylor said 100,340 meals had been distributed this year and the service hoped to expand further next year.

Healthy nutritious meals have been prepared in the kitchen at the Ashburton Racecourse since May and a minibus lent by the Salvation Army is used for distribution.

Mrs Taylor said funding support had enabled the project to buy bigger equipment and to build capability.

“There is more to do in 2022 and more to add to the community,” she said.

Each meal provided through Kai for Kids contains a balance of vegetables, meat and grains along with fruit and yoghurt.

Main lunch offerings include tasty butter chicken, cottage pie, pizza, lasagne, vegetable soup and sandwiches.

-By Mick Jensen