April 23, 2020

Fruit and Vegetables in Schools gears up to support whanau with fresh fruit and vegetables during pandemic

As the COVID-19 outbreak unfolds more and more people are finding that the financial and emotional toll of providing healthy food for their families is increasingly difficult. While no one can predict the force of the fall out, the immediate impact on hunger has been disproportionately felt by at-risk communities since the pandemic began.

Fruit and Vegetables in Schools (FiS), a programme delivering fresh fruit and vegetables to schools, is working to bridge this gap, by taking an innovative approach to their service. While schools are physically closed FiS is partnering with a number of community organisations to redistribute its fruit and vegetables to community, delivering over 5,000 food parcels to whānau doorsteps every week.

The partnership opportunities were realised in part through the Kai Collaboration, a project which started in West Auckland to explore the landscape of food programmes going into schools. The steering group consists of members from each of New Zealand’s national food relief programmes and is facilitated by Healthy Families Waitākere. Systems Innovator, Megan Beard, explains.

“For the better part of six months, Healthy Families Waitākere has facilitated the Kai Collaboration to explore how the network could work collaboratively to achieve collective impact for community.”

It was when New Zealand went into alert level four the power of the collaboration was realised. With schools no longer open, FiS has a surplus of fresh produce. FiS worked to redistribute the produce through food parcel deliveries, through the connection with Fair Food NZ. Megan continues,

“The food system is experiencing drastic disruption across Aotearoa, we are thrilled to see the power of the collaboration brought to life during a time when community need it most.”

About Fruit and Vegetables in Schools

FIS is funded by the Ministry of Health, managed by United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated and supported by the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust.