Mar 29, 2018
LISA KING - EAT MY LUNCH.
MINI spoke to Eat My Lunch co-founder Lisa King about her inspiration, successes, challenges and where she sees Eat My Lunch in the future.
> What was your childhood like and were you in the same situation as some of the kids you are helping today?
I was fortunate to have a great upbringing. Even as an adult it wouldn’t have crossed my mind that a problem like children going to school without lunch existed in NZ. I was living in my privileged bubble and thought that everyone in this small and beautiful country of ours had the same access to the basic essentials, such as food. I was shocked to learn that we have a huge issue in NZ when it comes to the welfare of our children. 28% of Kiwi kids (that’s 300,000) live in poverty and we (Eat My Lunch) estimate that at least 25,000 of them are going to school every day without food.
> What was your inspiration to create Eat My Lunch?
In 2014 I saw an interview with John Campbell on school lunches and was astounded to see how many children go to school without lunch. I couldn’t understand how we were letting this happen, right here in our own backyard. I wanted to do something about it, but what can one person do? I was just a working mum, living a pretty ordinary life.
One night, I happened to be wearing a pair of TOMs shoes. TOMs pioneered the one for one model where for every pair of shoes you buy, they donate one to a child in a developing country. And I thought why can’t we do this for lunch? We all eat lunch everyday anyway.
> What was the hardest and most daunting thing about starting your own business?
Leaving the security of a well-paid corporate job and just doing it. Starting from our home, and not really knowing if people were going to support us. Taking a risk - it’s as hard as it is rewarding!
> What has been your greatest success? And challenge?
Feeding over 650,000 children since we started, seeing the children’s faces when we deliver lunch, being part of a great team especially the volunteers who every morning give up their time to help us make the lunches for the children.
And the greatest challenge with Eat My Lunch is ensuring we can meet the demands of the schools, we have a waiting list of 50 schools. And making sure we have a commercial model that can sustain the give lunches, as once we commit to a school we can’t take the lunches away.
> Where do you see Eat My Lunch in 5, 10, 20 years’ time?
I often say Eat My Lunch shouldn’t be needed in a country like ours. Ironically it would be that every school kid has a wholesome lunch every day so we are no longer required to give them lunch.
> Do you view yourself as a role model to people wanting to create positive social change, whilst being successful business owners?
I want to encourage people to look outside their own world and actually do something to help others who are not so fortunate. With Eat My Lunch we are able to use a business model that allows us to be commercially viable and sustainable at the same time making an impact on one of NZ’s social issues. It’s hard work but incredibly rewarding!
> What was it about MINI that made you believe it would be a perfect partner for Eat My Lunch?
When we first started, making lunches from our home, we had one vehicle and thought we would do our own delivery. We quickly realised we needed a fleet of cars and that’s when we approached MINI. MINI started by providing us with 2 cars and it’s now 8, supporting the growth of the business. We use our MINI’s to deliver the bought lunches to our customers.
MINI has the same values as Eat My Lunch - genuinely wanting to make a difference. It’s more than just the MINI’s; their team come in and volunteer helping us make lunches, and they GIVE a lunch for every MINI sold. It’s a long term partnership and collaboration.
> What’s your favourite thing about MINI?
They’re fantastic cars to drive and easy to manoeuvre through our busy city streets.