Tauhara College teachers and students have cooked up more than 1000 meals over the past year for those that needed them.
As a result, two Tauhara College teachers who have gone above and beyond to feed the community have been officially recognised as Good Sorts by Harcourts Taupō.
Kirsty Trevor brought the Kura Kai initiative to the school, with help from fellow cooking teacher Ben Bisley.
She says it's usually Ben leading the charge, because Ben takes the hospitality classes and oversees the cook-ups.
Kirsty first learned about the scheme, which provides quality frozen meals to those who need them, on social media.
She took the idea a step further, with Tauhara College becoming the first student-led Kura Kai program.
"We use our students to cook the meals."
Each step of the process is done under strict food hygiene protocols, including serving the meals in professional catering foil containers.
"They can't just be in old icecream containers."
In return, students earn credits on their cooking and hospitality courses.
The meals then go into the community freezer, provided by Kura Kai, and are available to people in a variety of situations - from new parents to families in emergency accommodation.
"We've done plugs in our school newsletter or on our school Facebook page for recommendations for families."
She says they also take referrals from other staff members, as well as self-referrals.
"It can be anyone with any sort of need."
The concept has been so successful that Kura Kai asked Kirsty to share her knowledge with other schools in the scheme, in order to help them emulate the student-led model.
It could even become a formal area of study.
"I've written a potential course - it could be an NCEA Level Two course."
All this work caught the attention of Kura Kai founder Makaia Carr and general manager Marie Paterson on a recent visit to the school.
Marie nominated Kirsty and Ben for the Good Sort Award, as she was keen for their personal contributions to be recognised.
"We've had the freezer up-and-running in our school for just over a year," Kirsty says.
In that time, they have provided about 1000 meal portions to families.
The pair stress that they have had great local help along the way, with Misfit Garden donating vegetables on several occasions, and monetary donations coming from local businesses and individuals.
Through the initiative, they've instilled in their students the importance of giving back to the community without judgement.
"It's about breaking that stigma," says Emma Billings, a Tauhara College student who has worked on the Kura Kai initiative.
Meals have gone to teachers with new babies, those isolating with Covid, and families with unwell parents.
The Tauhara College Kura Kai program accepts cash donations to help them buy ingredients; payments can be made to the school using the reference 'Kura Kai'.