As the holiday season draws near in many countries around the globe, food insecurity becomes more prominent. Low-income families often rely on schools to provide breakfast and lunch for their children on school days. So when schools are closed for the holidays, these children rely on food banks and other programs for their meals.
During a teachers conference earlier this year, Regional Representative Kiri Lenagh-Glue learned how this annual trend affects her community in particular. Kiri attended the conference with one of her good friends who teaches in Dunedin, New Zealand. Her friend said food insecurity among families in lower socioeconomic classes increases like clockwork around the holidays. Kiri knew she wanted to help these families receive healthy meals with a side of holiday cheer.
Her initial project idea for a community garden involved legal and bureaucratic barriers that would have taken considerable time to overcome. But Kiri still wanted to help. She reached out to her teacher friend, who told her about a partnership between her school and a local food bank. She gave Kiri a list of items that would be most helpful and appreciated.
Delayed by the change in plans, Kiri worked hard to reorganize and reschedule her kindness act. Instead of donating food items with a short-term shelf life intended for the holidays, she focused on longer-lasting items. This will help the food bank provide long-term aid for the families, as well as right now during the holiday season.
New Plan, Same Giving Spirit
Kiri faced another obstacle trying to coordinate a new date to gather and drop off her donations. She lucked out when she found a friend whose schedule matched up with her own. Together they shopped, packed, and moved all the items. They especially enjoyed the moment when they realized how other shoppers reacted to their purchases.
“My tiny little car honestly looked like a clown car fitting everything in in the supermarket parking lot,” Kiri said. “A number of people thought we were outfitting a university flat with the most absurd shopping list!”
Despite the logistical challenges she faced along the way, Kiri is happy she could keep the holiday spirit alive by gifting each family with their favorite chocolate treats. This specific kindness act felt extra special for Kiri because she was able to connect with her teacher friend, while also helping a local food bank she has enjoyed working with before.