Eat My Lunch will gave its 500,000th lunch on Tuesday to a school child who would otherwise go without. While this might seem like cause for celebration, it also highlights the fact that Government still hasn’t figured out a way to address child poverty in New Zealand.

In an open letter to Members of Parliament, Eat My Lunch has asked MPs to put their money where their mouth is and buy lunch from Eat My Lunch. Eat My Lunch will publish on social every day a list of the MPs who have signed up Eat My Lunch. This simple act of buying lunch means that Eat My Lunch can GIVE a lunch to a school child who would otherwise go hungry.

“The fact that in just over two years we’ve made half a million lunches demonstrates we have a problem with child poverty in New Zealand,” said Eat My Lunch CEO and founder Lisa King. “I get calls from schools every day asking us to deliver lunches to their children. With a waiting list of 29 schools we know the problem isn’t going away.”

In New Zealand, 28 percent of kids live in poverty, and it’s an issue that impacts their education and their health. Poverty goes hand in hand with obesity, as those living in the most deprived areas are four times more likely to be obese than those living in the least deprived areas.

“We’ve had feedback from teachers that children’s behaviour and concentration in class dramatically improves once they have a full tummy. It’s not about solving the issue of poverty, but about giving kids the opportunity to learn so they can break out of that cycle,” said King.

“We want to empower these kids and we all know you can’t learn when you’re hungry.”

Eat My Lunch estimates there are at least 25,000 children in New Zealand who go to school without lunch each day.

“Our mission at Eat My Lunch is to make sure no kids go hungry in New Zealand, and buying lunch from us is a simple tangible way MPs and kiwis in general can help make a difference,” says King.