Gen­eros­ity by the bas­ket­ful

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - DASHA KUPRIENKO

Ten years ago, a stranger gifted Tam Schur­mann a bas­ket of good­ies while her mother was suf­fer­ing from brain can­cer.

The love be­hind the gift had a ‘‘huge im­pact’’ on her, so when she moved to New Zealand from South Africa she started mak­ing bas­kets for oth­ers who were go­ing through hard times.

‘‘I re­alised there was so much need out there, be­hind closed doors a lot of the time,’’ Schur­mann said.

On the 18th of each month, the date Schur­mann’s mother died, a group of vol­un­teers fill ‘‘bas­kets of bless­ings’’ with do­nated items to give to peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘I was flooded with of­fers of help and re­alised so many peo­ple want to give and want to help,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s such fun be­cause we never know who’s go­ing to ar­rive or what is go­ing to ar­rive.’’

Peo­ple donate home­grown vegetables, bak­ing, toys, clothes and vouch­ers, while chil­dren help with wrap­ping and card-mak­ing.

A lo­cal chef reg­u­larly makes two boxes of bak­ing on her only day off, another woman brings home­made muesli, and Queens- town group Stitch ’n Bitch make baby blan­kets for new­borns.

Schur­mann said it ’’blew her away’’ how giv­ing the com­mu­nity was.

The group makes abut 15 bas­kets a month. Their record was 47 bas­kets in De­cem­ber, which were sent across Otago and South­land.

Those who re­ceived the bas­kets had mixed re­ac­tions – some ‘‘burst into tears’’ and oth­ers wanted the vol­un­teers to visit again, Schur­mann said.

‘‘They may have been feel­ing so des­per­ately lonely and the knock on the door is just some­thing that is over­whelm­ing for them . . . and peo­ple feel un­de­serv­ing you know.’’

Some peo­ple re­cy­cle the bas­kets and send them back with their own gift and a note.

‘‘I think it brings peo­ple joy know­ing they are sup­port­ing oth­ers who are in the same sit­u­a­tion.’’

Schur­mann said the Bas­kets of Bless­ings group might ap­ply for char­i­ta­ble sta­tus to fund a stor­age unit for do­na­tions and bas­ket courier costs.

At the mo­ment the ma­jor­ity of do­na­tions are piled up in Schur­mann’s garage and vol­un­teers of the group help de­liver the good­ies around the re­gion.

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