Kidscan and Meridian update July 2020

Here's the latest from Meridian and KidsCan

Kids shouldn’t have to make tough decisions like ‘do I walk to school in the rain without a jacket or shoes or stay home and keep dry?’ We don’t know about you, but we’d find it hard to learn if we were soaking wet or hungry.

Removing tough choices for Kiwi kids

Kids shouldn’t have to make tough decisions like ‘do I walk to school in the rain without a jacket or shoes or stay home and keep dry?’ We don’t know about you, but we’d find it hard to learn if we were soaking wet or hungry.

KidsCan focused their March fundraising campaign on helping those kids who are forced to make hard choices every day, by asking Kiwis to help 500 tamariki (children) urgently in need. With one in five kids living in poverty, this is the sad reality for many tamariki in our communities.

As proud Principal Partner, we’re excited that Kiwis heard KidsCan’s plea, with 234 people signing up as monthly donors. That’s 234 new donors giving $30 a month to buy the essentials for 338 more kids that they need to learn and thrive.

With KidsCan, they know they have a warm jacket and sturdy shoes so they can go to school and spend the day learning and playing alongside their friends. They can also look forward to a delicious breakfast, nutritious lunch, and plenty of snacks to help fuel their brains and bodies.

At Meridian, we’ve been the proud Principal Partner of KidsCan since 2013 and have seen the difference KidsCan makes. And by being a Meridian customer, you’re helping too. Thank you for your ongoing support – together we’ve got the power to make a difference.”

KidsCan Christmas cracker appeal

As proud Principal Partner, we’re stoked to get in behind KidsCan’s Christmas Cracker Appeal. Now in its 15th year, it’s the only Christmas cracker that doesn’t just give back to Kiwi kids in need but is also environmentally friendly with no plastic waste. All the money raised through the appeal goes directly towards helping KidsCan deliver practical programmes to over 800 schools and 100 early childhood centres across Aotearoa.  

For only $2.50 each, you’ll have a chance to win one of 16,000 amazing prizes including a Spa World Jacuzzi valued at $25,990, Jumpflex trampolines, Instax cameras, ZURU toys, LEGO, gift vouchers and treats from Cookie Time, BurgerFuel, Bakers Delight.  

Continuing to be proud Principal Partner of KidsCan

At Meridian, we believe that by doing right by people and the planet, we can build a better future for our customers, communities, and the environment.

And that includes our tamariki too, which is why we've been the proud Principal Partner of KidsCan since 2013. And now, we’re very excited to announce that we’ve committed to support them for another three years. 

While this has got us excited for the future, we can’t help but look back too. Because we’re proud of the support that we’ve been able to give over the last eight years. During that time, Meridian has committed more than $3 million to help support the work KidsCan does in communities, including a donation of $1 million in 2020 to support KidsCan’s work during COVID-19.

We know it’s hard for kids to learn when they’re cold, wet or hungry and KidsCan provides food support for close to 40,000 hungry kids in 829 schools and 112 early childhood centres around the country every day. KidsCan also provides shoes, socks and jackets to children who would otherwise arrive at school wet and cold and offers a variety of health and hygiene items.

KidsCan CEO and Founder Julie Chapman says “KidsCan is so grateful for the ongoing support and generosity from Meridian Energy. Their incredible contribution will enable us to reach even more New Zealand children and provide them with the food, clothing and health products they need to participate in learning. Our goal is to give all Kiwi kids a fair start at life, and Meridian customers and staff are helping the KidsCan team achieve this.”  

Making a difference with KidsCan

For some of us, winter is a great time of year. We love to rug up in our cozy clothes on crisp mornings. And at the end of each day, we look forward to sitting by a roaring fire with a warm meal.

But for some of our tamariki, winter isn't cosy and dry. Many children don't go to school or kindy on rainy days because they don’t have warm clothes and shoes and if they do, they arrive cold, wet and miserable. 

KidsCan hear lots of stories like this from schools and early childhood centres. “Teachers are finding children in shoes patched with cardboard, tape and staples. They say socks have become “a luxury.” They tell us of children sleeping in their jackets to keep warm in freezing homes,” KidsCan’s CEO Julie Chapman says. “It’s awful to think of kids going without the basics – and it’s up to all of us to help those who are finding life pretty tough this winter.” 

We hear you, Julie. That's why, here at Meridian, we’re proud of the difference that KidsCan is making to those kids in need. This winter, KidsCan is on a mission to help another 4,000 kids who need their support. 

KidsCan already supports students in 829 schools and 112 early childhood centres with food, jackets, shoes, and health items. And there's more to come this winter:

  • KidsCan will provide warm lunches to thousands of children whose schools aren't covered by the Government’s Ka Ora, Ka Ako programme.
  • Around 60,000 kids are also due to receive fleece-lined jackets – a record demand.
  • The younger ones don't miss out either. They’ll also receive fresh daily lunches and snacks in the first programme of its kind in the country.

We’re stoked to announce that, through their winter campaign in June, KidsCan has signed up hundreds of kids with the help of generous donations.

Their job isn’t over yet though and KidsCan still has so many little ones on their waitlist. No child should go without. If you’d like to help, go to to donate.

