28 May 2020
two girls by the window_small


When the going gets tough, Kiwis dig deep to help those in need. This is what we at Variety have seen from the results of our Covid-19 Emergency Appeal for Kiwi kids, a response effort we launched in March to meet the urgent need for food and other essentials by disadvantaged families across New Zealand.

The drive has so far raised $335,000 to provide immediate assistance to more than 1,600 Kiwi kids and their families:

  • More than 270 families received food parcels
  • More than 1,300 children received grocery cards
  • More than 100 children will receive one-off support for extra needs such as medical or mobility equipment, therapeutic care or a digital device for learning

Single parent Kerri* and her 13-year old daughter Rebecca* was one such family helped by Variety. Kerri was suffering from pneumonia when the country went into Alert Level 4, leaving no one available to get food for herself and her daughter, who was also unwell at the time. Rebecca’s school works closely with Variety and reached out for help on the family’s behalf. We urgently arranged a food parcel to be delivered to Kerri’s address. Seeing that box full of fresh, good-quality grocery items brought intense relief to Kerri. She told us that knowing that people cared about her family gave her and Rebecca not only a new sense of self-worth, but the knowledge that they were not alone. “Thank you for giving us a little hope and love,” she said.

The generosity from both corporate and individual supporters has been incredible. While we expect the need from families to grow as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt in the coming winter months and beyond, help from our donors continues.

Madeleine* was one of few children lucky enough to receive her emergency food voucher and her sponsorship acceptance letter in a space of one week. Her mum Annie’s* initial note was brimming with heart emojis, “Thank you so much for the unexpected gift this afternoon. It really couldn’t have come at a better time for my daughter.” After a few days, we heard from Annie again, “You made me and my daughter’s day so much better! We just received your letter in the mail saying you have found a sponsor for her.”

Danielle*, who is caring for her nine-year old granddaughter, wrote to us after receiving grocery cards through the post, “Thank you for the unbelievable surprise in the mail today. What a beautiful caring country we live in!”

There are more than 300 children who have applied to us for ongoing support in the last few months and are waiting to be matched to a sponsor. We know how urgent the need is for these families, so we will be supporting them in the short term until we find an individual sponsor for each child, which we are working hard to do. This will be a welcome relief for families who normally could wait up to six months to be sponsored.

Thank you for your continued support and for the incredible difference your generosity makes to the lives of Kiwi kids and their whanau.

Richard Spilg, President, Variety – the Children’s Charity 


*Names of children and parents were changed to protect their privacy.