Stephanie is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Lunch scheme to start again

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Rotorua woman Tinaya Johnston says big things are coming her way in 2016. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua woman Tinaya Johnston says big things are coming her way in 2016. Photo / Stephen Parker

The woman who started making lunches for children who would have otherwise gone without has admitted the task was a tall order but says she does not regret it for a second.

The Rotorua Daily Post first spoke to local mum Tinaya Johnston in May after she started making packed lunches for $5 per child and an extra $1 per sibling a week. She continued making the lunches through to term four before falling ill and having to stop for the year.

Ms Johnston said the experience had been an eye opener.

"It became a bit much in the end. When I first started I thought there would be five or six families I could help out but when the story was published I was inundated with phone calls and Facebook messages.

"In the end I was doing lunches for 58 children and when I fell sick it just became too hard.

"I do feel bad because I got a lot of backlash over it but I definitely don't regret doing it, not for a second. I'll admit I wasn't very organised but I am starting it up again this year and I'm partnering with my neighbour so it will be a joint effort.

We have a clearer plan so the process will run smoothly and be more stable."

Ms Johnston has also enrolled in a culinary course with her sights set on becoming qualified in patisserie and bakery.

"I have worked as a commercial baker before but never got any qualifications in the area. I figured it was time to go back and study to set a good example for my daughter. The school lunches and continuing my study are going to be my two main focuses this year. I want the school lunches to be bigger and better so more children in our community can benefit from it. Nobody is perfect but if I can help others - even if it's only a little bit - then I think that is a pretty good effort."

She said her passion for "feeding the next generation" would never be dimmed.

"I want my daughter to be able to look up to her mum and be proud. My daughter is my inspiration for everything I do."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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