The plight of children rescued from their homes by Child, Youth and Family, sometimes with nothing but the clothes on their back, has mobilised an army.

"Paddy's Army", that is - a group of about 25 St Patrick's School pupils in Bryndwr who have collected almost 150 pairs of pyjamas to give to foster children.

The pyjamas will be included in backpacks made up by volunteer group Foster Hope Christchurch, which also include things like toiletries, books and soft toys.

Co-ordinator Ngarie Worsley said the packs were personalised for each foster child, to try to make them feel loved and valued at a rough point in their lives, when they had to leave their own homes to move in with a foster family.


"We used to see children come with garbage bags full of stuff, and if your stuff is in a garbage bag you don't exactly feel so great," she said.

The St Patrick's pupils were inspired to help by the stories of one of their classmates, who was a foster child, Paddy's Army member Izzy Gibson said.

"We thought that we're so lucky to have all the things that we have, when some people are being taken out of their homes in the middle of the night to go to a family that they don't even know," she said.

They created posters, spoke in assembly to inspire their fellow pupils to help, and did "a lot of nagging" to collect the pyjamas, fellow army member Kate Wield said.

In the past, the pupils have organised a blanket collection for St Vincent de Paul, and they plan to do more to help local charities in the future.

Mrs Worsley said the pupils' effort would make a huge difference to Foster Hope, which works to put together about 5000 packs each year.

"It just blows my mind and I think it's incredible, because 150 pairs of pyjamas means that we can more than do what we need to do this year," she said.

She said the charity still needed donations of things like toiletries, small toys or craft activities.


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