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North Shore Fund helps fill the gap in school bags.

With 5,000 children in foster care in New Zealand, many arrive at their new home with nothing but the clothes on their backs, or with their belongings in a black rubbish sack.

Foster Hope Auckland is one of eight branches around the country who are working to support children through the transition into foster care.

Initially starting with just a teddy bear, Foster Hope now provide backpacks filled with essential items such as toiletries, a storage bag, a book and a toy to show children that they are loved. Over the years, items such as new pyjamas and Christmas gifts have also been added. 

Thanks to a grant from the North Shore Fund last year, Foster Hope Auckland has been able to purchase 500 drink bottles and lunch boxes to give to school-aged children in foster care in the North Shore and Rodney district.

Louise Allnutt is the chairperson of Foster Hope, and runs the Auckland branch.

"You have no idea the difference something as simple as a lunch box can make to a child who may have very few things to call their own," she says.

"We're so happy to be able to take away yet another expense for a family at the beginning of the year which can be a real financial struggle with school uniforms and stationery to purchase."

"Where some families have to choose between spending money on the food to go to school or the container that it will travel in for the year, we're happy to tick that item off the list."

"Foster Hope is very grateful for the support that Auckland Foundation has given us so that we can continue to make a difference in the lives of so many children who often don't have the best start in life."

The North Shore Fund will re-open for applications in April 2018.