Kura Kai provides meals to 38 high schools across the motu and their kaupapa is a simple one – volunteers including youth fill freezers in secondary schools with healthy meals for rangatahi, their whānau and others in need.
One high school that is doing an amazing job is Katikati College, which has been a partner Kura Kai school for two years. Head girl, Isla Willacy says:
“Here at Katikati College, our Kura Kai programme has quickly become a centre for community connection. Our three freezers have the capacity to hold around 600 meals, and they are always kept full thanks to contributions from student and community volunteers.
“The production and delivery of the meals themselves creates a strong sense of kotahitanga felt at our community cook ups and in interactions with the different groups that contribute resources and help us to distribute the meals made, as well as pantry staples and personal care items, to those in need. As a result, we’re able to support many families in our kura, as well as those in emergency housing, homeless people and vulnerable elderly.
“As a student volunteer, I came away from my first cook up with a replenished sense of connection with my community and with the other volunteers. From kotahitanga to manaakitanga, Kura Kai brings our community together”
Youth can easily volunteer to cook or run fundraising initiatives for Kura Kai to support the charity and the uptake is varied from Scouts and Youth groups to students cooking at home.
Kura Kai General manager, Marie Paterson says, “One of our key pou (pillars) is empowering our youth. We want to encourage the practice of manaakitanga in our rangatahi and teach them the value of caring for their community. By volunteering at a young age, it teaches important life skills. For some youth, they just simply aren’t aware just how tough it can be for some families. It teaches awareness and empathy.”