We all need a great lunch
Like the food it provides to Tokoroa children the Ka Pai Kai school lunch programme is in a healthy place as it prepares to become independent of the Waikato District Health Board.
Eighteen months ago Tokoroa Hospital Food and Environmental Services manager Sarah Turpitt started the programme as a pilot scheme with Amisfield Primary School principal Bex Kilgour.
The aim was to make tasty nutritional food available to children daily at an affordable price in order to encourage healthier eaters and to curb shocking child obesity.
It has now spread to several local primary schools and Turpitt runs it with a dedicated team of 10 core volunteers who put together up to 150 salads, nuts, fruit, wraps, lasagne, and macaroni cheese lunches everyday.
While the lunches were originally made in the hospital’s kitchen, for the last eight weeks they have been made at the Tokoroa Club as the programme prepares to become independent of the district health board.
Turpitt said it was now in ‘‘good shape’’ for someone to step in and take over.
‘‘I’d like to see it become an incorporated society and possibly a charitable trust, ‘‘she said.
‘‘I don’t think it is of benefit to the project that it continues to sit under the district health board because it entails a lot of restriction regarding suppliers, donations and sponsorship.’’
‘‘Ideally Ka Pai Kai would be an independent agency and we would have our food sourced through repurposed food waste, local suppliers donating food product, and the schools themselves growing food because we are trying to drive the price down so it is really accessible to everyone,’’ she said.
She said volunteers have helped keep costs down but further engagement with the community could help reduce overall production costs even further.
‘‘Food, packaging and delivery is costing at the moment but all those could easily be offset with engagement with the community and through support from the private sector,’’ she said.
‘‘It also really needs one funded role for an operations manager because it is quite a big job so we have approached our public sector for some funding too.’’
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