This school term, KidsCan intends to help feed almost 44,000 children in 787 schools and 57 early childhood centres nationwide.
They say they've seen a 30% increase in demand for food support as KidsCan schools look to feed 10,000 more children a day.
KidsCan’s CEO Julie Chapman says, “For many children, this lockdown will have been an incredibly rough time, with not enough food to go around at home.
“Being able to get food at school will become essential.”
This term the charity is sending an unprecedented amount of food to schools - 152 tonnes of food - 1.4 million servings - has been packed and distributed.
KidsCan is also providing 10,000 fresh lunches and snacks a week to preschoolers in early childhood centres.
“Teachers in low decile schools have been more worried about their students’ wellbeing than what they’ve learned over lockdown,” Chapman says. “Once we take care of that hunger, they can get back to learning.”
The charity’s principal partner, Meridian Energy, recently announced an $1 million donation which has allowed KidsCan to meet the increased need this term.
The power company matched the extraordinary $1 million donated by Kiwis to fund the emergency food parcels, with excess donations also helping to meet demand from schools.
"We'll continue to provide breakfast food, snacks, raincoats, shoes and socks, sanitary items and other health essentials to all 787 schools we support, and hot lunches to schools the government can't reach.”
"We're also working really hard to increase our support to our under 5s. We have thousands of children in nearly 100 early childhood centres waiting to join our Early Childhood programme. It's crucial we get to them as soon as we can."