Feeding The Hungry In Auckland

Three people have died in Auckland, New Zealand this winter while sleeping rough overnight. Our housing crisis has escalated to the point where families are sleeping in cars, and people on the street are dying.

I’ll be honest, moving to South Auckland has been a total culture shock for me. Previously living in Central and East Auckland, prior to that the Hibiscus Coast, I didn’t see it aside from those on Queen Street and in social media. In May we bought a house out South and my eyes have been opened, it is so confronting. I feel like homelessness is something that is swept under the rug and forgotten about by the rest of the city.

It is a shame that it takes deaths for people to pay attention but in the same token, maybe now the public will appreciate just how serious the situation is.

I was so shaken by people dying in the same town I live in. When myself and all our neighbours have adequate food and double-glazed windows, “eco-home” shelters, it doesn’t seem right that others are dying. I set about finding out how I could help.

I found an amazing lady named Debbie Munroe who takes it upon herself to feed, clothe and help the people who she refers to as freedom sleepers. She is doing an incredible job in the community. Here is her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/978559512159944/ . I sat my 3yo down today and told him that there are some people who don’t have a house, they sleep outside and get wet in the rain. I explained they don’t have food and we need to help them. He replied “Mum let’s buy them a Monster Truck toy so they can be happy”. I got him to help pack a box and do a little shop. Instead of my Friday bottle of wine tonight, we bought a couple of packets of pasta, tampons, pads, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and tinned food. We packed a box full of towels, blankets, kids clothes, soft toys, jersies, pots, pans, chopping boards. We drove them around to Debbie’s house to drop them off. I kept talking to my children about what we were doing and why. After we dropped off the box my 3yo said, “Mum we are helping. We are superheroes”. I am so happy he is keen to help and can recognize that giving is the right thing to do.

Homeless

I emailed my husband’s workplace and put an appeal out on my insta page for others to donate as well.

Tomorrow there is a march to try to get a building for the homeless. On this note, churches in NZ don’t pay tax. My understanding of why is because, historically, they provide social services. Doesn’t it make sense that they should open their doors to the homeless, seems as they profit in the way of not paying tax? If they refuse to help ‘God’s children’ then they should forfeit their right of not paying tax.

Homeless JPEG

If you can donate, please do. You will be helping others with the necessities of life. No one should have to die in our country like this.

 

 

Toast Inspo

There’s just something about a couple of warm pieces of toast.

You don’t have to give it up to stay healthy, here are a few suggestions to screenshot, download, print or share.

I am always up for a cuppa tea and toast, there is just something comforting about it, how about you?

Toast Inspo JPEG

Enjoy xx

Two Steps to leaving the home with small children (With free dairy, egg and nut free breakfast ideas)

How hard is it to leave the house with small children?

My kids are 1.5 years old and 3.5 years old and leaving the house was something I felt we needed to work on for a long time! It was stressful, there was yelling and stress bombs were flying. So I got my act together.

Before I launch on in, do understand that my fails at leaving the house have been off the charts therefore I am writing from experience and learning! Isn’t it funny how slip ups can be the most stressful thing ever in the intensity of the moment, maybe they make you a bit sweary,  but they make for a hilarious story later on – or at least you fake laugh when your three year old gets to kindy and tells everyone “We were driving here and Mummy forgot my bag and we went home again to get it”, or you hope the teachers don’t notice the supermarket bought packet lunch that day which you got on your way to kindy which made you late, or you turn the house upside down looking for those bloody keys which you swore you wouldn’t let your toddler play with but it was the only thing which worked at the time and now they’re lost. Hahaha sooo funny… but also not funny. At all.

And don’t get me started on hats and shoes.

So I needed to work on creating a better environment for leaving the house with my two kids in the morning. Working in the community with the community, I was not keen to be seen as that always-late Mum because if I was to work with people who knew me from kindy, they would already judge me as slacker. Not a good look! Also, I want my kids to learn it is respectful and polite to be as on time as possible.

These two steps were game changers for leaving on time:

Create a bag/hat/coat/shoe station

20170629_164421.jpg
Yes, I found the kids school bag station idea on Pintrest and it is a game changer.
This is our station in the hallway for an easier morning. As my children are Montessori kids and I am all for fostering their responsibility and independence which this does wonderfully. It works well as everything has it’s space and they can be responsible for putting their shoes, bags, raincoats and hats in one place when they arrive home. The coat hooks here are at child level to create independence. You could do yours at any level you are happy to manage. Since using this, now my 3yo even keeps tabs on the adults in the house if we break the rules, calling me out like “Mummy, you need to put your shoes away”. It has saved so much time and stress and we don’t waste time looking for that other shoe, the raincoat etc. I feel like the bottom could even use sock and shoe cubbies for extra organisation points.

