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Eat My Lunch Awarded Tender For Government’s Ka Ora, Ka Ako Healthy School Lunches Programme

New Zealand social enterprise Eat My Lunch announced today it has won a tender for the Government’s Ka Ora, Ka Ako|Healthy School Lunches Programme, with the contract set to enable the business to provide lunches for approximately 16,500 Kiwi kids a day from next year; equating to 3.3 million lunches provided for children in 2021.

The announcement follows the last budget round, in which the Government committed to feeding 200,000 children a day in New Zealand in 2021 via a universal school lunch programme; an area of particular focus as many households experience heightened financial stress due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Eat My Lunch agreement will see the social enterprise providing lunches to schools across the Auckland and Wellington regions from Term 1 next year.

Social entrepreneur and Eat My Lunch founder, Lisa King, says the involvement in Ka Ora, Ka Ako is an incredible opportunity to provide healthy lunches for more children as the business grows its offering.

“When I first started Eat My Lunch, our goal was to give 10,000 lunches a day by 2023 – so being involved in an initiative like this places us in a position beyond what we’d ever imagined we’d be able to achieve,” says Lisa.

Currently, Eat My Lunch feeds approximately 1,800 Kiwi kids a day in 77 schools across Auckland and Wellington, funded by its ‘Buy One, Give One’ model that sees New Zealanders buy a lunch in order to give a free lunch to kids at the same time.

41 of the 77 Eat My Lunch schools are currently part of the Ministry of Education programme, with another 150 schools on the waiting list; and Eat My Lunch plans to continue its Buy One, Give One model to continue supporting those schools.

“The benefits of a regular, nutritious lunch for growing and learning children are incredibly positive, so for us to be able to provide nine times more lunches than we do currently, we’ll be able to make a huge difference to Kiwi kids and continue to support their physical, mental and educational development,” says Lisa.

To scale up to deliver the number of lunches planned as part of Ka Ora, Ka Ako – which have been specifically developed to meet the Ministry of Health’s high nutrition guidelines, and will be packaged in fully compostable packaging - Eat My Lunch will be employing another 189 people, on top of its current team of 40.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be offered the opportunity to provide nutritious food to more Kiwi children in need, and at the same time offer employment to more New Zealanders,” says Kellie Burbidge, Eat My Lunch General Manager.

Eat My Lunch began five years ago when Lisa King saw an opportunity to make a difference to the issue of child poverty in New Zealand and started the business from her home kitchen, with the overarching mission to ensure that no Kiwi child goes without nutritious food at school.

The concept was embraced by New Zealanders and in five years, Eat My Lunch has given over 1.6 million lunches; and beyond its 40 permanent employees, over 25,000 people from the community have volunteered their time to make free lunches for kids.

As one of the country’s most well-known social enterprises, Lisa says that over the years, Eat My Lunch has demonstrated that a business with purpose can drive change and help create momentum for change; a concept that is only strengthened by the news of its acquisition of the Ka Ora, Ka Ako tender.

“We believe that Eat My Lunch has brought attention to the issue of child poverty and helped to bring a programme like the healthy school lunches programme to life much faster than it perhaps would have taken otherwise,” says Lisa.

“What we have achieved is a brilliant example of the fact that businesses centred on social purpose can generate real change. We are so proud to be a part of this initiative and to use our learnings from the last five years to help make a difference for even more Kiwi kids.”

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