Are Eat Right Be Bright going to profit off this universal school lunch programme?
No. We are in the process of registering Eat Right Be Bright as a charitable trust to be an independent voice for children, their health and education. Everyone involved in Eat Right Be Bright is working voluntarily. We just want to see every child fed nutritiously at every school every day as simply part of their education – no strings attached.
Why a school lunch?
88% of countries around the world feed their kids at school, a school lunch is just part of a child’s education. Good food, nutrition and health supports a child’s readiness to learn at school and reach their full potential.
Why are kids hungry?
A child at school without food often the result of poverty. For a low income family it can be up to 60% of their income to put together a basic healthy diet; rent is running at 60% so something has got to give and it is invariable food. Whatever the reason, it makes no sense to let a child go without. That child is our future. Let’s give them a meal at school watch them grow and feel valued.
Is this just another cost?
A school lunch is a human capital investment giving kids a healthy start in life which they will take into adulthood, potentially reducing these public health costs in the future. In fact, it has been calculated that for every $1 spent by a nation on a school lunch programme it brings an economic return of $3-$10 in improvements in health, education and productivity (World Food Programme, UN).
New Zealand has no culture of school dinners, it wouldn’t work
Since when has that ever stopped a Kiwi doing something? Kiwi ingenuity is renowned. Countries overseas have started universal school lunch programmes without even half the infrastructure that we have. In fact, we could do it better than anywhere else – take the best bits from overseas and apply them to what is unique for Aotearoa.
Why a universal programme and not a targeted one?
Every child gets a boost, healthwise and academically from a school lunch programme. For kids in lower socio-economic families that boost is greatest. It’s important that all kids can have a school lunch because it ensures that all children in need are reached, wherever they are, whatever their circumstances, free from shame and stigma.
It wouldn’t work in New Zealand because how would you get food to rural schools?
This is possible! We’ve spoken with a large distribution company who have confirmed that this does is not a problem and have even offered to help with delivery of ingredients as they are in these areas daily. Also, what a great community business opportunity in a rural area!
Could school lunches accommodate children with allergies, intolerances or religious beliefs?
In every other catering situation and in school programmes around the world they cater for special dietary requirements (eg vegetarian, allergies, gluten/lactose intolerances, religious reasons). Schools would work with children and parents to minimise stress and give assurance where needed (even inviting the parent/carer to join the child for lunch initially) Parents could also have the ability to opt out if they remain worried.
Fussy Eaters. My kid never eats his food….wouldn’t there just be masses of food waste?
We understand, we’re parents too! Children often try new foods because their friends are eating it and soon these new foods become familiar foods and are eaten as a matter of course.
How would it work, most kiwi schools don’t have kitchens?
Most towns have commercial kitchens though or unused kitchens in the community that could possibly be utilised. Even if there has to be some capital investment in kitchens in schools, the pay-off is a healthier, brighter generation of Kiwis.
“children have a right to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity”
– UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 28