Editorial: We do care about people

By Annemarie Quill

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Local Lawyer Denise Arnold has done a lot of work in Cambodia to improve education.
Local Lawyer Denise Arnold has done a lot of work in Cambodia to improve education.

Last week during a can collection for the Bay of Plenty Times foodbank appeal with colleagues, I caught my finger on my daughter's top and it ripped the nail off.

Painful though it was, I didn't get much sympathy. Rightly so. It is after all a 'first world problem'. A quick trip to the nail bar and my worries were over.

As Christmas looms, many local families are struggling to put food on the table. The generosity of residents and businesses in the appeal so far has shown how much Tauranga cares.

Sonya Bateson reports on page 6, Tauranga Sunrise Lions Club collected $3000 worth of food from Avenues residents on Saturday, making the running total raised around $44,541.

"Tauranga cares" was also the message a friend posted on Facebook after Amy McGillivray's story last week about The Rotary Club of Tauranga's donation of a car to a local family with twins who have severe disabilities.

After reading about the family's plight in the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend, Rotary Club local president Ann Pritchard said members wanted to do something to help, and pitched in to buy a six-seater Mazda for them. It will mean that the family can travel together, not just to Auckland for hospital trips, but for simple family outings to the beach.

On Saturday night, the generous spirit of another Tauranga local, lawyer Denise Arnold, was profiled on TV One's NZ Story for her work in Cambodia. Since 2008, Denise has worked tirelessly with supporters to improve education there. The Cambodia Charitable Trust now supports eight schools and two teachers' colleges, and last year alone raised $300,000 in funding. The programme featured Denise's two daughters who, since visiting Cambodia with their mother, have learned from her a valuable lesson: how one person can effect change for so many.

I am always inspired by these stories of community generosity.

As we get caught up in the madness of the holidays, it is easy to sweat the small stuff, whether it be broken nails, glazing the ham, or braving the malls. Just one week remains of our foodbank appeal.

Let's keep up the important message that "Tauranga cares".

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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