It's been so much bigger and better than I ever imagined that it would. It's lovely. I did know there was a need for it, but I didn't have any idea about how much need there was. And I think as interest rates are going to continue to rise it’s only going to get worse.
I love the fact the cooking rooms at school have become a little hub, a safe space that everyone knows that they can go to. In winter the staff and students sit and have hot soup together, interacting in a way that they would never do otherwise, and it’s been so good for building relationships. The prefects come and cook breakfast during our kai time, so they’ve got to know the juniors. And now they’re on study leave, the juniors who are aspiring leaders are saying “Can we come and take their spot for kai time?” They’re real proud to be able to come in and take over that spot, and to make sure that it keeps running, because they think that it's cool.
In class we have teachers who realise kids are not concentrating because they’re hungry and they’ll say. “Go for a quick walk to the food room.” And they’ll stroll on in and help themselves to the nuts and the fruit cups and OSM bars and go back to class. They feel safe enough to ask now, they know there’s no judgement.
I had two girls in my class - one has a tough home life and one lives with 10 people in her house. It was a really cold day, and a teacher came in asking for jackets for some other kids. I asked if they needed one. “They’re really nice. They've got fleece lining, and they're waterproof. They’re cool, they’re not ugly.” They said, “Can we have a look?” They tried them on and they’re like “Oh, my God, these would have cost so much to buy!” And they were so ridiculously excited about them. There was one girl who was sitting there and her jacket was clearly too small for her. She said, “I know it's too small, but no one else in my house will be able to fit it so they won't steal it.” She had purposely chosen a smaller one so it could be just hers.
The attendance team heard from one family that their sons hadn't been attending school because they didn't have any food. And so they then contacted them and told them there was a Breakfast Club at school and we can give them lunch at school too. And those boys then ended up starting to come to school a little bit more regularly, so food wasn’t a barrier for them.
Honestly, the KidsCan support makes such a difference to so many lives and we know that it wouldn't be possible without the support from the donors, so thank you for helping us to show these kids that there are people who are here to help them and who care.