EVERY person deserves to feel valued in society. That is the mantra adopted by local volunteer group Koha Kai, which won the supreme award at the 2016 Trustpower Invercargill Southland Community Awards held at the Civic Theatre on Tuesday night.
About 100 people attended the event which honoured volunteers for their efforts.
For winning the supreme award, Koha Kai received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1500. Koha Kai currently works in three Invercargill primary schools, serving more than 500 hot lunches per week.
The focus for the school lunch programme was basic, good-quality home cooking, which also taught the disabled trainees skills transferable into their own lives, founder Janice Lee said.
She was stunned at the Trustpower award.
“We don’t do this for awards but we are so proud to win it.”
Ms Lee said she loved seeing people involved with Koha Kai grow and evolve.
“The real credit goes to each and every volunteer that just gets stuck in. It’s the best atmosphere I’ve ever worked in.”
Koha Kai will now represent Southland at the 2016 Trustpower National Community Awards, being held in Rotorua in March next year.
In total, Trustpower gave away more than $5000 to community groups on Tuesday.
Other winners were: Heritage and environment – Stewart Island/Rakiura Community Environment Trust; health and well-being – Riverton Op Shop; arts and culture – Riverton Community Arts Centre; sport and leisure – Tokanui Courts Committee; education and child/youth development–Limehills School Student Army Volunteers; youth spirit – Sophia Humphries.