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King: Lifeline cut to vulnerable children

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The decision by Countdown to cancel its support for the Red Cross Breakfast in Schools programme is devastating news for vulnerable children whose parents are struggling to put food on the table, says Labour's Social Policy spokesperson Annette King.

"The programme depends on the sponsorship from Countdown to provide a basic breakfast of toast, hot drinks, milk and cereal to children attending 61 schools. It's been a real lifeline for many families and has made an enormous difference to the lives of vulnerable children since its inception four years ago."

"Our children are struggling, with many more living in poverty now compared to four years ago. Programmes like the Red Cross Breakfast are vital at a time when many Kiwi families are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living," said Annette King.

"Countdown has been a great partner for the programme, their support and generosity has been invaluable. I'm gutted to hear that they have decided to pull out. I would urge them to reconsider their decision.

"As a community, we have a responsibility to look after our most vulnerable citizens. Too many of those in need are children who cannot support themselves.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child, well we need to take a good look at that village and ensure that it is representative of society as a whole. We need to encourage and support business to get behind social initiatives that give our children the best start in life. This is a simple initiative but one that needs our support more than ever.

"Not only am I urging Countdown to change their mind, I'm also going to ask Fonterra to consider contributing free milk to low-decile schools on an on-going basis. These are basic measures which have a real impact on the ability of our children to get the most out of the school day," said Annette King.

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