Kiwi Olympian helps the hungry at Rio after cookbook success

A Kiwi kayaker who funded his own trip to the Olympics has begun a side project while in Rio de Janeiro to help those living in poverty. 

Mike Dawson has been handing out food packages in the favelas, or slums, surrounding Rio in the lead-up to next week's games, NZME reports. 

The 29-year-old has been living in the city for the past nine weeks while preparing for the Olympics, and after seeing the amount of impoverished people decided to hand out food parcels with Brazillian kayaker Pepe Gonçalves. 

Food has become a big part of Dawson's Olympic journey in recent months.

Mike Dawson has published a cookbook to make the $40,000 he needs to get to the Olympics. Source: Breakfast

When his Olympic funding was cut after finishing 28th at last year's World Championships, he had to find a new way to get himself to Rio.

He and his girlfriend Martina Wegman created Eat Like The Locals, a cookbook made up of 22 recipes from around the world. 

The cookbook proved successful with over 700 copies sold, along with several generous donations.