Food Matters – Good Bite Lunch Company

Good Bite LunchIt’s one of those parental duties that you take on for years…making your kids lunches for school. It can be time-consuming and just one more thing you don’t want to think about the night before, or the morning of. And how do you make sure your kids are eating the right thing? Today on Food Matters, I looked at an innovative company that helps you provide your kids with a healthy lunch, and at the same time helps kids who might not even have a lunch to eat.

I don’t have kids but my mom faithfully made me lunch every day all the way up through high school, and while they weren’t imaginative they always included some fresh fruit, homemade cookies and a sandwich. She was a stay-at-home mom by the time I came along, so it was part of her day and she never complained about it. That was then, this is now. The family structure has changed, there are more two-parents-working families and time always seems to be at a premium.

This means more kids have to fend for themselves, rely on pre-packaged lunches, and then there are the hot lunch days, which have turned into fund-raising events for Parent Advisory Councils and that’s when Laurie Arbuthnot and Tina Vander Veen of Duncan got involved. They noticed that the foods offered on these days were typically fast foods like hot dogs and pizza and they thought that was wrong. So they started a company that would provide better foods at these hot lunch days, and as Laurie explains, they took it a little further when they realized that a lot of parents just don’t like making lunches or no longer have the time. The Good Bite Lunch Company, based just in Duncan for now, but what parents can do is go to their website, place their order for a day, a week, whatever, choose from the items available, pay and then the lunches are made in Tina’s commercial kitchen the night before or morning of and delivered right to the school for distribution. And they’ve spent some time using their own kids as guinea pigs so they are delivering lunches kids want to eat, including something called a pizza salad, which includes pepperoni made from free-range bison and fresh tomatoes along with a homemade Italian dressing.

They charge $6.49 per lunch, but that of course includes delivery and Laurie says when you compare how much a meal would cost at a typical fast food place it’s in the same ballpark, but of course their lunches are made from fresh, local, and as much as possible, organic ingredients, they even package everything in biodegradable wraps and containers so they can be composted at the school or at home.

Unfortunately, there are kids from families who can’t afford a program like this, or even to provide their children with any kind of lunch at all…so Tina and Laurie donate a portion of their proceeds to each participating school’s PAC to fund physical fitness programs and recreational equipment and they donate a lunch per day to a school in Duncan where many kids are not getting a lunch or snack. And by catering the special lunch days, Laurie hopes they can have some sort of influence on the way children learn about food and nutrition.

The really good news is that there are a few businesses in Duncan that think the same way that Laurie and Tina do, and they’ve come forward with some funding so that Good Bite Lunch Company can make some lunches at cost for some of those kids who would otherwise go without.

They started last February, so they’ve been at it for almost a year. It’s one of those ideas that everyone thinks is great, but it’s been a slow process to get people to sign up. Although once they do, they’ve been able to develop a good repeat business. If they get demand, of course they would like to expand to other communities in the area.

You can listen to my chat with Jo-Ann Roberts of All Points West on this topic by clicking here.

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