Trust feeds Stratford’s hungry children
The Kai Kitchen has started feeding 52 Stratford children free lunches.
Kai Kitchen founder Rochelle Steer made a presentation to Stratford district councillors at last week’s meeting where she outlined the trust’s role in making 38,500 free school lunches for South Taranaki children since 2015.
“It’s a sad fact that we have children living in our community that go without the basic needs such as food, warmth and healthcare. Unfortunately we can’t do it all. The Kai Kitchen Trust’s focus is on food.”
The trust is looking for a kitchen in Stratford to prepare lunches and during the meeting was offered one by councillor Keryn Walsh. Volunteers will also be needed to prepare the lunches five days a week and Rochelle says more than 100 people had shown interest in being involved already. Some food including buns, fruit and cake is donated to the trust and the rest is purchased using donated funds.
A struggling family drove Rochelle to set up the trust. In 2015 she gave a family of seven children food for dinner as well as lunches. The following day the children had no food at school and it was suspected that the mother had traded some food for alcohol.
“We felt the only way around this was to feed the children directly so I approached the school and asked if we could make school lunches for the children who attended breakfast club. The very next day I delivered 12 lunches to their school.
“So we all decided that we will feed the children directly with the help of the schools and bypass the parents. It has been a complete success.” Rochelle says the Kai Kitchen has built wonderful relationship with schools and social services, who alert the trust which children need lunches.
The trust has fed children who have never had cake before or gone to a birthday party and helps out teenagers who for financial reasons can’t go to the school ball. Hygiene products, uniforms and stationery have also been supplied through the trust. Rochelle says the trust has mostly been welcomed with open arms into Stratford.
“We still have a lot of work to do here building relationships, but we are very happy to be here helping the kids. All of these children are treated as if they are my own. Their lunches are made with love and care just like my own children.”
The Kai Kitchen board of trustees, Hayley O’Keeffe, Maree Beare, Tane Hougston, Michelle Mills and Rochelle Steer.