Routine

It sounds simple but creating a routine is the best thing to do to keep morning flowing nicely. When my routine falls apart, my morning falls apart and everything becomes a stressful ball ache.
The secret with why my particular routine works is because I get up before the rest of the house – which sounds stink for me – but honestly, what’s half an hour if it means you and your family are happier for it. The kids generally wake around the same time every day, which varies, but no later than 7am on a weekday or we will be late. I expose them to natural light (curtains pulled back, or outside to greet the day and chat about the weather) to naturally balance the melatonin/serotonin which wakes them up properly (Melatonin and seratonin work in a swing cycle. Melatonin rises which allows for sleep, exposure to natural light in the morning kills melatonin and increases seratonin to wake up naturally and it also helps their cycle for the day which means they will drift off easier at the end of the day, when melatonin dominates seratonin).
My routine is as follows:
4.45am Wake
5am      Bootcamp (with a buddy for accountability)
6am      Home, shower
6.20am Cook Breakfast and make lunches, drink a peaceful coffee, maybe fold some washing (I have literally folded washing once at this time but I’ll claim it lol)
7am      Kids wake, eat breakfast
7.30am Get the two kids dressed in the their room with the door shut to prevent nudie runs and then brush teeth. This takes 30minutes. How does it take so long? I don’t know.
8am  Get everything organised for the day, bags in the car. Tidy up a little.
8.30am Make sure 3yo still has dry undies, offer for him to use the toilet.
8.45am Leave the house.

 

Routine Tips:

  1. I like to have everyone’s breakfast ready before they wake because it kind of rules out negotiations about what the kids want for breakfast. I tell them “this is your breakfast” and guide them to their seats rather than ask what they want and faff about with toast vs smoothie discussions. Make sure the TV is off, eat at the table.
  2. Put your phone away, “just checking one thing” turns into 10minutes lost. Make a mental note to check that important thing after the drop offs, even at the kindy car park after dropping the kids off (I often reply to emails from the kindy car lot while my 1yo eats an apple in the backseat – whatever works, right?).
  3. Groceries. A lot of the morning routine is based around food. I order my groceries via click and collect Countdown. I have a basic shopping list saved, which covers everything the kids need for lunches. This stops me from forgetting anything. I routinely order on a Thursday morning for collection on Thursday afternoon, to fit in with kindy pick ups. This leaves me free to shop for meat, fruit/veg at my leisure with the kids. A bonus is it helps me (immensely) to stick to a budget as there is no online impulse buying and the cost is tallied up as I shop. I can un-select items as needed to keep costs down. I also work part time and study so, like everyone else, I am time poor.

What my children with multiple food allergies eat for breakfast

Both of my children have multiple food allergies. Together, they are allergic to nuts, dairy, egg and fish.

Thankfully that means I don’t have to chef-up salmon eggs benedict (lol imagine that!) however it also rules out eggs and any dairy based product, which can be seen as typical breakfast foods.

 

Breakfast Foods:

Oats

Oats swirl

Oats are versatile and healthy, they cook in 2 min in the microwave or stove top. We eat them with rice milk or almond milk (almonds appear OK for us). These are some topping variations we use, often we also put in chia seeds:
Mashed banana and cinnamon
Mashed banana and cacao/cacao nibs
Berries
Banana and berries
Apple and date
Honey

Smoothies

Berry smoothie

Our smoothies are a combination of the following:

  • Coconut water or rice milk based
  • Thickner: Oats (uncooked)
  • Sweetness: Banana, honey or dates
  • Greens: Spinach or kale
  • Fruit: Berries (frozen or fresh), apples, citrus etc.
  • Seed: Chia seeds, flaxseed, sunflower seed or pumpkin seed
  • Seed butters: sunflower seed butter, almond butter (almonds are tolerated in our house), pumpkin seed butter

Smoothie Bowl for fun (and mess)

Smoothie bowl

Granola/Muesli

Granola

Oats, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, sultana, cinnamon, gogi berries, cacao nibs, coconut threads. Mix together and place on an oven tray 180C/350F for 8 minutes. Pop in a jar, ready to serve with coconut yogurt and mylk.

