Far North charity The Bald Angels is appealing to the public to clear out their closets and dig a little deeper to keep vulnerable tamariki warm this winter.
Though everyone is feeling the pinch of rising living costs, Bald Angels Charitable Trust founder Therese Wickbom said even one packet of socks or a pair of pyjamas will make a huge difference to the lives of children who live in cold, damp homes.
The charity recently kicked off its annual “Keep Our Kids Warm” campaign, which aims to distribute donated items such as jackets, raincoats, gumboots, jumpers and socks, new underwear packs, and bedding to Northland whānau in need.
A recent delivery of 900 coats and jackets from Coats4Kids, an initiative where Auckland students donate their preloved coats and jackets to Northland kids, was a “great start to the season”, Wickbom said.
But overall, it’s been “quite slow with donations this year because everyone is feeling the pinch”, Wickbom said.
“Maybe they don’t feel they can donate a heap of pyjamas like they did last year.
“We understand that it’s tougher on everyone.
“But even if you can donate a packet of socks or underwear... they’re like gold.”
Over the last year to date, the charity has received more than 10,000 items of warm clothing, 1160 blankets and bedding items, and more than 2000 items of knitwear for babies for the winter campaign.
But much more was needed, Wickbom said.
The need for emergency support has increased this year due to a combination of factors including continued fallout from Covid-19, more people moving north to be with family, and inflation.
“It’s just getting harder to afford the basics. If you didn’t have enough to begin with, where are you going to get the extra from?” Wickbom said.
“You get it from people like us and foodbanks and going without.”
The Bald Angels started the winter campaign in 2014 because “we noticed children not being warm in winter”.
The campaign was “so much more” than providing clothing, Wickbom said.
“As it’s grown over the years, we’ve had really positive feedback from social workers and people who hand out goods to whānau in need. It’s not just about keeping a child warm, it’s all other aspects of the child’s life.
“It’s being able to socialise, go out and play sport and get to school. If you’re warm you’re having a better night’s sleep, if you’re cold you’re not going to be able to function well.”
New or excellent quality items can be dropped off at Café Cinema in Kerikeri, Springbank School or Kerikeri High School.
If you would like to fund some warm packs, visit baldangels.org.nz/shop
Jenny Ling is a news reporter and features writer for the Northern Advocate. She has a special interest in covering roading, health, business and animal welfare issues.