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Eleventh hour rescue of free lunch scheme for schools

The children who have been supported by Fill Their Lunchbox, which recently had to close its doors, have been thrown a lifeline by Foodstuffs South Island and Eat My Lunch. Eat My Lunch is similar to the Christchurch social enterprise and currently provides free lunches to thousands of needy children in low decile schools elsewhere in New Zealand.

Eat My Lunch will fill the gap left by Fill Their Lunchbox, using one of Foodstuffs’ commercial kitchens, allowing the supply of free lunches to continue for children who would otherwise go without.

Foodstuffs is the South Island’s largest supermarket operator and owner of the PAK'nSAVE, New World and Four Square supermarket brands. Chief Executive, Steve Anderson says the partnership with Eat My Lunch provides a short-term solution, while they implement a longer-term plan.

“Our motto at Foodstuffs is Feed the South Island, and anything we can do to help another enterprise also committed to doing this, deserves our support. We are pleased to be working with Eat My Lunch to ensure low-decile schools continue to get healthy, well-prepared lunches for kids in need.

“Together with Eat My Lunch we will work to build on what Fill Their Lunchbox started, creating a stronger foundation and platform which allows Canterbury businesses and individuals to buy their own lunch, knowing another will be Given to children in need. Once they are up and running we’ll work together to find ways to extend the programme in the South Island.”

Fill Their Lunchbox announced last month that it was financially unable to continue providing free packed lunches to Canterbury schools. Eat My Lunch works on a similar buy one - give one model and has given over 900,618 lunches to Kiwi kids. They are targeting 1,000,000 by September, and this opportunity in the south will help deliver on that objective.

Lisa King, Founder of Eat My Lunch, was over the moon when Foodstuffs South Island put their hand up. “As far as we’re concerned, the children come first. We’re excited to be able to step in and pick up on the incredible work Fill Their Lunchbox has done in the Canterbury region. The team is as passionate as they were about nurturing young New Zealanders and enabling them to thrive.”

Fill Their Lunchbox closed its doors on August 9, and Anderson says he hopes that within a few weeks the team will restart under the Eat My Lunch banner and support the many low decile schools to whom they have been delivering lunches.

The last word goes to Ben Atkinson, Founder of Fill Their Lunchbox, “We’re all on the same page. We want every New Zealand child to be at their best to learn and grow. They can’t do that on empty tummies – so I’m excited that what we started will keep going and even grow thanks to Eat My Lunch and Foodstuffs South Island.”


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