 

Toast Inspo

Sweet Potat Toast

Toast doesn’t have to be boring. We always do multigrain bread or paleo bread, depending on finances. Sliced sweet potato can also be used as a toast sub (toast for 5-7 min). Use it as an opportunity to add nourishing, real food toppings such as:

  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Mashed veg such as pumpkin with pumpkin seed
  • Nutritional yeast as a cheese sub on coconut oil, margarine (if you eat margarine) or butter
  • Seed butter
  • Layer nut or seed butter with any combination of banana, coconut, tahini
  • Tomato, hummus and salad greens
  • Hummus with pumpkin seeds
  • Strawberries and banana
  • Stir fried tofu with mushroom and garlic
  • Bacon, tomato, avocado
  • Bacon

Sunflower Seed Butt

If it is a special occasion (not a crazy weekday) then I do buckwheat pancakes (pictured below), deconstructed hawaiian pizza is a fave (pictured below) or corn fritters.

Buckwheat Pancakes

Deconstructed hawaiian pizza

Drop your allergy friendly tips and breakfast foods in the comments section below to inpsire others!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you have learned something useful from my years of figuring it all out.

Much love, Aleshia Dearlove xxoo

Owning Stress

Mumma, please look after yourself.

I know how you work tirelessly, sleeplessly, constantly as a Mum. You are up all night with the baby then the toddler is up at 6am. The true meaning of 24/7. 

 You think your baby has started sleeping through, then they start teething or they are sick or hungry (I have fed my then 2yo steak at 3am while saying to him “Listen buddy, you better be having a growth spurt or I will be so angry!”) How is it that broken sleep is harder after a period of good sleep, you wonder?

When that little three year old hand wakes you up at 3am “because I want to cuddle you Mummy”, you feel angry and loved at the same time.

Getting out the door is a mission. Where did the time go? How has one hour passed already?? How the eff are we late, we were on time a minute ago?? Then your child walks his little muddy boots across the carpet, and you know you have to clean it up immediately, before it stains. You are now 15 min late. Again. Every day. The kindy teachers must think you are so unorganised. 

Sometimes the stress release is screaming into a pillow or crying behind a closed door.

Sometimes it is laughing at the kids, who are deep in conversation about whether Daddy did a poo this morning. “Daddy did a poo” “No, he didn’t. Daddy is asleep” “Daddy did a poo” “No, Mummy did a poo but not Daddy”.

Life is scrambling to tick off the to do list, forgetting that it is PJ day at kindy, reacting to situations and trying to keep up rather than being in control of them. Life is balancing a job, exercise, housework, kids, relationships and half assing all of them. Everyday. On repeat. Motherhood is like swimming while learning how to swim. I get overwhelmed with it, I don’t know about you.

Stress is toxic to the human body. The stress hormone cortisol wrecks havoc on our system. It drains our nutrients, stress activates the Sympathetic nervous system putting us into “flight or fight” mode – when in reality the perceived threat does not require the body to pump extra blood to the limbs and take it away from the digestive system nor does the perceived threat (so this means your own children, or work, or finances, stress triggers) need your pupils to dialate or to pump adrenalin into the system – No, the perceived threat is a signal to you to “check yourself before you wreck yourself”. When you feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, that should be your signal to say right,  life, today I am owning you. 

A widow I used to work with told me that stress is what killed her husband. She said no job, no amount of money, nothing is worthwhile if it causes prolonged stress. My husband was balancing two kids under two in his managerial position, working what I am sure are illegal overtime hours, and his stress physically manifested itself in the form of scalloped tounge. This was his signal to take care of himself.

Us Mums are so amazing at caring for own children. They are fed with careful thought into their nutrition, we buy supplements, we make DRs appointments for them, we clothe them, we make them laugh, we bath them, fill up their love tanks, we do all we can to give them magical memories while caring for every aspect of their well being. They thrive as a result. So why don’t we treat ourselves with the same love and respect? Don’t we also want to feel happy, loved and as a result thrive? 

Now we have needs, and while it is our job to meet our kids needs, it isn’t our children’s job to meet ours. So keep meeting your kids needs and take every opportunity to meet your own too! Meet a friend for a walk (kids in tow), organise a “whine and a wine” play date with friends, tell your husband to organise date night, buy yourself that nice coat you want, hire help, book in a massage – whatever, be creative and make the time. You would do this for any member of your family, you are just as important as them, so do something.

