Lunch buddy plan food for thought in schools
A Waihopai School mum wants to see a "buddy system" set up between low-decide and high-decile schools in Invercargill to make sure no kids are going hungry.
Paula Brown said she started thinking of ways to ensure kids in schools were getting their nutritional needs met, after watching a Campbell Live show on Monday night that asked children in one high-decile school and children in one low-decile school in the Auckland area to open up their lunchboxes.
She was shocked at the differences the show portrayed. In many cases, children had no lunches and didn't even come to school with a bag.
"It was heartwrenching, heartbreaking," she said yesterday. "There are kids going hungry and it shouldn't happen, and it's the nature of poverty that that would be here as well."
Eleven out of 29 schools in the Invercargill area are decile 3 or lower.
Mrs Brown's family was not wealthy by any standard, but her kids definitely went to their decile 9 school with "decile 10 lunchboxes."
"How easy would it be to make an extra sandwich or put aside an extra piece of fruit or a muesli bar, even two or three times a week. How easy would that be!"
A roster could be set up for parents to deliver boxes of lunch food to low decile schools two or three days a week.
Mrs Brown said she got the idea from a friend she discussed the show with on Tuesday morning.
"I got to thinking it was a simple, effective way to break the cycle. We could trial it at first and and eventually you could have all schools [in Invercargill] buddying up."
Waihopai School principal Allan Mitchell said he spoke to Mrs Brown on Tuesday about her idea.
He had worked in both high-decile and low-decile schools and was the vice-principal of a low-decile school that had closed.
He was aware that kids regularly came to school without lunches in the low-decile schools, he said.
Newfield Park School board chairman Graeme Pope said it would be helpful if Mrs Brown liaised with the principals and boards of each school to deliver any service like that with sensitivity.
It was hard for teachers to gauge if children were really coming to school without lunches or if they ate them at morning tea or simply chucked them away on the way to school if they didn't like their contents, he said.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure the need is as big as it is made out to be in the media.
"At Newfield Park it is not a big problem - we do have lunch supplies at hand - but it is an issue."
Southland Primary Principals Association president Peter Forde said if there was a need for lunches to be made for low-decile schools the association would be more than happy to support Mrs Brown's idea.
Mrs Brown said she would be speaking at a Friends of Waihopai School meeting on Monday night. email@example.com
- © Fairfax NZ News
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