Carterton man wants free fruit in schools
A Carterton man has a dream to give every student in Wairarapa the chance to eat a piece of fruit every day grown at their own school.
Hayden Mischefski has put a total of 30 mandarin and feijoa trees into eight schools in Carterton and Masterton and, if he can get funding, is aiming to increase the programme to cover the entire Wairarapa.
When he first moved to Carterton eight years ago, Mischefski said there was a lot of media coverage regarding the lack of fresh fruit in New Zealand children’s diets and the way some families just couldn’t afford it.
With a son of his own, Mischefski knew the importance of children having a proper diet and fondly recounts spending time on his grandparents’ farm as a child learning the value of growing your own food.
‘‘I looked into ways I could actively do something in the community and started a fruit donation service called Glow Bugs where people could gift extra fruit they had to food banks and other charity services.
‘‘I then thought about how great it would be to actually put fruit trees into schools so kids at certain times of the year could just get a piece of fruit at school.
‘‘So far I have managed to crowd-source money to put a number of trees into several different schools.’’
One of the schools, South End in Carterton, was already involved in the nationwide Enviroschools project to think and act sustainably.
Part of that project is to grow food and teach children the benefits of proper nutrition and a balanced diet.
Teacher Julie Jones said they were happy for Mischefski to contribute to their existing project.
‘‘He is really passionate about making a difference and said he wanted to expand the project region-wide, which sounds like a great idea. We already had some trees but the additional trees Hayden supplied will definitely help.’’
Student Oliver Sandall said he loved the project and had seen older students doing it so wanted to become involved.
‘‘I’ve been on the Enviroschools project for three years now and I think it’s great.’’
Mischefski’s Glow Bugs charity can be found on Facebook and he welcomes any assistance people are able to provide.
South End School students, from left, Zack, Kaspar and Oliver are enthusiastic about having fruit trees at their school.