19 kids, 40 hours, 6000 meals

Get cooking: From left, 'Cook for a Cause' students Beatrice Onions, Hugh Taylor, World Vision's Harley Hamilton and student Zed Moore

Wakatipu High students are cooking up a storm with a ‘Cook for a Cause’ fundraiser that will help both needy Kiwi families and Syrian refugees.

Nineteen students aim to cook up to 6000 meals over World Vision’s 40-hour famine weekend, June 9-11, using donated ingredients.

Previously students have spent two days and nights sleeping in a cage in Queenstown’s Mall.

The meals will then be distributed to City Missions in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as Queenstown community support centre Happiness House.

The students are also asking members of the public to ‘sponsor’ the meals.

Everything raised will go towards World Vision’s campaign to provide learning environments for Syrian refugees resettled in Jordan.

Harley Hamilton, World Vision’s Christchurch-based schools partnership manager, stresses how “grateful, inspired and impressed” he is with everyone involved.

“I’ve worked with schools for three years and I’ve never seen anything like this.

“It quite often gets talked about that we’ve got problems in New Zealand, so do we need to help out overseas?

“They’ve just shown that you can do both.”

Student leaders Beatrice Onions, Zed Moore and Hugh Taylor have been blown away by the support they’ve had.

Beatrice: “The funniest thing I’ve learnt is, if you ask people, they want to help – it’s just that there’s this stigma, let’s not ask because the answer will be ‘no’.”

Leading Kiwi chef Mark Gregory, who founded the DineAid charity, will oversee the cooking.

He’s also provided the meal options – shepherd’s pie, Thai chicken and spiced apple cake.

Silver Fern Farms has donated 400kg of beef, apples have been donated locally, and Bidfood Queenstown is supplying ingredients.

NZSki’s donating its industrial kitchen at Coronet Peak skifield and some staff over the weekend.

Packaging Plus is supplying containers and packaging and Big Chill will deliver the meals around the country.

The students have also been mentored by teacher Penny Hearn.

Hugh adds: “We’ve put in an insanely large amount of hours into this.”

The students’ Facebook page, linked to the Wakatipu High School World Vision Cook for a Cause fundraising page, went live yesterday.