You shall go to the ball...

By Lin Ferguson

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DRESS FOR SUCCESS: Rochelle Steer, organiser of the Kai Kitchen and the Koha Shed in Hawera, is looking for ball gowns for students.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS: Rochelle Steer, organiser of the Kai Kitchen and the Koha Shed in Hawera, is looking for ball gowns for students.

Once upon a time just a few weeks ago a Hawera mum became a fairy godmother in disguise.

Her mission was to ensure all the Year 13 girls at Hawera High School went to the school ball on June 11, whether their parents could afford to send them or not.

Rochelle (Rocky) Steer runs Kai Kitchen, supplying lunches for those kids turning up at school without them.

She says her mission is to help "kids who need a break, and there's more out there than you would realise".

To that end, she put a request up on her Kai Kitchen facebook page and the message went around the country.

"It's been amazing; we've even had gorgeous gowns coming from Auckland."

Her plan to outfit all the girls had been a huge hit, she said, and the call was out there for smart shoes as well.

Hairdressers are coming into Hawera on ball day so none of the girls miss out on a hairdo.

"Even local makeup artists have volunteered their time, and several locals are offering their cars to drive the girls to the ball in style."

So far the number of students who will be helped is between 10 and 15, she said.

Rocky said she'd always known the town had families on the breadline and struggling to survive.

"It's real, I've seen it, and I want to help. And the number of people who have stepped forward to help is wonderful."

The Year 13 dean of the school was thrilled, Rocky said.

"She thought it was a fabulous idea because for some parents the $60 ball tickets were out of the question, much less the outfit, hair, etc.

"The school are giving us some tickets so these kids can get to the ball looking gorgeous and will have the best time."

Already known as the "lunch angel", Rocky said doing things for kids was very special to her.

"I remember when my daughter went to the school ball, it was an incredible expense."

She says the day of the ball will be so exciting.

"We've hired Tairoa Cottage, which is absolutely beautiful. It's part of Tairoa Lodge, one of Hawera's oldest standing residences.

"We will all be at the cottage and have a lovely lunch, which Kai Kitchen will take care of, then an afternoon tea will be provided by the lodge.

"It will be an exciting day for all of us."

-For more information go to the Hawera Kai Kitchen facebook page.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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