Thousands of New Zealand kids go to school without the basics in winter – including shoes, socks, raincoats and warm meals. With help from Trade Me’s Kindness Store, KidsCan is hoping to change that.
Shoes patched up with duct tape and staples, clothing soaked through from the rain and bellies empty more often than not are a reality for thousands of New Zealand kids each winter. Living in material poverty affects far more than just the mental health of our rangatahi – it means they’re unable to participate in sports, extracurriculars, school trips, and often in school itself.
“Education equals opportunity and we know that if children are hungry, cold and wet or sick, they’re unable to participate at school,” says KidsCan CEO Julie Chapman.
KidsCan supplies meals and warm, quality clothing to thousands of kids nationwide. Winter is a crucial time for the charity to ensure it’s servicing as many children as possible, and with help from initiatives like Trade Me’s Kindness Store, it hopes to keep thousands warm, dry and well-fed.
Trade Me’s Kindness Store works just like any other store on Trade Me but in this case, the products sold go straight to its charity partner, KidsCan.
Trade Me’s Emma Clapperton has been part of the Kindness Store initiative since its inception, and is leading this project with KidsCan. She hopes the Kindness Store section of the site is an easy way for the 670,000 daily users of the site to give back.
“Our goal for the store is to make sure that Trade Me isn’t just a place Kiwis come to buy and sell, but also a place where you can go to offer a bit of kindness to those who need it,” she says.
Products on the store vary for different budgets. Just $10 on the store helps provide a week’s worth of hot meals to a child at school; $25 helps give a pair of sturdy shoes and socks.
Trade Me also has some skin in the game. “We are donating $20,000 on top of what our members give, because it’s important to walk the talk too, and we’ve wiped all our fees.”
This is the sixth iteration of the Kindness Store, which has supported charities including Women’s Refuge, St John and a number of others over the last few years, and Clapperton says through each iteration she’s come to realise just how generous New Zealanders are.
“It’s really nice to see the tangible outcome of their kindness and so our members have really connected with that. There’s ten’s of thousands of kids going to school every day without the essentials and each purchase through the store makes that number smaller.”
For Chapman and the team at KidsCan, the mahi is all about providing the essential tools to allow kids to participate in the same things as their peers.
“Just like any other child in the school, being able to go on school trips, being able to play sport, all these things that a lot of kids are missing out on because they don’t have a decent pair of shoes to wear,” Chapman says.
Most of the funding KidsCan gets is from the public – largely partnerships with organisations like Trade Me and individual donors – with about 3% coming from government grants. They rely on the generosity of everyday New Zealanders to continue providing for our disadvantaged rangatahi.
“People will know that when they choose to support KidsCan, they will be providing a child in need with essentials like a healthy meal, shoes and socks, and a warm jacket,” Chapman says.
For the children who receive it, the new gear is a sign they’ll be cared for when the people around them don’t have the means.
“For many children having a brand new pair of shoes and a warm raincoat, it will be the first time in their lives that they have that to call their own, and the kids love their items and guard them like gold, they treat them with respect.”
For Clapperton and the Trade Me team, the partnership reflects their own values, and the values of New Zealanders.
“We are for New Zealand, we have been for the last 22 years and we always will be, and KidsCan, the work that they do helps the future of New Zealand. We really believe that their mission to give all kids a fair start is something worth backing.”
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