Coronavirus: KidsCan sends food home to families before COVID-19 lockdown

Children's charity KidsCan has changed its policy ahead of New Zealand's coronavirus lockdown, allowing schools to send food home to families.

The charity runs a school lunches scheme, independent of the Government, and says it feeds 34,000 children per day in 787 schools and 55 early childhood centres.

"All food leftover from term one has been distributed over the last few days," a KidsCan spokeswoman told Newshub, adding the charity was waiting on the arrival of term two supplies.

"We are looking at how we can still distribute during the lockdown so schools can continue to pass food on.'

The Government, which launched its healthy school lunches programme last month - separate from KidsCan's scheme - is also looking at alternatives. Secretary for Education Ioana Holsted told reporters on Tuesday they were considering whether food the Government provides could be repurposed, as KidsCan has done.

"Our own food in schools programme - which is very very new - we're just going through case by case to see whether or not there is anything we can do to repurpose that.

"That is difficult because the provision of food - creates a risk so we have to have very, very high standards to ensure that we're not doing damage."

Meanwhile, KidsCan is willing to work with the Government to ensure "no children go hungry" amid the COVID-19 crisis, the spokeswoman said.