Kids learn better with a full stomach. That's why we launched our Lunches in Schools programme, which is already providing free and healthy school lunches to thousands of children so they can focus on what's important - learning.
Child poverty is a complex issue that's going to take time to fix, but one thing we can do straight away is to make sure kids get at least one decent meal a day.
We have already rolled out our programme to 31 schools, delivering free and healthy lunches to 7,000 children. We’ve deliberately targeted areas that will help inform how to work differently in different contexts – from big urban primary schools to small rural area schools.
By 2021, it’ll be rolled out to 120 schools and 20,000 students.
Many schools are using the food in schools programme as part of an inquiry project into healthy eating. While putting lunches in schools is about making sure kids are eating, it’s also about teaching kids healthy eating, good habits, and what makes up a nutritious meal. What's more, some schools even have garden programmes which they’re integrating with the lunches in schools programme, so kids can learn more about where their food comes from, and even discover how to grow their own!
We've been told by teachers and principals that the simple act of providing a healthy, nutritious lunch to their kids is already making a difference in the classroom - and we look forward to hearing more of these stories as the programme continues to roll out.
It's clear this programme is reaching further than just a free lunch – it’s already creating jobs for local families, helping our kids focus and learn, and setting the future generation up with skills that will last them a lifetime.
Putting nutritious food in schools is one way we know we can help to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.