The charity set to benefit from $2 million in telethon donations has defended using adidas raincoats made in Chinese factories.
Chinese working standards came under fire in Parliament last month during debate on a bill to ban imports made with slave labour.
MP Hone Harawira said workers in factories making adidas sneakers worked an average of 70 hours a week, in violation of local labour laws.
KidsCan chairman Rick Shera said a locally made alternative for the coats wasn't available. He hadn't looked at factory working conditions in detail, but said: "We have to balance whatever those issues are with the fact there is a need in New Zealand."
David Huggett, adidas NZ manager, said the coats were made at an approved factory that met the company's workplace standards agreement.
KidsCan co-founder Carl Sunderland said he had been assured the coats were made under ethical working conditions and did not use child labour.
KidsCan has fielded abusive calls and emails in the wake of controversy over its use of more than $1m in donated cash, general manager Julie Helson said. "We've had abusive emails from individuals which have been nasty and upset the team a lot."
Helson said sponsors were sticking by the charity, but she feared donations still to come from last weekend's telethon might be in jeopardy.
The Herald on Sunday reported in December that much of the money raised by KidsCan went on expenses, promotions and wages.
After further revelations in this paper that a private company took more than $2m of donations for the Epilepsy Foundation, the Government announced it will review how charities account for their spending.
Helson said KidsCan's figures didn't account for in-kind and non-cash donations, such as the raincoats, which amounted to about $760,000 last year.
The organisation also received specific grants for administration and wages, while public donations went towards children's programmes.
Six staff members - Helson, her husband Carl Sunderland as operations manager, a marketing manager, marketing co-ordinator, schools co-ordinator and office manager - all had a hands-on role in delivering the services.
In total, it cost $67 a year to provide each of 28,000 children with food, shoes and raincoats, Helson said.
The telethon money would go directly into schools, not into admin or wages.
Principal Brent Griffin from Rotorua's Western Heights Primary said: "We get a wonderful supply of good food for our kids to get them through the day, they've got raincoats to get them to school dry, and they have shoes to wear on frosty days."
Helson blamed tall poppy syndrome for the controversy.
Based on annual reports, the Charities Commission estimates the sector to have a combined income of $16.7 billion a year, drawing on donations of $1.4b.