KidsCan are changing the story

We all remember the excitement of going back to school after the summer holidays. Catching up with your mates, showing off your new backpack that Santa brought. Lunch packed and your stationery freshly durasealled. What a feeling. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t the story for thousands of tamariki (kids). Approximately 40,000 kiwi kids go back to school without the basic necessities that we don’t think twice about. This year, principals and teachers are bracing themselves for a tough one as families impacted by COVID-19 struggle to make ends meet.

"It’s awful to think that we’ve got children in New Zealand who have no shoes, or shoes they have outgrown, or shoes that are falling apart because they’re second or third hand. We’ve got children who regularly come to school having not had breakfast and with very little or no lunch. It might be a packet of chips or something that’s just not sustaining them." – Principal.

A lot of kids don’t get the chance to return at all or will arrive in dirty clothes because there’s no washing powder, feeling embarrassed and stressed. Some miss out on camps, sport and other extracurricular activities. This is pretty tough for a kid to deal with and to put it straight, it’s not on.

KidsCan agree and they decided it was time to change the story. So, last month, together with KidsCan we took on the mission to raise $350,000 to help support families with back-to-school costs, and get tens of thousands of kids back to into the classrooms with the essentials they need to get them through the day. 

We helped kick off the campaign by contributing 25,000 hot, nutritious meals, because at Meridian, we know how important it is to be fuelled up so that we can keep the energy flowing. We’re stoked to let you know that the campaign has been a huge success, with KidsCan smashing their target and raising well over $350,000!

This is what it looks like…

  • 1,585 brekkies
  • 686 fleece-lined jackets
  • 838 fleece-lined jackets and comfy shoes
  • 53,500 hot meals
  • 25 pre-schoolers set up with food, clothing and health products for a whole year

Ka mau te wihi (awesome)!! The effort doesn’t stop now though and together we can continue to change the story for kids all over Aotearoa. Get on board – donate today!

ElectricAir – KidsCan school field trip

We invited a bunch of kids along to Rangiora Airfield to get up close and personal with the electric plane and an electric car. They got to sit in the cockpit while an instructor taught them how the plane worked, and showed them what all the knobs, dials and pedals were for! Being an active airfield, the kids were able to hear the difference between various planes and how much quieter the electric one really is – about 70% quieter in fact! They also had an opportunity to talk to an expert about the ins and outs of how electric transport works. Needless to say, there are now a few kids who want to be pilots when they grow up. New experiences on a Friday? Can’t argue with that.

“I want to be a plane driver when I grow up” - KidsCan future pilot, 20 November 2020

Giving our littlest Kiwis the best start in life

In 2018, early childhood centres were crying out for help for their littlest learners living in hardship. KidsCan responded with nutritious lunches, raincoats, shoes and head lice treatment for under 5s in 25 centres. And it worked.

In a recent study completed by the University of Waikato*, researchers found that after six months in a KidsCan pilot programme, kids were energised, more engaged in learning, and had fewer health issues. In an interview with KidsCan, Neuroscience educator Nathan Wallis noted, “Good nutrition is crucial because a child’s brain is just not going to develop without it... Feeding kids in early childhood is actually just a really smart investment. That’s really where you’re going to make a difference in the whole lifespan.”

KidsCan has since extended the programme to 36 more centres. But even then, there are still almost 4,000 preschoolers waiting for help as the Covid-19 fallout hits under 5s. These are real stories: siblings with only a packet of two-minute noodles to share for the day, children shivering without enough warm clothes, and several families crammed into houses to afford rent. The work KidsCan does to help these whānau is incredible, and we’re proud to have been at their side since 2013. Because it takes all of us to look after our own backyard.

If you’d like to help Kiwi kids stay warm, full and ready to learn, show your support now or find out more about the life-changing work that KidsCan does.

*Source: Impact Evaluation of the KidsCan Early Childhood Pilot Programme

Supporting Kiwi kids, rain or shine

Wind and rain are great ingredients for renewable energy. But they just make matters worse for Kiwi kids living in poverty without good shoes, coats or hot meals. And for many, this will be the toughest winter yet as their families feel the impact of Covid-19.

So with our support, KidsCan are doing something about it.  They’re increasing the number of hot lunches they’re providing by 40%, which means 10,000 more kids have the fuel they need. And they’re sending out thousands of fleece-lined jackets and solid shoes so kids make it to school warm and dry.

“So many Kiwi families live in cold, draughty rentals without enough money to heat them properly,” says KidsCan CEO Julie Chapman.

“They might not have a hot meal each day, or enough warm clothes. Life will look like this for more and more of New Zealand’s working poor as they lose their jobs due to Covid-19, and that’s heartbreaking.

“Kids that are cold and hungry can’t focus on learning. It means they’re missing out on education. And education is what will break the cycle of poverty.”

Meridian giving kids the Power to Play

We headed to Favona Primary School in Auckland to give sunhats to those without, so they could get outside and play with their mates. Check out their new playground games, the smiles on their faces and how much difference having a hat makes. This was just the start of our latest project with KidsCan giving 20,000 kids at over 200 schools and 50 early childhood centres throughout New Zealand.

Find out more

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