Whānau in rural communities to receive emergency relief packages

By Jessica Tyson

Thousands of tamariki and their whanau living in rural communities across Aotearoa will soon receive emergency relief packages from the charity Kidscan.

The charity usually supplies food to 787 schools and 55 early childhood centres across New Zealand, but with those facilities closed due to Covid-19 it is using alternative measures to get food to those who need it most.

KidsCan’s CEO Julie Chapman says while food banks in main centres have been bolstered with extra government support, it's important to reach vulnerable families who are struggling in rural communities.

“These food parcels will help them and their children survive this challenging time.”

The packages

Chapman says 3,000 packages will be sent to families across Northland, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, and Manawatū. They have been identified by decile 1 and 2 KidsCan schools as in need of help.

The packages will be packed in strict conditions using protective gear at the charity’s warehouse and delivered directly to families’ homes by NOW Couriers.

Each food parcel will provide food and essential items to help support a household of five for two weeks, including 3kg of rice, 3kg of pasta, pasta sauce, bread, heat and eat meals, fruit cups, baked beans, peanut butter, muesli bars, fruit salad, tissues, hand wash - and even Easter eggs.

The packs, weighing around 40kg, have a retail value of more than $200, but through donations and discounts from partners and suppliers - Countdown, Tip Top bread, Cadbury, Dole, Cookie Time, Tasti, Kleenex, and ecostore - KidsCan has been able to provide them for much less.

The packages will be packed in strict conditions. Photo source: Kidscan.

Appeal

To also help put together the packages, Kidscan is calling for support from the public.

The charity is launching an urgent appeal to raise $500,000 to fund the 3,000 parcels, calling on the public to give just $19 to help stop a family going hungry during Covid-19. The Cookie Time Charitable Trust is kick-starting it with a $19,000 donation.

“Let’s turn Covid-19 around and use the number nineteen to do something good. We’re asking Kiwis for just $19 so families in more isolated areas get the support they need too, Chapman says.

“We know times are tough for everyone, but we want people to imagine how scary this is when you live in poverty. These families already lived week to week. Now, many have lost their jobs and they have no buffer. We need to come together so they and their kids don’t go hungry. Any donation, big or small, will make a difference.”

Chapman says KidsCan is seeing unprecedented demand for help. The charity usually helps feed 34,000 children a day across schools and early childhood centres nationwide.  For term two, schools have ordered food for nearly 42,000 children.

“This huge increase in need comes at a challenging time for all charities,” Chapman says.

“Our major fundraising events have been cancelled, leaving us with a revenue shortfall.  But we can’t sit on our hands when we know families are going hungry. We hope Kiwis will get behind us to ensure we can continue to feed the tens of thousands of kids who rely on KidsCan.”

Package, Photo source: Kidscan.