We all need a great lunch

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.’’

Phone 021 815 634 or email sarah.turpitt@waika­todhb.health.nz.

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