Addressing a "critical" need is the aim of a social enterprise providing free meals to schools that haven't yet qualified for Government-funded lunches.
Te Puke social enterprise the Daily Charitable Trust won a Government contract to supply lunches to six Te Puke schools last year through the Ka Ora, Ka Ako lunches in schools programme, feeding 2000 local students.
However, the schools that weren't selected still needed food support for some hungry students - and that's when the social enterprise stepped in to help.
It started providing free lunches to four schools, which trust chief executive Jo Reha described as a "really exciting moment".
Reha said the free meals took "the sting away" for schools not selected for the Government-funded lunches in schools programme.
About 150 meals were distributed across Fairhaven School, Paengaroa School, Pongokawa School and Te Ranga School five times a week.
"As a community, we were disappointed that they didn't get selected," Reha said.
While the meals were serving students in "critical" need, Reha said they wanted to increase this amount over time so that every student would receive a free lunch.
"We are meeting the real crisis need at the moment. We would like to bump up to the ones that could do with some good hearty food," she said.
"Te Puke has a really tricky demographic. We have some of the most incredibly wealthy in our whole country because of our horticultural community.
"And yet all of our schools are decile 6 or under. In every school our principals were communicating that there are families really needing food."
Reha said the charity was using the nutritional knowledge provided by the Ministry as part of Ka Ora, Ka Ako and applying it to the other 150 free school lunches.
Volunteers helped prepare the food from 6am to 8am each day, with some of the ingredients sourced from local food rescues.
"We started using food rescues to try and build ourselves up to feeding a lot more people," she said.
The Ministry had recently confirmed the social enterprise would be a Ka Ora, Ka Ako provider for the next two years.
Reha hoped this profit would help to increase their reach within the schools that are not part of the programme - benefitting every student across the four schools.
Paengaroa School had been receiving 30 free "lovely and fresh" lunches from The Daily Charitable Trust for the past term.
Principal Bruce Lendrem said it was "really wonderful" to get the regular food support.
"You can tell they are made with love," he said.
"We have a need for them. The need is not always 30, sometimes it is 200. But we are very happy.
"It is really about equity and fairness. Even providing the 30 lunches that they do for our school is an expensive exercise."
Fairhaven School principal Paul Hunt said the lunches were "making a huge difference" for the school - which had been receiving the meals since earlier this year.
"It's awesome that we are able to get lunches to feed the children most in need. The kids really look forward to their lunches - they have a smile on their face and a happy tummy.
"We are just really pleased to have an organisation like The Daily that looks after the town in so many ways."
More than $15 million has been spent on a school lunch programme for students in the Bay of Plenty since its launch last year.
There are 104 schools in the Bay taking part in the Ka Ora, Ka Ako programme which was launched in 2020 for schools at a high socio-economic disadvantage.
Lunches are provided at a maximum per child, per day cost of $5 for students in Years 1 to 8, and $7 for students in Year 9 and older.