Grant helps to provide low-cost meals for kids
A funding boost will see more Rotorua primary school children able to order a nutritious and affordable lunch as Ka Pai Kai Rotorua gears up to fill as many young bellies as possible.
It’s hoped the $12,500 grant from BayTrust will help the charity expand its low-cost lunch order service into more schools in the near future.
Nine schools are already involved in the initiative and the money will help cover operational costs so the programme can continue to expand.
Ka Pai Kai treasurer Aroha Dorset said they were “absolutely stoked”.
“Because we only sell lunches at cost, we need to find money to fund all of our overheads. Every bit helps, especially when we’re starting off and trying to grow. Growing actually costs a lot of money.”
Ka Pai Kai Rotorua is searching for a new location to set up a commercial kitchen and wants to buy more equipment so it can service more schools.
Dorset said one of their main goals was to be self-sustaining.
“Ideas on how to do that include selling workplace lunches, frozen meals for family dinners, and a lunch bar for local mountain bikers or people attending multisport events in Rotorua.
“We’re also looking to get into the education space as well by setting up cooking classes, running school holiday programmes or teaching kids about nutrition in the classroom. We don’t just want to feed them, we want to teach them to feed themselves.”
Ka Pai Kai Rotorua began in mid-2017 and now makes and delivers 600 to 800 school lunches a week. Prices vary from $2.50 for soup and a bread roll, to $4.50 for hot lasagne or cottage pie.
Several corporate sponsors have come on board so some schools receive free lunches or a further discount.
“The feedback we’ve had from schools is attendance rates are better and concentration levels are better,” Dorset said.
Ingredients are sourced locally where possible and each lunch is designed to be nutritious, filling and affordable.
BayTrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes said the new grant acknowledged the important work Ka Pai Kai was doing to address poverty in the community and help Rotorua children to thrive.
Karyn Rogers preparing lunches as part of the Ka Pai Kai initiative.