Some low-decile schools say fewer children are turning up to
school without lunch since supermarkets started offering $1
However, others are not so sure the cut-price bread options
have made a difference.
Last month, Countdown cut the price of some brands of white
and wheatmeal bread, to $1, which was matched quickly by New
World and Pak'nSave.
In Tauranga, Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti said the
cut-price deals had made a huge difference to families. The
school had noticed a drop in the number of prepared lunches
it had to supply for students who had nothing to eat.
The school had also been able to give the bread to less
fortunate families, Ms Tinetti said. It provided about 10
lunches each day.
Greerton Village School principal Anne Mackintosh said the $1
bread was having a positive impact, with more children taking
sandwiches to school.
"What was so great for us was the Countdown over our back
fence brought in excess loaves to us and we were able to give
them to our families."
Mrs Mackintosh said there would always be a need for the food
"For one reason or another there will be kids who can't bring
lunches to school, parents might be sick or whatever."
She was not aware of nutritionists' concerns about white
bread but said the fillings could assist the health benefits.
In contrast, Pukehina School principal Roger Reid said he had
not seen more pupils taking lunches to the decile 3 school.
Children arriving without lunch was not common.
Brookfield School principal Robert Hyndman had also not
noticed a change.
The Loaves and Fishes service, which provides food to
schools, was continuing as usual, co-ordinator Jill O'Brien
said. About 200 lunches a week were delivered to 10 schools
in the region.
"That number hasn't gone down since last year," she said.
Through the Society of St Vincent De Paul it was able to
provide a savoury and sweet sandwich, a snack and a piece of
fruit in each lunch.
Jan Clark, Kids Can GM marketing and fundraising, said it
provided food services for six schools in the Tauranga region
and had not seen any decrease in the need for the service.
"Our figures show the need is still increasing for our food
distributions. This term we're supporting about 20 per cent
of the roll on average for our partner schools that need food
to alleviate hunger," she said.
- Ruth Keber of the Bay of Plenty Times