Lisa King had established a successful marketing career when she decided that something had to change.
"I'd worked in marketing for 15 years, working for the big chip brands, chocolate brands, marketing this kind of food. Being in my late 30s, I like to think of it as a mid-life crisis, or rather a mid-life reflection."
In 2015, the proud mum was tuned in to an episode of Campbell Live when she learned that more than 295,000 Kiwi children are living in poverty, often going to school cold and hungry.
"Something needed to be done," she thought. The result is a purpose-led social initiative that's doing its bit to feed those in need.
Eat My Lunch turns two years old on Thursday June 8. Since its inception, the Eat My Lunch team have captured the hearts of hundreds of New Zealanders, demonstrating how a savvy business model can play a fundamental role in driving social change.
"The idea is buy one, get one," says Lisa. "Many of us will spend a lot more than $12 on lunch, on a daily basis, so it makes a lot of sense."
Lisa teamed up with award-winning Kiwi chef Michael Meredith, to help create wholesome, healthy lunches for children up and down the country.
"I'd worked with Michael in a past life, so it was great that he was on board. We tried to go back to what people wanted to eat, but it had to be real food, with a focus on vegetables and achieving balance. Nothing from a packet."
To date, Eat My Lunch has delivered over 800,000 lunches, giving 400,000 lunches to hungry kids in 46 low decile schools in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington. Ambassadors like Paraolympian Liam Malone are now actively spreading the word, as the charity continues to gain momentum.
“Our mission at Eat My Lunch is to make sure no kids go hungry in New Zealand. In two years we’ve made a difference to a whole heap of kids, but the problem doesn’t go away."
The truth remains that 28 per cent of Kiwi children live in poverty. Eat My Lunch has a staggering waitlist of 20 schools.
"Michael and I would watch the kids receive their lunches, we'd always expect them to be most excited about the treats – usually pretzels or a biscuit, but it would always be the sandwiches that they'd get really excited about. Some of these children had never seen a carrot."
The philosophy behind it all is simple, Lisa adds.
"If I wouldn't feed it to my own children, then we shouldn't be eating it. We still have a really long way to go."
To get involved and buy a lunch created by award-winning chef Michael Meredith, while feeding a Kiwi school kid in need, see the Eat My Lunch website right here.
“Our mission at Eat My Lunch is to make sure no kids go hungry in New Zealand. In two years we’ve made a difference to a whole heap of kids, but the problem doesn’t go away." – Lisa King, Founder.