Sal­lies turn down money from pok­ies

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The Sal­va­tion Army’s de­ci­sion not to ac­cept money col­lected from pokie ma­chines has come un­der fire from the chair­woman of Mana Com­mu­nity Grants Foun­da­tion.

Af­ter Kapi-Mana News ran a story in a re­cent is­sue about the pres­sure on food banks, Litea Ah Hoi asked on Face­book whether it came down to ‘‘the moral high ground or hun­gry chil­dren?’’

Pam Waugh, the Sal­va­tion Army’s na­tional sec­re­tary for so­cial ser­vices and for­mer di­rec­tor of Porirua Com­mu­nity Min­istries, con­firmed it stopped re­ceiv­ing fund­ing derived from gam­bling in 2008.

Un­til 2007, it ap­plied for $25,000 for it­self and on be­half of four other non-Sal­va­tion Army food banks.

Ms Ah Hoi said af­ter read­ing the Kapi-Mana News ar­ti­cle she thought it ironic that the Sal­va­tion Army would like peo­ple to fill their food bank shelves, but turn down her or­gan­i­sa­tion’s money.

‘‘It’s a de­ci­sion made by peo­ple in glass of­fices, rather than think­ing about the sit­u­a­tion in Porirua.

‘‘ Surely, th­ese Sal­va­tion Army cap­tains [in charge of lo­cal min­istries] know their com­mu­ni­ties so much bet­ter. Shouldn’t they be mak­ing lo­cal de­ci­sions?’’

Ms Ah Hoi said the ‘‘ other irony’’ was that peo­ple in eastern Porirua, who were most likely to be strug­gling, were the ones who would do­nate to the food­banks.

Ms Ah Hoi said though many of those who gam­bled at pokie ma­chines were Maori and Pa­cific, Mana Com­mu­nity Grant Foun­da­tion gave thou­sands of dol­lars ev­ery year back to the Porirua com­mu­nity.

She named Plun­ket, Welling­ton Free Kinder­garten, Whi­tireia Com­mu­nity Law Cen­tre and Rid­ing for the Dis­abled as some of their re­cip­i­ents.

‘‘I don’t want to bash the Sal­lies, be­cause good­ness knows they are do­ing many good things, but plenty of other re­li­gious so­ci­eties and churches ac­cept our money.’’

Ms Waugh said fig­ures showed that from 2007, 14 per cent of Sal­va­tion Army clients were prob­lem gam­blers, 32 per cent were af­fected by an­other per­son’s gam­bling and 75 per cent of those house­holds con­tained chil­dren.

‘‘ With a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of im­pov­er­ished and very dis­tressed peo­ple com­ing to us and cit­ing gam­bling as a ma­jor cause of their sit­u­a­tion, it would be hyp­o­crit­i­cal and wrong to ac­cept money from an ac­tiv­ity that is hurt­ing our clients,’’ she said.

‘‘ It of­ten takes many years to re­cover from the fall­out of prob­lem gam­bling in a fam­ily.’’

While their in­come ini­tially dipped af­ter im­ple­ment­ing their stance, it re­cov­ered as pub­lic do­na­tions in­creased and new cor­po­rate sup­port­ers came on board, she said.

St Vin­cent de Paul and Wes­ley Com­mu­nity Mis­sion re­ceived $2000 and $ 30,000, re­spec­tively, from Mana Com­mu­nity Grants in the last fi­nan­cial year.

Other ma­jor re­cip­i­ents in the past year in­clude Ti­tahi Bay Lions ($100,000), Ole Foot­ball Acad­emy ($100,000), North­ern United Rugby Club ($ 90,000), West­ern Sub­urbs Soc­cer Club ($ 78,000) and Kapi Mana Net­ball ($75,000).

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