Providing the gift of warmth

Providing the gift of warmth

With winter approaching, most of us couldn’t imagine the heartbreak of turning on the oven just to ensure there was at least one room in the house warm enough for our children to get dressed ready for the day ahead.

In reality however, there are many in this situation and often, with grandparents, other family members or foster parents raising children not biologically theirs, the household budget is already stretched to capacity with essentials costs such as rent or mortgage, food and electricity – and that’s without the luxury of adequate heating and clothing.

Having witnessed this first hand all too often, Cambridge couple Graeme and Linda Roil who began fostering in 2014, identified the lack of reasonable support available to caregivers and began engaging with their community for donations of clothing, toys and school resources in order to provide care packs to children in need.

They initially ran the initiative from their home but, even after raising money for the purchase of a container and support from ASB with Linda having been chosen for the ‘Good as Gold’ campaign, it wasn’t long before this became unworkable. “I guess you could have called it a ‘happy’ problem” says Linda, “but we had to find a way where we could continue collecting and distributing essential items to families that didn’t impact so heavily on our own home and family. It was then we decided to set up a charitable trust and formalise a registered voluntary organisation.”

With a governing board appointed, Kids in Need Waikato was established in 2018 and the first priority was to build a large shed both as a secure, dry storage facility, but also provide a place for the charity to work from. With generous support from the community, the fully lined and insulated facility was constructed adjoining a repurposed adventure playground for kids.

Linda works full time as a volunteer for the charity, and Graeme supports the strategy, fundraising and direction of the Trust with support of the capable governance team.

“With the sole intention of providing personalised care packs for children in care, Kids in Need Waikato works solely to make difficult circumstances just that little bit easier” says Linda. “We cater for children aged from birth to 17 years and rely on donations. Obviously, it is a not-for-profit organisation, but with living costs continuing to rise, we are putting more packs together than ever before. Last year for example, over 1,300 packs benefitted kids of all ages throughout the Waikato region. We have a continued need for financial assistance, or donations of new or second-hand clothing and blankets in very good condition.”

As the cooler weather approaches, Kids in Need Waikato would particularly appreciate donations of track pants, hoodies and cosy blankets or dressing gowns. “We also have the option of purchasing an item by clicking on the ‘winter shop’ tab on our homepage www.kidsinneed.co.nz” says Linda, “or donations of items are happily accepted at the Matamata branch of ASB Bank. Alternatively, if you would like to contribute financially, direct deposits can be made to Kids in Need Waikato Charitable Trust bank account 12 3268 0100452 00. All we hope to achieve is the dream of ensuring every child referred to us gets the warm clothes they deserve.”

Read the original article on page 6 of Scene Online


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