National | Children's programme

Ka Pai Kai Rotorua on the lookout for new volunteers

A Rotorua non-profitable charity hopes to influence children's eating habits.

Ka Pai Kai Rotorua, who provide healthy school lunches, are on a break until term three starts up next week.

However, they are on the hunt for more volunteers to help them out.

Ka Pai Kai Rotorua is drawing in new volunteers to help with making 150 plus school lunches a day during the school term.

Aroha Dorset of Ka Pai Kai Rotorua says “There's lots to be done and we've grown from one school to eight schools in a year so the need is obviously there and we want to go nationwide.”

The non-profit group operates from Taharangi Marae, providing heathy lunch options for eight of the 27 schools in Rotorua. They cater for primary and intermediate level.

All up they have 30 volunteers but they need more.

Maxine Parker who is new to Ka Pai Kai Rotorua says, “When the opportunity came I thought 'yup...I can donate that amount of my time'.  [It] doesn't matter what else I need to do, our community needs this and I'm proud to be part of it.”

Judith Cumberlidge, who has been volunteering since Ka Pai Kai Rotorua began, wants other to come forward.

“I just enjoy it and to see the wonderful food that goes to our children in our schools, it's just incredible.”

According to Otago University's Child Poverty Unit, more than one in four New Zealand children live in low-income households which bring in less than 60 percent of the national median income.

Those families at times might go without fresh fruit and vegetables.

Chairwomen of Ka Pai Kai Rotorua Jasmin Jackson says, “We've seen that schools want it.  More schools would like to come on board, so as soon as we have got the capacity we will have more schools.  There is a waiting list at the moment.”

Ka Pai Kai Rotorua celebrates their first year of operation this month.