With 10,000 more children needing support from KidsCan since Term 1 this year, the charity is calling for welfare benefits to be increased.
KidsCan CEO Julie Chapman told TVNZ1’s Breakfast of was hearing more stories of children in low decile schools with stomach pains and broken shoes. The charity provides food, shoes, raincoats and healthcare programmes to children in need.
“We knew things pre-Covid were getting worse, but since Covid, we’ve had 35 more schools apply for support,” she said.
“In a country like New Zealand, we are seeing it get worse. And it’s just wrong. We need to change it.”
If the Government increased benefits, it would provide an “immediate relief” for those doing it the toughest, Chapman said.
“I would like to see benefits increase, and I feel like with all of the things we did really quickly this year, that should be a priority.”
She said that would decrease the number of children going to school hungry.
“Families are doing the best that they can, but when you put housing costs, power, all of those things in there, there is a deficit every week.
“It’s not because they’re spending it on the pokies or smoking or gambling. It’s because there just isn’t enough money.”
Chapman said it was “frustrating” that people still believed families in need weren’t spending money on necessities.
In reality, a “majority” of families just couldn’t fill a gap every week, unless they got more money, she said.
“I haven’t met a parent that doesn’t want the best for their child.”
She also called for Kiwis to show their generosity by donating, or giving $30 a month to support a child.
Chapman said 80 cents per dollar would go to the child, and 20 cents would go towards the charity’s operating costs, like its warehousing and logistics.