Kidscan's latest campaign features top chefs cooking real-life poverty meals

Kidscan has launched its latest campaign featuring some of the country's top chefs making the worst meals of their lives to make a point about what our most vulnerable children are forced to eat.

The charity - which feeds tens of thousands of Kiwi kids every day - is calling on the Government to stump up more money for beneficiaries. 

Red Soup by Nadia Lim is the latest creation from the My Food Bag founder.

"You reserve the water that last night's Cheerios were cooked in," she tells the camera.

"Let it simmer away for a few minutes till it's nice and hot and steamy and it's ready to serve - and that's dinner for a whole family." 

The 'soup' is based on a real meal, cooked by a real Kiwi family. 

"What we're trying to do is show people the reality of life of people living in poverty," says Kidscan chief executive Julie Chapman.

"Obviously it's not something they're eating every day but when money runs out and it's tight these are some of the meals that they have to resort to."

Kidscan feeds more than 34,000 children every day but has a waitlist of 3000.

Those numbers back up the latest child poverty figures which show 4000 more children now live in material hardship than two years ago.

Last week the Children's Commissioner said the fastest way to turn that around is to give beneficiaries more money. 

It's a call which is supported by Kidscan. 

"I back that call - I would like to see a minimum 20 percent increase in benefits for families who are the ones doing it the most tough," Chapman says.

She says the argument that they won't spend it on their kids has been debunked. 

"It's a myth to say if we give them more money they're going to waste it."

But New Zealand's growing child poverty problem isn't a myth - instead it's a reality we can't ignore any longer.