It is a well-known fact that a person is not themselves when they are hungry.

Hunger pangs bring out a certain type of irritability in people, lack of focus and even exhaustion.

Now imagine what this feels like to a child, who suffers long periods of hunger every day with no idea why they are feeling the way they are.

This is where the Salvation Army food and Christmas parcels can make all the difference for Rotorua families.

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Rotorua Salvation Army Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore said she had witnessed situations where parents were not sending their children to school as they had no food to send with them.

She said many were too "embarrassed".

Some parents would even make a trip to the foodbank early in the morning to try and rustle up a lunch for their children to go to school with, she said.

The importance of a child being well-fed was echoed by school leaders across the city.

Kaitao Intermediate School principal Phil Palfrey said if the Rotorua community was to be equitable, every single child would have food to eat.

He said he was in full support of the food bank as he would get behind anything that meant children had access to good and nutritious food.

"I know if I don't have food, my work suffers."

He said he believes it would be much worse for the children.

They lose focus and feel tired throughout the day, which causes a direct barrier to learning, he said.
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Food parcels provided families across the city the basic necessities needed to keep their little ones' tummies full.

Christmas parcels gave children in need the chance to have a wonderful Christmas that they may otherwise miss out on, Palfrey said.

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Kaitao Intermediate were holding a can for a slippery slide event on Monday for this year's Christmas Appeal.

Otonga Primary School principal Linda Woon shared the same view.

She said before any child could learn, their basic needs needed to be met.

"No teacher could deny that!"

A hungry child will not thrive or have the chance to be their best selves, she said.