Healthy scroggin and fruit pottles are replacing chips as lunch for some Mt Roskill schoolchildren.
The 144 mostly Pacific, Asian and Ethiopian children at Christ the King Catholic School in Richardson Rd are among 30 schools receiving food, shoes, raincoats and basic hygiene supplies for the first time this term from the charity KidsCan, which now serves 530 low-decile schools nationally.
More than 8000 New Zealanders pay $15 a month to sponsor needy Kiwi kids through the charity.
"We are quite a new immigrant community in the Mt Roskill area and many of the children come with some food, but it's not nutritious food," said principal Tracey Kopua.
"You do get the big bag of chips to be shared between three children in a family. They might not be a hungry community, but they are a malnourished community.
"Now we have scroggin and pottles of fruit."
She said the decile 3 school had a mixed population, with some who could afford to pay the fees of $250 a term and give generously, while many new migrants had been sponsored by relatives and arrived with nothing. The church subsidised those in hardship.
"It's just about those who can, give. It's a lovely community that way," Mrs Kopua said.
KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman said the 30 new schools were funded through the In My Own Backyard child sponsorship scheme. Fourteen more schools are on the waiting list and will get food if more people donate.
• For more information, visit www.kidscan.org.nz