De­liv­er­ing Christ­mas joy in a shoe­box

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

‘‘Santa Pera Claus’’ has traded his sleigh for a courier’s van packed to the roof with do­nated presents.

On Tuesday, Pera Bar­rett pulled up to Glen­view Pri­mary School in Porirua to hand over 83 gifts – one for ev­ery pupil.

This is Shoe­box Christ­mas, an idea by which gifts that can fit into a shoe­box are do­nated to chil­dren who oth­er­wise might miss out at Christ­mas.

Bar­rett, called Pera Claus by the chil­dren, will de­liver 3600 presents to 16 low-decile schools, preschools and Women’s Refuges across the Welling­ton re­gion be­fore the big day.

The project be­gan three years ago at Glen­view, a decile one school in Porirua’s East, when Bar­rett de­cided to ‘‘spread some love around’’.

‘‘The kids could do with as much love as they can get and there’s peo­ple out there who will give it to them.’’

In 2015, Corinna School was added to the list and over 300 presents were de­liv­ered to the two schools.

This year the idea had ex­ploded, Bar­rett, a fa­ther of one, said.

It’s a huge job and one that takes him most of the year to or­gan­ise.

‘‘It’s a lot of work to fit in be­tween my job and my whanau, but I have some re­ally great vol­un­teers to help out.’’

A child’s age, gen­der and in­ter­ests are given to each reg­is­tered donor, who then buys a present and wraps it, be­fore it is col­lected and stored in a Welling­ton ware- house then dis­trib­uted to a school.

‘‘Most peo­ple want to help, they just need to be given the op­por­tu­nity,’’ Bar­rett said.

This year there were more peo­ple who wanted to do­nate than there were re­cip­i­ents.

In keep­ing with the theme, courier com­pany DHL pro­vided the trans­port for free.

Driver Scott Poin­ton said it was one of the hap­pi­est de­liv­er­ies he’s made.

‘‘I feel a bit like Santa my­self. Maybe next year Santa will be a hand­some young man in a DHL top.’’

Glen­view prin­ci­pal Lynda Knight-de Blois said she was grate­ful to Bar­rett and the peo­ple who do­nated presents to her pupils. ‘‘It’s about eq­uity. ‘‘Our fam­i­lies are all rich in dif­fer­ent ways, but some will strug­gle at Christ­mas.

This will help.’’

PHOTO: BLAIR TEESDALE-MOORE/FAIRFAXNZ

Pera Bar­rett and pupils of Glen­view School, Porirua.

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