Auckland mayor Phil Goff took a break from paperwork this morning to pack hundreds of ham and coleslaw sandwiches for hungry Kiwi kids.
The social enterprise operates on a one-for-one policy - for every lunch bought, another is given to a schoolkid in need.
Goff was at the Auckland headquarters of Eat My Lunch, a social enterprise that operates on a "buy one, give one" policy - for every meal bought, another is given to a schoolkid in need.
He and Auckland councillors Linda Cooper, Richard Hills and Desley Simpson joined volunteers from 6.30am, packing sandwiches, a plum or apple and a handful of pretzels into each package.
About 2300 lunches will be delivered to 50 schools in Auckland today.
It was Goff's second time helping out at EML. He has "huge respect" for the business and the volunteers who turn up each week.
Some recipient schools are in Mt Roskill, his former electorate as a Labour MP.
"The teachers at those schools have said to me, 'You wouldn't believe how good it is for these kids to get a decent meal. They focus better and especially in the afternoon, they learn better'," he said.
"It's hard for a lot of us to understand what it's like to be hungry. For most of us we get hungry if we're late for dinner, not because we've missed meals. But if Mum and Dad are putting 60 per cent of household income into rent, they're struggling to feed their kids."
Helping make lunches is a "human statement" rather than a political statement, Goff said.
"We might make a judgement on the parents, thinking 'surely they can give the kids something for lunch'. But I know families out there are really struggling. Sometimes mums and dads eat less so they can feed their kids."
The Salvation Army's latest report said food parcel requests were up 12 per cent in the last year - showing just how poorly some families were coping, he said.
"There are always one or two that abuse the system but ... even in those cases, or when you might think maybe the parents could look at organising their budget better - but that doesn't help the kid who's hungry at school right now."
Goff was happy to see the Government committing to improving housing affordability and tackling child poverty.
"It would be wonderful to think that one day there won't be a need for what the volunteers do here ... but meantime there is a need, and it's better to meet it."