More than $200,000 pledged for Eat My Lunch expansion

Eat My Lunch has two weeks to reach the minimum target of their crowd-lending campaign launched last month

Social enterprise Eat My Lunch has reached a milestone in its lending-based crowdfunding campaign seeking $1 million in bonds.

The campaign, launched in June, has reached $220,000, as 89 pledgers have invested in the company by buying “lunch bonds” through PledgeMe Lend. It needs to meet the minimum target of $500,000 in two weeks for the programme to be funded.

If the funds are raised, they will be used for Eat My Lunch’s expansion to Wellington, after a successful year delivering lunches in Auckland and Hamilton. 

In the past year, Eat My Lunch has delivered more than 325,000 lunches, with 180,000 lunches given to hungry kids in low decile schools. It forecasts it will make 500,000 lunches this year and donate 250,000 of those to children.

PledgeMe Lend is New Zealand’s first peer-to-peer lending platform, it allows organisations to borrow from the public and repay with interest through crowdfunding.

The $1000 lunch bonds will allow Eat My Lunch to raise up to $1 million, while providing both financial and social returns to lenders. Investors choose between two combinations of interest rates and giving.

They can either lend their money at 6 percent interest, with a lunch given to a child each month for every $1000 lent; or forge interest payments and double the number of lunches the child receives.

The Lunch Bonds have a term of five years and if the company raises $1 million it will be equivalent to 30,000 additional lunches being given.

The organisation says on the site that the lending model fits well with the ethos of Eat My Lunch, because it enables more New Zealander to participate.

Eat My Lunch investor and advisor Derek Handly, a New York-based Kiwi entrepreneur, says this investment concept is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

“There are a growing number of investors who want to see their money make a bigger impact, and they are looking to add fast-growing companies to their investment portfolios,” he says.

“Earning interest while feeding Kiwi kids in need is an attractive proposition to investors.”

Eat My Lunch launched in June 2015. For every bought lunch, Eat My Lunch gives a lunch to a child who would otherwise go hungry. Company founder Lisa King says the number of schools and communities wanting to get on board with the programme is growing.

“We wish we could deliver our lunches to all of them, but we can’t meet the growing demand unless we are able to grow and scale our business.”