Hawke's Bay schools have until Friday to apply for special grants to help disadvantaged youngsters on their rolls.
The Max e-Grants programme was kicked off six years ago by the OfficeMax company in conjunction with national childrens' charity Barnardos and since then has seen about $700,000 of grants distributed to more than 12,500 children.
More than a dozen schools across the Bay had benefited from the programme since it kicked off.
It was set up to provide financial support and education-related items to children and young people between the ages of four and 18, with schools, kindergartens and daycare centres able to nominate disadvantaged children for grants up to $5000.
"Some families may not be able to afford three good meals a day or to have heating in their homes so it stands to reason that books, uniforms or paying for extra school activities might not be top priority," OfficeMax New Zealand general manager of education Blair Horsfall said.
He said grants could take the pressure off families to provide what are essential educational items like stationary, uniforms, specialist lessons and even school camps.
"It allows students to be part of the school community - anything less can set back learning and have lasting consequences when it comes to life skills, confidence and self-esteem."
Mr Horsfall said a priority for the programme was to support children living in isolated rural and remote areas and recently settled refugee or migrant communities.
This year to date, 32 per cent of grant funds had gone toward school supplies and equipment, 16 per cent to school and sports uniforms, 45 per cent on school excursions and camps and the remaining seven per cent on other needs.
The latest round of grant applications closes on September 29 and anyone seeking details to apply can visit maxegrants.co.nz