So today, while I was having a hard day after a hard week after a hard month (but a brilliant, rewarding time, just lots to do all the time, you know how it is #blessed). One kid was at kindy and the other went down for a nap. So I took the opportunity. 


I had myself a warm, Epsom salt and lavender oil bath. 

I made a honey and cinnamon tea and lit a candle. The berry candle by living light candles smells Devine! It is my fave.

I did diaphragmatic breathing and enjoyed the silence. 

Epsom salts are a great way to get magnesium. Perfect for sore muscles post boot camp, for healing and for muscle cramps. They relax the body.

Lavender oil helps with anxiety, insomnia and stress. 

Diaphragmatic breathing is the only voluntary control we have over our nervous system. Your breath is a true tool which communicates with your body all the time eg that it is time to freak out, that you are exercising or that you are calm. Breathing is being in control.

I loved this bath. My 1yo did not wake up during so I got lucky. 

Taking the time to pause and refuel my sanity tank today meant that I was better able to get on with the rest of the day with a smile. Not with a ragey Mum voice and angry face. 

My body is not tense under stress like it was this morning, rather it is like a normal body.

I even managed to shave my legs and put on matching undies when I got out of the bath. So now I feel like I am winning the day when just a couple of hours ago I was sinking under it.

Please, look after yourself Mumma.

Garlic in the Garden

I never thought I would catch the gardening bug.

My Dad and older brother are keen gardeners however I was never bothered with it. I just happily accepted their generous offers of pumpkins, lemons, plums etc. when time came to harvest.

pumpkin

Now I am a home owner and the garden is calling my name.

Being a student at the Naturopathic College of NZ, there are no surprises that what I want from a garden is a herbal medicine garden. I pretty much envision a medicine cabinet in the back yard! It is also known as a healing herb garden.

“Healing Herbs Garden” contains things such as:

  • Garlic – Forget an apple a day, garlic has been used for it’s medicinal properties for thousands of years and by many different cultures.
    Garlic is a triple power superstar. Just like tumeric, it is anti viral, anti fungal and anti bacterial. There is some evidence to show that garlic can fight against bacteria which is antibiotic resistant(!!!) It fights yeast infections such as candida and provides relief from colds and the flu.
    Garlic also has vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin A. It’s minerals are Copper, Iron, Calcium, Selenium and Manganese.
    In our home, we use a clove of garlic in the ear for ear infections, or raw chopped up in water as a shot when we are feeling ill. We eat garlic daily with dinner (sometimes lunch and breakfast).
    RECIPE: A breakfast garlic dish I was taught was to make stuffed portabello mushrooms by removing the stalk, making a mix of feta and garlic to pop in the middle, frying the mushroom and adding avocado, bacon, ciabatta bread to serve. A little thyme also works well here.
  • Lavender – Aromatherapy as a calming oil, great to induce calm and sleep/fights insomnia, purfume, skin healer, air freshener, helps sooth bug bites.
  • Peppermint – Upset tummy, abdominal pain, bloating, irritable bowel
  • Chamomile – Can be crushed and made into a tea plus has cute wee flowers which strongly resemble Daisy’s! Good for indigestion, anxiety,  burns, anti fungal, skin infections, can be used to help induce sleep
  • Parsley – Helps with bad breath, remedy for bloating and gas, boosts energy
  • Sage – I dry and burn sage to help with good vibes. Other uses are that it sooths mouth, throat and gum infections, antibacterial, astringent.
  • Rosemary – Improves mood, sweetens breath, boosts memory and concentration, promotes healing
  • Tumeric – Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti inflammatory

image-0-02-06-c9dcdf4fcc802e8642bbc082b7d3714e7ca40f22d1587cf15b6a118a0829d7ea-V

 

Garlic has delicious culinary properties too (which is the whole point, right?). It adds an incredible flavour to many dishes, it is a core ingredient in many cultures and spices up common dishes such as mashed potatoes.

 

Growing garlic is all about the timing.

 

On the shortest day of the year it is the Winter Solstice, in New Zealand this day is June 21st, and this is the best day to plant garlic. Why? Because Garlic establishes it’s root system over winter then shoots it’s tops out into spring. On the Summer Solstice, 6 months later, it is ready to harvest. Garlic grows itself from itself so if you have some in the pantry then you are ready to plant! Doesn’t growing garlic make you feel a little more tied to the planet and its seasons, it’s rotations? (No? Just me and my nerdy self overthinking about how I don’t even notice seasons on a deeper level than ‘Oh it’s cold’ ‘hey it’s hot’ so maybe this gardening with the seasons bizz might be good for me and the kids. Ok! Moving along!!!)

