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Winter warmer . . . Ty Ussher (6, left) and Charlize Elliot (10) enjoy one of the hot lunches supplied to all children at Alexandra Primary School on Fridays. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/ALEXANDRA PRIMARY SCHOOL

There is such a thing as a free lunch.

Alexandra Primary School acting principal Fiona Mackley has introduced free lunches for the pupils each Friday.

The initiative, called Feed Our Whanau, gives pupils something to look forward to and is a way to give back to the families for their support amid the home-learning challenges during lockdown.

Although school has resumed, challenges for some families were still ongoing, prompting Mrs Mackley’s desire to provide lunches.

Parent help, along with food donations from families and local businesses, has helped make the project possible.

The school is not part of the Government’s free and healthy lunches programme, as it is not eligible.

Instead, it relies on the support of the school’s staff and families to make it work.

“A small group of parents have taken over the organisation and cooking of the lunches and this has been invaluable,” Mrs Mackley said.

“They are the true stars of this initiative. I know it would be a far harder task without their weekly involvement.”

A range of dishes have been on the menu, including sausages wrapped in bread, and vegetable soup, using produce grown by the children through the school’s garden club.

And, waste not want not leftover soup was transformed into a pasta sauce.

Lunch is served to each child, free of charge. However, koha was welcome.

That koha has gone towards putting something on the table the following week, such as juice boxes.

Breakfast is also on the menu five days a week, which comprises cereals, toast and Milo, donated by families.

Pupil Madie Hill (12) said the initiatives were something she looked forward to every week.

Madie, who said her favourite lunch so far was pasta, was keen to see the meal initiatives continue.

“I think everyone is everyone is really enjoying it.”

The initiatives were expected to remain on offer.

Mrs Mackley has praised Clyde School principal Doug White for instigating a Central Lakes Trust emergency funding grant, valued at $235,000.

Each of the 27 schools will receive an allocation of funding, based on their roll.

Alexandra Primary School’s share will go towards ensuring breakfasts and lunches remain on offer for the foreseeable future, she said.