Gus chose KidsCan after seeing the difference the breakfast club at his school made. “It makes me very sad that a lot of kids in New Zealand just don't have the bare necessities, and it showed me what a little bit of kindness can do. It’s a very simple, effective thing that we can do to help.”
Leaping fearlessly out of a plane. Donning hi-vis vests and packing pallets with tonnes of treats. Digging deep in school yards to plant bountiful orchards. These are just a few of the heroic deeds that Meridian Energy staff have done over the last decade to show the kids of Aotearoa that they care.
''For preschoolers, something as simple as having their own name on a new jacket is important, because at that age, their identity is developing. Then they go to school, realising that they're as important and as worthy as the next child, and they push themselves to do really well. So, what KidsCan provides might be material things, but it translates into more.''
“I love being on the road. It really holds a special place in my heart, just getting to know people and their communities and hearing all of the passion and aroha that the kaiako [teachers] have for their kids. Just knowing the people behind the scenes that are cheering for the tamariki to do well, and putting all their efforts into making sure they have everything they need to do well, is huge."
There are those whose feats running the Auckland Marathon for KidsCan have made headline news. A firefighter who set a world record running in his full kit complete with breathing apparatus. And then there are the everyday Kiwis making a difference no matter their size, or the distance - like 6-year-old Toby Halse. He’s running 2.2km in this year’s Kids’ Marathon with his mates from Auckland’s Bayfield School, and says he has chosen to raise money for KidsCan because he hates to think of other children feeling hungry and having no jackets or shoes.
Alosia’s tears are also of gratitude. She is overwhelmed to see her house has been completely renovated, and every room is filled with new furniture. The household package comes thanks to thousands of Kiwis who donated to KidsCan’s flood appeal.
‘’We were one of the first schools on the programme, and it was like a godsend to have someone come in to offer support, because we were spending a lot of school money on food, but also teachers were donating their own money.‘’
Luisa grew up supported by KidsCan and was part of our first Youth Council in 2022. In this beautiful essay, she reflects on everything her family has endured - and how she's jumping at the chance to help her community that she values so much.