Link-up fruit­ful

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

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.

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