We uphold a child’s right to an education; no child should be kept from learning by hunger or household food insecurity.
The Lunchbox Fund helps vulnerable and food-insecure children in South Africa get the education they desperately need to build a life free of poverty.
We provide a nutritious daily school meal to children who would otherwise go hungry. This meal encourages children to attend school and enables them to concentrate and learn while they are there. Children are supported at all stages of their education – from pre-school, through to primary and secondary school and after-school programs.
The Crisis in Early Childhood Development
The first five years of a child’s life are critical for their physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. The ‘essential package’ of integrated ECD services in South African policy covers the five pillars of: Social Services, Maternal and Child Health Interventions, Support for Primary Care Givers, Stimulation for Early Learning, and Nutrition Support. The Lunchbox Fund seeks to address two of these five pillars – Nutrition Support and Stimulation for Early Learning – through spearheading nutrition provision in ECDC and playgroups offering quality educare across the country.
Investing resources to support and promote optimal child development from a young age yields compound dividends into adulthood, and contributes to a country’s truly sustainable development.
Variety and Quality
Lunchbox Fund is the only national organization to offer a daily varied school lunch; created from a box of products sent each month. Breakfast is a nutritionally fortified porridge in two flavors, served hot. Our foods are fortified with a full range of micronutrients ensuring the child receives up to 50% of their daily micronutrient needs from a daily guaranteed meal.
Schools are pre-vetted for the quality of their educare before they are added to the program. Fieldworkers undertake quarterly unannounced monitoring visits to all participating schools and partner organizations to ensure adherence to our standards. Data is captured electronically in-field and uploaded to our customized cloud-based management platform, informing our food orders. Support is offered for a minimum of a year, and sustained for as long as a school has need and adheres to program protocols.
We partner with local organisations to ensure that child care, stimulation and education is provided alongside our nutrition. This ‘resource stacking’ has powerful community impact. In schools with over 80 children, we provide stipends which enable the school to hire previously unemployed women from within the local community to prepare and serve meals. Stipends are paid directly to our Food Mamas each month.