Refining NZ safety at work results in hot meals for kids

Safety-conscious workers at Refining NZ this week enabled an $18,000 donation to Whangarei charity Food for Life, which delivers 250 hot lunches each week to three low-decile schools in a bid to boost children’s energy levels and academic performance.

The donation will enable the charity to extend its programme both within Whangarei and further north to schools in places like Kawakawa, Moerewa and Kaikohe.

For every month the refinery remains injury free the company donates $4,500 to a charity chosen by its staff and contracting workforce. Three charities will benefit from the scheme in 2019. This week’s donation to Food for Life acknowledges the focus that staff and contractors placed on keeping themselves and each other safe with no significant injuries from the start of the year to the end of April.

Refining NZ’s safety-based charitable donation programme is part of its E Tu Tangata safety programme, which maintains a strong daily focus on safety and wellbeing.

“E Tu Tangata recognises that the wellbeing of the individual impacts their ability to do their job safely every day,” said chief executive Mike Fuge. “It’s about looking after the whole of you and ensuring that you’re able to live a full life with your whanau as well as while you’re at work.”

E Tu Tangata has extended safety and wellbeing beyond the refinery to the wider community, through support for organisations like Food for Life that are focused on improving peoples’ wellbeing.

Food for Life manager Buddhi Wilcox said every $15 donated to the charity would feed four children for a week, so the donation by refinery staff would go a long way.

Food for Life was established in Whangarei seven years ago. It currently delivers around 250 hot lunches a week to Tikipunga High School, Whangarei Adventist Christian School, and Kaikohe East School. Last year the programme provided up to 1,000 hot lunches a week, each worth about two dollars, to children in low decile schools around Whangarei and Ruakaka.

“We don’t receive funding from the government but we do ask schools to pay one dollar for every meal”, said Mr Wilcox. “Even this amount can be a challenge so the donation from the refinery will help subsidise the school payment.”

Food for Life receives donations of vegetables from various supporters, milk from Fonterra, and Whangarei District Council provides a premises for it to work from for no charge. Volunteers cook the meals.