Whangaehu School joined more than 80 schools and kindergartens from around New Zealand to support struggling families with food donations this month.

The little school south of Whanganui signed up to take part in Wattie's Cans for Good and school administrator Lyn White said there had been a steady stream of donations since the campaign started on August 5.

"I have been delivering the cans to The Salvation Army and we have another stockpile ready to deliver.

"It is really good for the children at Whangaehu to take part because it raises their awareness and they feel good about helping."


White said some Whangaehu School families are struggling themselves but everyone has given what they can.

Whangaehu is one of 740 low decile New Zealand schools benefiting from the KidsCan programme which provides food, shoes and raincoats.

"The children appreciate the benefits of those things and they have enjoyed the experience of giving back."

In 2018, the Salvation Army provided nearly 60,000 food parcels to Kiwis in need.

According to Jono Bell, The Salvation Army's director of community ministries, during winter tight household budgets are stretched to breaking as families face higher living costs associated with heating and health.

"For families on tight budgets, this can mean the choice between putting food on the table and paying electricity or doctor's bill. Food parcels help those who are struggling cover these unexpected bills by providing food support for a short period, helping families stay healthy, warm and nourished," he says.

Anyone who wishes to support the campaign can make an online donation at Cans for Good bundle.

Meanwhile, Whangaehu School is going from strength to strength.


In 2015, the roll had dropped to four pupils and the school was under threat of closure.

It now has a healthy roll of 37 pupils and principal Trish Reddish, her teacher husband David Reddish and White are thrilled with how well things are progressing.

School families and the Whangaehu community support the small team with practical help and fundraising activities.

A donation from the Four Regions Trust has enabled the purchase of a new school van after their former vehicle gave up the ghost last year.

The van is used to pick students up for school, to take them home and to visit places such as the Whanganui Regional Museum, art galleries, Kowhai Park and Splash Centre.