Blan­ket ini­tia­tive taps into so­cial me­dia

Central Leader - - SITUATIONS VACANT - SHANI WIL­LIAMS

Auck­lan­ders have do­nated nearly 4000 blan­kets to help chil­dren liv­ing in poverty brave the win­ter.

Auck­land artists Bernie Harfleet and Donna Tur­tle Sarten started the Give a Kid a Blan­ket cam­paign in 2015 when a coro­ner’s re­port re­vealed that a cold, damp house con­trib­uted to­wards the death of an Auck­land 2-yearold.

‘‘It was very sad, but it got us think­ing - maybe we can’t solve the prob­lem, but we can help warm up Auck­land’s cold kids, and their fam­i­lies’’ Harfleet said.

Give a Kid a Blan­ket is an an­nual Face­book ap­peal that col­lects do­na­tions of warm bed­ding in Auck­land and de­liv­ers them to chil­dren in cold houses.

Blan­kets are dis­trib­uted to those in need through pub­lic health nurses and so­cial work­ers.

This year’s col­lec­tion fin­ishes on July 23 and with two weeks still to go, a record num­ber of blan­kets have been dis­trib­uted.

Nearly 4000 blan­kets have been dis­trib­uted since June 1 with 55 strangers do­nat­ing their homes or busi­nesses as drop off points.

Melissa Wal­lace has do­nated her home to be a drop off point for Saint He­liers, Glen­dowie, Kohi and Mis­sion Bay.

Wal­lace said be­ing a part of the ini­tia­tive opened her eyes to the amount of peo­ple suf­fer­ing in Auck­land.

‘‘I al­ways knew there was poverty in Auck­land, but I had no idea of the ex­tent - it is truly heart­break­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘I have en­coun­tered chil­dren sleep­ing in a parked car, with sev­eral other chil­dren, no par­ents and no bed­ding.’’

‘‘Lots of peo­ple out there want to help those in need, they just didn’t have an out­let to do so, and now they do,’’ Wal­lace said.

With nearly 5000 so­cial me­dia fol­low­ers Harfleet said the suc­cess of the ini­tia­tive was in its so­cial me­dia pres­ence.

‘‘We doc­u­ment the jour­ney of each blan­ket from the hands of the donor to the hands of the health nurse or so­cial worker.

‘‘Peo­ple love that they can see the change their do­na­tion is mak­ing,’’ Harfleet said.

Also, in­stead of doc­u­ment­ing those re­ceiv­ing the blan­kets, they fo­cused on the donors, he said.

‘‘We high­light those or­di­nary cit­i­zens who carry out small acts of kind­ness and once mul­ti­plied to­gether make a big im­pact.’’

Give a Kid a Blan­ket ac­cepts blan­kets, du­vets, quilts and sleep­ing bags, both new and used of all sizes.

SUP­PLIED

Donna Sarten sur­rounded by warm bed­ding to be do­nated to chil­dren in cold houses.

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