Lakeview’s decade with KidsCan

Friday, February 2, 2018

Lakeview School pupils have come to school with focussed minds and full bellies thanks to over 50,000 food items donated by KidsCan in the past 10 years.

Principal Tim Nelson said the decade-long partnership with KidsCan had made “a massive difference” to the families at the school.

The charity was founded by Julie Chapman in 2005. It donates essential items such as food, shoes, jackets and health items to low decile schools to prevent children arriving at school cold and hungry.

What began in a garage in Auckland has since turned into a large-scale operation.

In 2017 alone, it had donated 4.4 million items of food, 27,000 pairs of shoes, 47,000 raincoats and 171,000 health items to 700 eligible schools.

Lakeview School was lucky enough to have had “hundreds of students” at its school benefit from KidsCan.

“And I hope hundreds more will benefit in years to come,” Mr Nelson added.

In the past five years, its students had received 853 raincoats, 920 pairs of shoes and 3362 health items.

Mr Nelson said it had a large number of families who were self-sufficient but it heavily relied on KidsCan for the families who struggled with the exorbitant price tag on uniforms.

“School uniforms are ridiculously expensive” Mr Nelson said.

“When you have KidsCan turning up and contributing shoes, socks and jackets, it makes a huge difference to any family that’s eligible.”

Ms Chapman said providing children with practical items gave them the opportunity to participate in things they normally wouldn’t be able to.

Lack of food wasn’t the only factor which impacted a child’s learning and it was all about being able to put Lakeview’s children in a position to be able to learn.

“We’re really proud to be able to support children in that school for the past 10 years.

“The beauty of what we do is the fact the items go directly to the child.”

Its warehouses were currently filled to the brim in preparation for the new term ahead of its first food distribution next week.

While it “was not great” that the level of material hardship across the nation had increased, she was looking forward to continuing to help the five Wairarapa schools who already received assistance from KidsCan.

Ms Chapman said it would continue to service its existing eligible student base of 168,000, regardless of the outcome of her meeting with Children’s Minister Tracey Martin in February to discuss a funding renewal,

“We’ll be around for as long as we’re needed.”