A local girl's big-hearted gesture shows you're never too young to start helping others.

When Lana Chrystall, 9, heard her mother speaking about a homeless man she met through volunteer work, the Te Mata Primary School pupil immediately thought of what she could do to help.

"We talked about the circumstances that led to him being homeless and she said we should save all our money for a week and give it to the man. But that wasn't practical, I didn't know his name or have any contacts," her mother, Sonia Chrystall, said. "That week we read the first article about the emergency shelter."

With that sign in mind, they pondered ways to grow the fundraiser and came up with a "One Week Self Sacrifice Challenge".


Her idea would raise money for the Limitless Hope Emergency Shelter Appeal, backed by Hawke's Bay Today.

Lana vowed not to buy any unnecessary items for seven days and encouraged her family, class and others in the community to do the same.

She was directly responsible for about $800 of donations and there were at least a dozen more people spurred on by an article which issued the challenge to a wider audience.

The aim of Limitless Hope is to put a roof over the heads of families and individuals who find themselves in desperate situations, while working alongside other agencies to make a difference.

Lana's empathy for the heart of the cause was evident: "When I heard about the homeless man we all felt really sorry for him and we realised, it's not just him, there are others too," she said.

"I gave up my pocket money, my family are staying in cheaper [accommodation] when we go away and I didn't have my school lunch order."

She kept others in check too - ensuring her father wasn't buying any coffees or lunch at work.

Kiri and Kevin Swannell, who run a soup kitchen from Clive Square on Monday evenings, are fronting the project to build Hawke's Bay's first emergency shelter.


Property Brokers donated its former two-storey office and Relocate Homes NZ managing director Shannon Tawhiti offered to move the building once a patch of land was secured.

Yesterday the Swannells reached their goal of $65,000 on Givealittle to help with moving costs, but will continue to raise money to get the project up and running.

Finding land was a priority for the couple, with a deadline of October to remove the house from St Aubyn St west in Hastings.

One of their major concerns was finding an experienced project manager who could oversee the move from start to finish.