718 schools across New Zealand receive KidsCan programmes as winter bites

Friday, June 1, 2018

Nine more schools will be added to the KidsCan programme this term as the total of primary, intermediate and high schools across New Zealand asking for help continues to grow.

There’s been no let-up in schools applying for KidsCan assistance over the past 12 months with more than 70 schools from all 16 regions of the country joining as KidsCan partner schools. However, there are still children set to go without this winter.

The children’s charity still needs more than 1500 caring Kiwis willing to donate just $20 per month to ensure children in our communities receive the basics, with 13 schools currently on the waiting list. That equates to more than 2,000 children waiting to access KidsCan’s Food, Shoes, Raincoats and Health and Hygiene programmes as winter hits home.

KidsCan Founder and CEO Julie Chapman says the need in some of our communities around New Zealand is fairly dire and she’s not at all surprised that more schools are putting their hands up for support.

“Unfortunately, winter is the worst time of the year for families living in material hardship and what we’ve seen over the years is that parents are keeping their kids home from school because they don’t own shoes, socks or raincoats,” she says.

“And those who do go to school turn up wet and freezing cold, making it difficult to participate in class.

“We understand that it can be really difficult for some schools to admit their children need help as they are afraid of a perceived stigma that may come with being branded a school that needs help. However, after 13 years of doing this and with almost 720 partner schools from the top to the bottom of New Zealand, we’d like to think that those perception issues are dissipating,” she says.        

“We’re here to help decile 1-4 schools if they need it, but we can’t do it alone. We really do need caring Kiwis to make a suggested $20 per month commitment so we can get these children the basics and the best prepared for school as possible.”

More than 174,000 children now have access to KidsCan’s support in low decile schools across the country and each week sees more requests come in.

According to the latest information released by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner 135,000 Kiwi kids or 12 percent of our children (aged 0-17) miss out on seven or more things they need for their wellbeing. Those missed essentials include postponed visits to the doctor, a pair of shoes, or adequate warm clothing. Many families are spending a great proportion of their income on rent, leaving not enough money for other bills, food and necessities such as transport and clothing.  

“These kids deserve a shot at a better life and by supporting KidsCan with a small donation the difference it can make in the life of a child can be huge,” Julie says.