Fertilizing the garden for garlic planting

A growing plant gets it’s nutrition from the soil. If a plant has adequate nutrition it will thrive (much like any other living creature!) A little blood and bone (if not vegetarian) and compost turned into the soil will suffice otherwise a good old manure will feed nutrtients and beneficial micro organisms into the soil. Add blood and bone to the surface again every month.

 

Step by step:

  1. Fertilize the soil
  2. Plant on winter solstice (June 21st in NZ)
  3. Plant one clove in a hole about a thumb or finger deep. Plant each clove about one hand (your hand) away from each other so they don’t have to compete for nutrition.
    (Cloves should be pointed tip facing up and flat side down).
  4. Add blood and bone every month, if desired
  5. Watch for tips to shoot out of the ground. These tips will grow 9 leaves.
  6. When the leaves start to turn yellow in patches, the garlic is ready to harvest. Generally look for 4-5 leaves to be yellow and the plant may even fall over. This means it is ready to harvest.
  7. Hang to dry

 

Top Tips for growing garlic

  • Each individual clove can produce a whole bulb. So plant it and it grows itself! Money saved, you do not need to buy a plant or seedling. Just grab one from your pantry.
  • Look for the best, biggest cloves which show no sign of rotting or discoloration etc.
  • Growing garlic is all about the timing because the root system has to establish in the cooler months, then shoot out and mature in the warmer months
  • Garlic can be grown in pots
  • The flat part which faces downward will shoot out roots all winter long to establish itself and the tip will shoot out a stalk, visible above the ground.
  • In NZ the best day to harvest Garlic is about December 21st or 22nd.

The paradigm of nutrition education

It is not often that I rant on here, but we’re all friends right? 🤗
My son goes to an amazing kindy in South Auckland where kids bring their own lunch. As a big food nerd, I always peep at other kids lunches not to shame, but to get an idea of what others eat. My son is quite restricted with his food allergies, my lack of time and being a student I am not on a full income. But he is always fed.

At my sons kindy, some kids have hot lunches, some kids have lunches similar to what we knew as normal in the 90s, some have Instagram perfect lunches and some kids have a piece of pizza or two minute noodles. I believe all the kids are fed, there is free grainy bread for everyone who wants it. At the community daycare down the road, the kids are fed as part of their fees and I hear from a friend that the food isn’t amazing, there is sugar and white bread. But the kids are fed, the parents have one less thing to worry about.

I follow loads of nutrition pages and always read the media driven debates on kids lunches, what we are feeding our kids, what we should be feeding our kids etc. etc. I saw one (wonderful and inspirational) nutritionist comment with good intention on my friends post regarding the food they eat at the community daycare, and if she could ask them if they want her to go in and do a nutrition seminar with the teachers and parents. I shook my head at this, the nutritionist has great intentions (can’t blame her for trying to drum up business) but she doesn’t get it. I feel like all these incentives targeting the working class are thought up by people with education and privilege.

The Mum and Dad who work 50 hours a week each on minimum wage, have 5 kids and no time, energy or know-how to whip up vegan chia seed pancakes for lunch won’t have time to come to your seminar and they won’t want to. They don’t want to sign up to something where they could feel guilty, ashamed, stupid or like a bad parent. When I speak of education, some people don’t know how to peel a carrot because they didn’t have that growing up, or they aren’t sure how to cook so they don’t. They are in a routine which works for them, be it cocoa pops  and takeaways or whatever, and no support or resources to change their routine. Their kids are fed. That is better than their kids being hungry.

These people don’t have time for a seminar, they probably work 7-7 every day or do night shifts and are exhausted then need to tend to their house and the kids, pulling in 35k a year, so a 6-7pm seminar does not work in with their schedules although it probably does work with the schedules of those who earn twice/three times as much and work business hours at a desk. A different approach is needed to work with different lives.

