For many Kiwi kids living in poverty, hunger is standing in the way of a better future. Fifteen percent of tamariki – one in six – might not know when they'll eat next.
No yummy snacks to sustain them throughout the day, no favourite meals to look forward to at night. Just a big question mark and an empty tummy. Hard to believe this is happening in 2022, in our own backyard.
Kids need an education to escape the poverty trap but imagine trying to learn when you’re too hungry to think. Education can be used to fight poverty, but only if these kids are able to concentrate and not be worried about where their next meal is coming from. Children are becoming increasingly concerned about the choices their parents have to make.
And the cost-of-living crisis is only making matters worse for families who are already struggling. They’re doing their best for their kids – but what was hard before is becoming impossible. Fighting poverty in the community is becoming an uphill struggle, as more and more families are being left wondering how they can afford things.
The good news is that big-hearted Kiwis are enabling KidsCan to make a life-changing difference for vulnerable children. We know this because we hear it all the time – sometimes through grateful tears - from the schools and early childhood centres (ECEs) who receive our programmes. Here’s what one teacher told us recently:
“We are a decile 1A school. So, a lot of the students we get come from very low-income homes. The main need was a lot of kids were coming to class having not had breakfast. They were very lethargic, and a bit down and out by the time that they'd come into class. Low mood, lack of concentration, lack of desire to really do anything.
“And we were trying to get money from various places to buy them breakfast food but that was tough, so we so appreciate the opportunity to be part of the KidsCan programme. The kids were super excited when we got the food. They helped rip into it and get everything organized! They’re lasting throughout the day much better. A definite improvement in the focus and mood.”
We’re always aiming to deepen our impact and expand our reach. There’s still a long way to go. But right now, across Aotearoa, the kindness of New Zealanders is making a significant difference for the more than 40,000 children we support every day. Children who are warm, nourished and ready to learn.
That’s a big helping of hope right there, and we can’t thank you enough.