People around the country have responded to Whangarei teenager Latoya Hood's call to donate baby clothes and blankets for struggling Northland families - but more donations are still needed.

Latoya, 19, and her younger sister Kasey, 16, created the local charity, Pepi Pride, in May to appeal to the community for baby clothes to give out to young mums who would otherwise have difficulty providing for their babies.

Latoya started the appeal after working at Youth Service Whangarei and noticing the number of young mothers approaching them in need of help.

"I saw a lot of kids coming in without shoes, it's so cold and they have no jumpers and essentials," she said.


The sisters are aiming to hold a swap event in September once more donations come in. So far they have collected around two-dozen large bags of clothing and are about 15 bags away from their goal.

"We've been getting a lot of toys," she said. "But we aren't really counting toys. What we really want are clothes and blankets and stuff."

Although Latoya originally created the charity for the Whangarei community she said people have contacted her asking to create drop-off areas as far away as Auckland.

"It's been really cool," she said. "But I want this to be community based and the community helping the community."

The Hood sisters will be handing out posters in Whangarei city centre and will be attending sports events to raise more donations and awareness for Pepi Pride. Items can be donated at Whangarei Youth Centre, Citizen's Advice Bureau or Creative Northland. More information is on Pepi Pride's Facebook page.