An annual appeal is going ahead in the lead-up to winter, hoping that those in a position to will contribute to keeping Rotorua's young ones in need toasty and warm.

Blankets with Love Rotorua, previously called Give A Kid A Blanket, is an appeal which has run in Rotorua for the last two years, based on an Auckland organisation.

Co-ordinator Debbie Cobby, who runs the platform Just Because, says the appeal collects donated blankets to give to children in need in Rotorua.

"Our winters can be quite cold. A lot of children out there are homeless or less fortunate and don't even have the warmth of blankets.

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"The aim is to donate as many blankets as possible, and in the past we've had collection points set up by daycares, schools, businesses, organisations and individuals."

This year there is a slightly different call for blankets towards the appeal, just for those who feel they still can donate, and would like to provide warmth and love for children in need over winter.

Debbie says initially she thought it would not be appropriate to hold an appeal like this asking people to donate, as many people who in the past would have willingly donated may now be unable to due to financial reasons.

But as time went on, she thought about how there would still be children needing the warmth and how the chances were there the number of children needing this was going to increase.

"There are no expectations and we do realise these are tougher times for everyone. Even a small amount or any donation will be appreciated."

She says in the Rotorua appeal's first year there were more than 300 donations, and in the second year close to 600.

The donations are distributed to organisations that support vulnerable children, which in the past have included STAND, The Salvation Army, Oranga Tamariki, Love Soup, the children's ward at Rotorua Hospital and Plunket.

"It's important this year as much as any year, if not more, to give warmth and comfort to our vulnerable children during the cold winter months.

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"A lot of people are living in poor conditions where they just can't keep warm and it is one of our most basic needs of life."

This year the donations and collections have to been done a little bit differently with social distancing.

Debbie says it would be nice if people could have donations in by the middle/end of June so the warm items are getting distributed just as it is going into winter.

Two ways people can consider gifting blankets
- Knit or crochet blankets, hats and scarves - and in due course will be advised where you can drop them or send them directly to those organisations Blankets with Love donates to.
- Give a small donation (private message for account details) and once able Blankets with Love will buy items (blankets and warm pyjamas) in bulk, and have them sent or delivered directly to those organisations it donates to.