He may not have a white beard and red suit, or say ho ho ho, but to the children at Nuanua Kindergarten, Paul Wahid is like Santa Claus.
For the past three years the Super Save Supermarket co-owner has given a weekly box of fruit to the Cannons Creek kindergarten free of charge.
‘‘We want to give away something really good to the kids. It feels good to help,’’ he said.
With the price of fresh produce being hard on a budget, the gift saved the kindergarten hundreds of dollars, assistant teacher Telesia Smith said.
She said it guaranteed every child had fruit each day and they were extremely grateful.
‘‘The parents find it difficult to manage financially and it means a lot for the children. It means they get fresh fruit. It saves our parents a lot of money and it’s about community spirit. We are extremely grateful,’’ she said.
The boxes contain bananas, apples, oranges and sometimes pineapples or seasonal fruit for the centre’s 30 children.
‘‘We are very grateful for how generous he is to the children,’’ Smith said.
Paul and his brother Gary moved to Auckland from India nine years ago.
They started gifting fruit when they lived in Auckland, and when they moved to Porirua they wanted to continue to help.
‘‘We come from a country way way poorer than here,’’ Paul Wahid said. ‘‘We know how hard it is. We are in this country for a long time and we just wanted to do something for the community.’’
A few months later Smith visited the store to buy fruit for the kindy. She left with the brothers’ promise of weekly boxes.
Three years on from that first fruit delivery, the Wahids plan to extend it to more kindergartens and to start an official charity.
‘‘We’ve been planning to open a charity for a long long time but we weren’t ready. In future we are going to go bigger,’’ Wahid said.
The brothers own six Super Save stores around Wellington.
Mataio Sopoaga, 4, said he was always excited when the fruit arrived.
‘‘It’s good for our body and our teeth,’’ he said.