Thousands of children whose lives have been upended by Cyclone Gabrielle are in desperate need of help. KidsCan is today launching an urgent appeal to help get clothing and food supplies to kids and their families via the schools and early childhood centres it supports. The charity is asking the public to donate $15 – or what they can afford - to help overwhelmed teachers support traumatised children as they return to school.
Graeme and Robyn Hart, who are valued supporters of the charity's programmes in early childhood centres across New Zealand, have donated $500,000 to kickstart the appeal. The appeal is backed by KidsCan’s principal partner Meridian.
KidsCan supports more than a thousand schools and early childhood centres nationwide with food and clothing, with the majority in the hardest-hit regions. It helps to feed more than 55,000 children every day and is preparing for an increase in demand with families’ livelihoods wiped away in an instant.
Children will start returning to schools in flood-hit regions this week traumatised from their experiences in the cyclone. With homes in ruins, school will be their safe place. We are sending extra food, jackets, and shoes to replace those lost in the floods – and bracing for a sudden and significant rise in need with so many livelihoods lost,” KidsCan’s CEO and founder Julie Chapman says. “We urge anyone who can to donate just $15 - or what they can afford - so we can help wrap communities in support.”
Over the coming weeks, the charity will also be helping displaced families in Auckland, Northland, Hawke’s Bay, and Tairāwhiti to start again. With support from The Warehouse Group, Big Save Furniture and Fisher and Paykel, it will provide beds, bedding, whiteware, furniture and household items to at least 100 families who have lost everything. 350 flood-hit Auckland families from KidsCan partner schools have already been sent $250 supermarket vouchers, with more on the way to other regions.
“As well as supporting children at school with the essentials they need to learn, we want to do what we can to help some families get back on their feet. It’s incredibly distressing for a child to be forced from their home, so we want to help them back into a bedroom full of new things as soon as possible,’ Chapman says.
KidsCan had seen a sharp rise in need even before Cyclone Gabrielle hit, as families couldn’t keep up with the soaring cost of living. It is feeding 10,000 more school children a day than a year ago, and thousands more children in 56 schools and 77 early childhood centres are waiting for help. The charity will prioritise those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle as funding becomes available.
To donate visit: www.15forfloods.co.nz