On Friday, September 3, nearly 200 food parcels were delivered by Waiopehu College to families in Levin who have been struggling during our current lockdown.
"Schools are the heart of the community," said principal Mark Robinson, "if we can help, we should."
Robinson had spoken to the college catering manager, Hamish Gregg, about the injustice of families going hungry, while the funding for the Healthy Lunches programme at the school was not being utilised.
Gregg and Robinson 'cooked up a plan' to use the funds to make up food parcels to distribute to those in need.
Gregg's Pehu Kai Crew staff were 100 per cent on board with the idea, and Robinson posted on the college Facebook page late Wednesday afternoon asking for the community's help to identify student families who would benefit from having a delivery of free food.
By 6pm on Wednesday the college had received over 100 names, and by Thursday morning that number had risen to 150.
Robinson and Gregg made the call to work towards creating 200 food parcels and got in contact with local businesses to help out with the ingredients.
"The response was phenomenal," said Robinson, "Savilles' Butchery put together 190 meat packs for us, New World Levin supplied milk and bread, and we got fresh fruit and veges from Garden of York."
The Pehu Kai Crew also baked up a storm, so many food parcels had some fresh baking included as well.
Friday morning saw Gregg heading out nice and early in the college van to pick up the produce from Garden of York, while the meat, milk and bread was delivered to the school.
By 8.30am the Pehu Kai Crew was packing up the food, while another team was checking addresses and printing off labels to stick on the boxes.
Working strictly under level 3 conditions, all the helpers reflected good community spirit by wearing masks and gloves and maintaining proper social distances.
At least 30 cars arrived at Waiopehu College to help with the deliveries, with the drivers made up of the college staff, school parents and staff from Horowhenua District Council.
The first lot of food parcels were loaded into the first car at around 10.30am, with a steady procession of cars filling up over the next 90 minutes, so by midday everything was on its way to deserving families.
Robinson said for a lot of the families who received a food parcel, the delivery came as a total shock - many were overwhelmed and all were extremely appreciative of the help provided.
"Oh my goodness ... thank you so much for the food parcel ... this brought tears to my eyes ... we are so very grateful," was one of many emails the college received from the recipients.
Another family, who have 14 in their bubble, emailed "On behalf of our family, a huge thank you to all of you for the kai package."
Robinson and Gregg intend to do this all again if the country is still in level 3 at the end of next week. "We'll keep doing this once a week until we are back in level 2," Robinson said.