Kickstart for Kids has launched its first Christmas Hamper Appeal and is urging South Australians to be generous and assist a growing number of disadvantaged children across South Australia finding it hard to access regular meals during the school holidays.
Ian Steel, founder of the South Australian charity that provides school breakfast and emergency lunch programs, said the number of children who needed to access his services was increasing steadily, with regular enquiries from schools across the state needing assistance.
“The problems are getting worse and it’s particularly hard for these kids when schools close for such a long time over the Christmas break as they can’t access regular meals,” he said.
An October report put out by the Australian Council of Social Service showed poverty is increasing across the country, with more than one in six children now struggling to meet basic needs.
Mr Steel said he aimed to raise around $50,000 in November which would provide more than 1,000 Christmas Hampers for children in need.
“We want to give the kids food parcels on their last day at school so they can go home and stock the cupboards.
“We’d also like to include some little treats so the children will have something special for themselves at Christmas. We’d welcome any South Australian businesses that might want to help with items we can include as small presents.”
Kickstart for Kids has the support of the Commonwealth Bank in the Christmas campaign. The Bank is asking customers and others to make donations at any branch in South Australia.
Todd Roberts, General Manager, Corporate Financial Services, says he hopes other SA businesses will be generous and help out this year.
“Although Christmas is a festive time for most of us, it’s clear there are many children who are experiencing some real difficulties at home this year and we’d like to show our support by supporting Ian’s work through Kickstart for Kids,” he said.
“Many of our employees will be rolling up their sleeves and actively helping out at schools across the state on the Kickstart breakfast programs next year. And they want to volunteer for the charity because they know it makes a difference to the lives of thousands of South Australian children.”
Kickstart for Kids currently serves more than 25,000 breakfasts each day and supplies 1,400 sandwiches weekly in 140 schools.
Mr Steel said strategic partnerships with local businesses would help the charity expand further into regional areas next year and provide services to more than 5,000 students across the state each day.
He said research has shown initiatives like breakfast programs helped to improve school results, boost self-esteem and keep students in education for longer, leading to better long-term outcomes.
Donations to the Kickstart for Kids Christmas Hamper Appeal can be made at any branch of the Commonwealth Bank or through the charity’s website: kickstartforkids.com.au throughout November.