Driving to school one wet morning I saw a young boy, about 6, walking to school without shoes and no sleeves to protect him from the rain.
He was just footsteps away from his school and although it was unlikely that he lived far away, the thought of a child having to walk to school exposed to the horrible elements that day was saddening.
Children living in poverty is nothing new but as families continue to struggle through the impacts of Covid-19, the problem is getting worse and is being witnessed at early childhood centres throughout the Bay of Plenty.
There is no age barrier to life's struggles and everyday essentials that many of us take for granted such as having enough food, shelter and warm clothing are things others can only fantasise about having.
Last week, we did a story highlighting the unfortunate realities faced by our region's pre-schoolers. In the Bay, the number of children going to daycare hungry, anxious and with only one set of clothing has soared.
Since lockdown, the number of children on a KidsCan waitlist for help with food and warm clothing has jumped by about 300 since February to 539. The number of early childhood centres on the list has almost doubled - from eight to 15.
KidsCan provides children with food, warm jackets and footwear, for example, and there were 372 children in eight Bay of Plenty centres receiving help from the organisation.
Since April, the charity had seen an almost 30 per cent rise in the number of early childhood centres waiting for help nationwide.
One centre said children were arriving with significantly less food - if any - and staff were spending their own money to buy food for the kids. Staff also spoke of children coming to their centres without warm clothing or a change of clothes.
It's heartbreaking to know there are children in our communities who, through no fault of their own, are forced to spend their days hungry and without essential clothing.
How are these children meant to thrive in society when they are facing barriers many of their peers are not? How can they learn, or behave, or grow up to feel equal with other children if their focus is distracted by hunger and trying to keep warm?
Life for some is not fair.
Organisations such as Good Neighbour Food Rescue - which collects food good enough to eat but not good enough to sell and redistributes it to local community organisations - and KidsCan, are doing life-changing work.
And we, as a community, should support them back so they can continue to provide less-fortunate families with essential items many people take for granted. They are fundamentally improving the community we live in.
Anyone who is in a position to support these organisations should do so, and visit their websites to find out how.