A food-in-schools programme that dramatically improved children's attendance and behaviour in South Auckland is moving to help Glen Innes children in the east of the city.
Former policeman Steve Farrelly began a breakfast club three years ago at Randwick Park Primary School in Manurewa which has expanded into food parcels, tutoring, vegetable growing, parenting classes and a host of ways to help struggling families.
After seeing the Government's minimal approach to food aid this week Glen Innes School principal Jonathan Hendricks asked Mr Farrelly for help.
"We ... are having huge trouble with students' low attention span, illness, absenteeism and we've noticed a correlation between this and a lack of lunches," said Mr Hendricks.
"I wanted a breakfast club but was waiting to see what the Government was going to come up with."
Mr Hendricks said many students at the decile 1 school had health problems such as skin disorders, poor hearing and the possibility of rheumatic fever.
"We know if the kids get better nutrition it'll help with everything ... and of course our teachers' ability to teach when not faced with having first to deal with external problems."
He was impressed by Mr Farrelly's ability to get a comprehensive programme running, with help from other schools, churches, businesses and extensive social networking.
After a week of debate over parents' responsibility for feeding their children, Mr Hendricks felt the most important issue was helping children.