Free lunch for graf­fiti busters

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Jay Mar­son and Ka­rina Ratana never have much in the way of spare cash.

But some of it will still go to­wards hun­gry teens who they su­per­vise each school hol­i­days.

The duo are what re­mains of Wai­tan­girua Ac­tion Group, formed 10 years ago to wipe out graf­fiti in Porirua.

With fund­ing from Porirua and Welling­ton councils, and Welling­ton Elec­tric­ity, they paint over graf­fiti through­out sub­urbs of both cities.

Part of their job is to en­gage with young peo­ple, giv­ing them paint brushes to do work dur­ing school hol­i­days fol­low­ing re­fer­rals from po­lice and Child, Youth and Fam­ily.

How­ever, with ev­ery cent needed to get by, pay­ing for their young charges’ break­fast and lunch each day can take its toll on their bud­get.

In the past six years, Mar­son and Ratana have had 200 young peo­ple, rang­ing in age from 11 to 16, as­sist them.

Tawa and Porirua Ro­tary clubs heard of what it costs the duo out of their own pocket and, on Tues­day, handed over a $500 New World voucher to buy break­fast and lunch.

‘‘It’s some­thing we could do to help in some way,’’ Porirua Ro­tary pres­i­dent David Stewart said. ‘‘Jay and Ka­rina do such a great job with these young peo­ple, but they shouldn’t al­ways have to feed them them­selves.’’

Ratana said they were thank­ful to­wards the Ro­tary clubs - and Porirua City Coun­cil for act­ing as a go-be­tween - so that a lit­tle of the bur­den was taken off their shoul­ders.

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