MainPower teams up with Together Hurunui to tackle food insecurity in schools.

In 2022, Together Hurunui identified that food insecurity (lack of regular access to nutritious food) was a significant issue for schools in the Hurunui district. To help combat the issue, they decided to run a breakfast club as a pilot project at Hurunui College to determine how significant the issue was.

The breakfast club pilot revealed that 20% of the school population and their families were struggling with food insecurity, this figure was also replicated similarly at both Amuri and Cheviot area schools.

Following the pilot project feedback, Together Hurunui applied to the MainPower Community Fund to introduce a programme like the breakfast club but for lunches and snacks. MainPower provided funding to bring the ‘MainPower Pantry’ initiative to life.

The MainPower Pantry provides participating schools with non-perishable items and snacks that teachers can access to provide to students in need. In term 4 of 2023, the pantry initiative also became available to Amberley, Waipara and Waikari schools.

In 2023, the MainPower Pantry supported 204 students from North Canterbury communities.

Check out some of the feedback we received about the initiative from the local schools!

Really helpful. Students have used it. We ran out of food. Great that we can just request a top-up. If this wasn't here teachers would be topping up student’s lunchboxes themselves. There is a clear need.

  • Teacher at Hurunui College


The project has been a game-changer this year. It’s met a need and is manageable, as well as sustainable. Which ticks three key boxes for us.

  • Principal Hurunui College


We have utilised the food throughout the term. We use it to supplement student’s lunches. It's working well for what we need. It’s had a bit of use the last couple of weeks and we have some new families where I think we will be topping up lunches a bit more frequently.

  • Principal Amuri Area School


The program has met a very real need at school.  It has been useful and appreciated. And we hope it will continue! We especially appreciate that the project doesn’t require anything of our staff.

  • Principal Cheviot Area School


I use the food regularly! I have several students in my class who benefit from the project. Thank you!

  • Teacher at Cheviot Area School


In 2024, the MainPower Pantry concept will grow again to include freezers in participating schools. Volunteers at the school will fill freezers with food which will provide more nutritious food options for children who need a boost during school hours.