Community news

There is power in organisations coming together, as KidsCan and Meridian Energy’s long-standing partnership to help pull children out of hardship shows.

Over the past five years, Meridian’s staff, customers and shareholders have contributed more than $1 million to help support the work KidsCan does in communities, and the company has now committed to a further three years of support.

Former KidsCan recipient Hadassah Tagaoi spoke to Meridian staff this week to explain what that support means. As a child, her parents’ incomes were so stretched they went days without power, or skipped meals.

“There was a feijoa tree on the way to school and that was my lunch for quite a bit,” she says. KidsCan provided lunch, a raincoat, and shoes.

“There’s a saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ My parents did what they could, but if it wasn’t for the support I received from organisations like KidsCan I don’t know if I would be who I am today,” Hadassah says.

Now 24, Hadassah has achieved her dream of becoming a teacher. She’s returned to her old school, Finlayson Park School in South Auckland, where her students still benefit from KidsCan support.

“When they’re warm, dry, and fed they’re more focussed,” she says.

New Zealanders told Colmar Brunton in a recent survey that ending poverty is their top priority. Meridian is determined to play its part through its support of KidsCan.

“We feel privileged to have been part of making a difference in the lives of Kiwi kids living in hardship,” Meridian CEO Neal Barclay says. “We have been given the opportunity to see first-hand the difference the support makes and we absolutely value the work KidsCan does. We’re committed to supporting them for another three years.There is still a lot more work to be done.” 

Meridian staff are deeply involved in supporting KidsCan. They have provided 2,000 fleece-lined beanies to school children in colder regions, helped with painting jobs and gardening at partner schools, donated second-hand furniture, and raised extra money through cake baking competitions and morning teas. 

“KidsCan is extremely grateful for the continued support and commitment we receive from Meridian Energy,” Founder Julie Chapman says. “Customers and staff should take pride that with their help we are able to feed 32,000 hungry kids every week, and provide shoes, socks and jackets to children who would otherwise arrive at school wet and cold. It means they can enjoy learning.”

KidsCan now supports children in more than 700 schools around New Zealand - but there is still a waiting list. It’s calling on caring Kiwis across New Zealand to follow Meridian’s lead, and make a difference.

“The impact of Meridian’s support is clear,” Julie Chapman says. “It’s helping Kiwi kids make the most of their education - they only get one shot. We’d like to make sure every child is warm, full and ready to learn.”

- ENDS -

For more information
Anna Vrede: Senior External Communications Specialist
021 195 3175 or anna.vrede@meridianenergy.co.nz