Brain food needed
Teachers at Dargaville High School are dipping into their back pockets to feed hungry students.
Principal David Bargh says the school has seen a significant increase in the number of students turning up hungry because of hard economic times.
"Some teachers have been providing spread and bread in the classroom."
Mr Bargh says disruptive or unfocused students offered something to eat soon settle down again.
The school is working alongside community groups to tell people about its needs.
"We need non-perishable goods such as Weet-Bix and tinned goods."
Mr Bargh says the trend of students coming to school hungry has increased during the past 10 years though it's become more of an issue lately.
"It's about giving those students the best shot at education. They need something to eat so they can concentrate – especially carbohydrates because teenagers burn a lot of energy quickly," he says.
Ngati Whatua community development project co-ordinator Darlene Lang is supporting the school in its message asking the community to help out its students.
"As we all know the young people need food in their stomachs for them to be able to learn and we can't have these young people going hungry. I know some of you are saying that this is the parents' responsibility and you are right," she says.
"But it is not happening and who is suffering – the children."