Plastics company Sistema is getting behind low decile schools, and perhaps in the spirit of its millionaire founder Brendan Lindsay, giving away thousands of lunchboxes to children starting school.

As part of the container manufacturer's Sistema School Starter Programme which promotes healthy and waste-free lunches, the company has given away more than 8000 lunchboxes and drink bottles to reception-aged children at 250 decile one and two schools across the country.

Statistics show one in four Kiwi children live in poverty and thousands are sent to school each day without lunch, which is why Sistema launched the programme.

Sistema Plastics chief executive Drew Muirhead said the future of New Zealand lay in the hands in children and so it was important they were equipped with the basics.

Sistema chief executive Drew Muirhead with Sophia Logo and Eruinah Nathan Wi. Photo / Supplied
Sistema chief executive Drew Muirhead with Sophia Logo and Eruinah Nathan Wi. Photo / Supplied

"Sistema comes from humble beginnings in small town New Zealand and has grown into the global business we are today.

"We have a passion for driving the future of New Zealand and an important part of that is making sure the next generation is equipped with the basics to go on to succeed in life," Muirhead said.

He has in recent weeks visited schools around the country, including Mataura School and St Patrick's Primary School in Nightcaps in the South Island.

Ōtorohanga Primary School principal Catriona Chrystall said Sistema's programme would help take the financial strain off many families.

One principal the company donated lunchboxes to said most children used a plastic bag as a lunchbox or had nothing at all.

"We have many families at our school here in Porirua who struggle to provide all the school supplies their children need.

"Lunchboxes are often substituted for plastic bags and sometimes nothing at all," Karla Mitchell, principal at Wellington's Seventh-day Adventist School, said.

"It will be a lovely surprise for all of our new entrants, and we hope it helps spark a long-term approach to healthy eating, which is a priority at our school."

Brendan Lindsay, founder of Sistema. Photo / File
Brendan Lindsay, founder of Sistema. Photo / File

Sistema was founded by Brendan Lindsay in his garage in Cambridge, and at the end of 2016 was sold to Fortune 500 company Newell Brands for $660 million.

Today, the company is headquartered in Auckland and has offices in Australia, England and France.

Lindsay is known for his philanthropy and before he sold off the business organised a clause in the purchase agreement that it allowed Sistema's first employee to work with the company until she retired.

He likes to donate his money to organisations associated with animals and to people "who cannot help themselves".

He last year signed a three-year funding deal to keep the New Zealand Riding for the Disabled charity afloat and made donations to Blind Foundation Guide Dogs.