Waiopehu College students have been getting behind a local appeal designed to help bring Christmas cheer to Horowhenua children in need.

The college held a special mufti day recently for Fill A Shoebox Horowhenua, which provides boxes of gifts and useful items to children in the district who may otherwise go without this Christmas.

Teacher Sarah Ryan said a total of 41 shoe boxes were filled by students with items ranging from toys and gifts to hats and other necessities some children in the district do not own and may go without otherwise.

Students at the college wore mufti for the day and brought in certain items that had been allocated to their year group, or a cash contribution in return.


Ryan said the school ended up with enough funds to be able to purchase any items needed to complete the boxes.

She said the school's student council had come up with the idea to support the charity which appealed particularly as it was a local initiative.

"It is a fabulous local event supporting local families," she said. "So many charities do not impact us locally so this was really important to us."

The entire school took part in the event, including staff, Ryan said.

The school was "hugely proud" of the effort its students and staff made in taking part and giving to those more needy than themselves.

It was also a thoroughly enjoyable experience painting the boxes and packing them up, she said.

Fill A Shoebox Horowhenua was created by Oranga Tamariki social worker Therase​ Apatu and Levin Police Senior Sergeant Beth Purcell.

The pair have been running the charitable initiative for five years, growing it from 250 shoeboxes being distributed to children in 2014, to 1500 last year.