Instead of cooking up a storm, some Ōtūmoetai College food technology students are creating recipe cards and packages with school-grown veges for the Tauranga Community Foodbank.
Returning to school after lockdown, Year 11 students in Ōtūmoetai College's food technology class were, like many, concerned about the impacts of Covid-19 on those around them.
They began brainstorming how they could help the many who suddenly lost their jobs.
Supplying home-made meals wasn't possible because of level 2 restrictions and only helpful in the short-term.
"The students were adamant they wanted to make a difference on an ongoing basis," teacher Lauren May said.
That's when they landed on the idea of recipe cards for the Tauranga Community Foodbank.
To get a better understanding of what the foodbank did, students met with manager Nicki Goodwin, staff, and volunteers, who explained to the students the work they had done and the massive demand they were facing.
Students learned what was in the parcels and how much was distributed to households.
May spoke with horticulture teacher Sally Price about the produce they grew, and the two school classes joined forces.
Price gave her students a list of the best produce to grow in the time left at school, and they got planting cabbages, broccoli, beans, silverbeet and herbs.
The list of produce combined with a list of common foodbank ingredients formed the basis for the range of ingredients the students used in their recipes.
The brief: Flexible, cheap, and easy for a range of cooking abilities.
Staff jumped in to create a panel of "keen tasters" to try out the concepts and recipes, and give feedback.
"It was quickly becoming a school community approach," May said.
Students perfected their concepts over term 3 through trialling, testing, and tweaking their ideas, before taking them back to the tasters.
Everything started coming together in term 4, with the recipe cards printed and laminated, including pictures so the recipients knew what the food was meant to look like.
The range of products developed included curries and casseroles, bakes and burgers. Meatless creations were popular but had the flexibility to add meat or fish if desired.
Last Thursday Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin was given the recipe cards as hard copies and in digital form, for current and future clients.
Parcels with the needed ingredients, including the horticulture students' veges, were also handed over.
May was proud of the "unwavering enthusiasm" and what was accomplished.
"Our students have proven their commitment to learning and demonstrated outstanding resilience and determination to make a difference in the world we live in."
Goodwin said the enthusiasm from the school and students had been "amazing", and the fact that it was done by a local school was the icing on the cake.
From coming down to the foodbank to learn what went into each parcel, a lot of thought had gone into the execution of this donation, and recipe cards were a "brilliant" idea.
"Clients will love it."
Goodwin said getting cookbooks was too expensive but having flexible recipe cards that used food staples would be a welcomed addition to the parcels now and in the future.