Children can't learn on an empty tummy.

Doreen Hardy is the ring leader behind eight hot lunches at Churton School in Aramoho during the winter term - and she has rallied her helpers to provide a hot Christmas lunch as well.

The 141 children at school sat down at tables in the school hall yesterday and after a karakia they tucked into roast lamb, chicken and ham, meatballs, roasted root vegetables, brocolli, cauliflower, and a selection of salads.

Dessert was mini pavlovas, truffles, steamed pudding, fruit salad and custard, and they each went home with some Christmas shortbread and a Christmas tree decoration.

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The budget for the meal was $200, with additions from businesses and local people. The food was cooked at the school, and in the homes of volunteers.

Hardy lives around the corner from the school, and has two grand-daughters there. She said it was important to feed children, and give them a chance to try new foods and to sit at a table and socialise while eating with others.

"I would like to see this bigger, and all over town," she said.