Incentives to educate haven’t worked because well intentioned health promoters are approaching educating others in the wrong way. They keep slapping posters on the walls, they are the Doctors who just tell obese people if they loose weight they will feel better and they send notes home in kids lunches and pat themselves on the back, like they have made a difference. To some people, this is fine but not to those they are trying to target. If you know better, do better. Health promoters know better? So do better. Think outside the square. Come up with something different, something tangible which actually helps. Not the poster I saw on the wall at Manukau super clinic saying “Do not put fizzy drink in your babies bottle” with a picture of a brown baby – the target audience. The Mum who needs to read this is probably so caught up in her own head, worrying about why she is at the super clinic and whatever else is going on in her life, that she won’t look up to read your poster. If she does, then what? She goes home and justifies giving her 2 year old 90c fizzie because it is cheaper than $4 cows milk, and fed is better than starving, so she keeps putting the fizzies in the bottle. Your poster is not effectively educating the target audience.

If something doesn’t work, if the people aren’t learning time and time again then we’re going the wrong way about how we are teaching.

It is so easy for us coming from a position of privilege and education to judge and think, well they need to stop buying noodles and coke and buy fruit and whole grain bread instead, everyone knows that. And stop having so many kids. And get off the pokies. And put your children first. But you sitting there thinking that or being a keyboard warrior doesn’t help either, it is just shaming the working class. Until you walk in their shoes, you won’t understand the struggle. When those with education and privilege look at a 1.5l bottle of coke, we think “40 teaspoons of sugar, caffeine, spiking blood sugar levels, insulin response, phosphoric acid, toilet cleaner, corrosive cavity creator, diabetes in a plastic bottle” and we may assume everyone thinks the same thing. But people could also think “Yum and only $1.39, that’s good because I only have $50 this week”. On that deeper level, in their minds, lies the difference.

To change people we need to change their mindsets. Changing a mindset doesn’t happen by belittling a person, or by telling someone what to think, because they respond to being judged negatively, by feeling insignificant and maybe overwhelmed. Changing mindsets happens by slowly chipping away at a persons default thoughts and replacing them with another thought.

Incentives to help change a persons mindset should include real life, everyday changes such as taking GST off fruit and veg and advertising the fact – that way, when you think of cheap you think of fruit and veg. I wish fruit and veg had more marketing, if it was on everyone’s radar that when you only have $20, you knew you could buy ready to eat fruit and vegetables which only require a microwave to cook (potatoes, kumara, cauliflower etc can be cooked in the microwave) and if we rewired our brains to accept that that real food is filling (as one attitude is that fruit and veg doesn’t even touch the sides, is birds food, wouldn’t be enough) then people would make that choice. Instead people look for so-called “fillers” like $1 white bread loaves as they are perceived to fill up tummies. My kids are 1 and 3 and they can go through a loaf of bread in 2 days. I totally get why people go for the $1 white bread vs the $3 grainy bread loaves, because if you are buying 6, 7 or 8 loaves a week it all adds up.

Incentives to help people with their nutrition need to be real life community based initiatives, not seminars, not posters on the wall, not some person from another suburb who only works 8 hours a day telling others of a different lifestyle what they should be doing. If the initiatives are not easily a part of everyday life (such as taking gst off fruit and veg) then they will not reach the people they need to reach.

We need new thinking to change old ways.

If a person is not learning when you have tried the same thing two, three or four times then you need to change the way you are teaching them.

Stop taking for granted that others even know how to peel a carrot, how to boil an egg, how to shop for groceries.

Maybe they do have that education, ok. Then stop assuming that others have the time or energy to cook when they have worked a 10 hour, physically demanding shift then have kids and possibly a second job to then go to. Their lives might be totally different to yours. Maybe the oldest child has to get cheap cereal ready for the younger ones, and Mum and Dad are just happy their kids are fed. That is the mentality.

I went to a decile 1 primary school in Kawerau in the ’90s. Some incredible people have come out of that school including businessmen, Olympic athletes, teachers and a prominent fitness model. To the kids who stole my lunch, my hoodies, my togs, I am sorry I didn’t help you because I didn’t realise you were going without. I had enough, I didn’t realise you might not of. I didn’t realise ANYONE went without or struggled. I remember one boy who stole one item from my lunchbox everyday, he never wore shoes or had nice things. I was scared of him but told on him for stealing when he started taking my chocolate yogurt. Looking back, he stole out of necessity, not as a personal attack or out of greed. He wasn’t the only one living in poverty at the school either. Why aren’t we doing more to alleviate the need for that boy to steal? Do you think his parents would have signed up to a seminar on nutritious lunches? Read a poster on the wall? Cared about a keyboard warrior telling them not to breed? No. Of course not!

We need to get real if we really want to help. There must be more we can do.