Students rally for Women’s Refuge
While Taranaki folk dug deep in their pockets to give during the recent Women’s Refuge Annual Street Appeal, the young people who braved the cold blast to rattle the donation buckets were just as heart-warming too.
About 40 volunteers from schools and organisations from across the region were out in full force stationed outside various outlets recently. Collectors came from St Mary’s Stratford, New Plymouth Boys’ High School, New Plymouth Girls’ High School, Sacred Heart College, Francis Douglas Memorial College, NewTamariki Oranga, Opunake High School, and City West Church
‘‘It was brilliant to see young people out collecting to support their local women and children.’’ said the refuge’s relationships manager, Shona Smith.
‘‘Having people give up their time and being out there literally standing up for what we do is a very humbling feeling, it’s almost like a pat on the back.’’
Many of the schools and organisations were long-time supporters of the street appeal and Smith said it was always incredibly positive to have our ‘future generation out there collecting for us.’
‘‘I was so happy with the girls. It was a freezing cold wet day and they stuck it out without any complaints,’’ said Maree O’Connor from St Mary’s, Stratford.
The response from people who were entering the outlets with shopping on their mind was also humbling. Many went in and got change out to donate as they left.
Each year, an average of 14 women and 10 children are killed in New Zealand by a family member and more than 3500 convictions are recorded against men for assaults on women. Taranaki Women’s Refuge has provided services in the region for more than three decades and the street appeal also served as a way to raise awareness of the issue.
While refuge receives some funding from government it is reliant on sponsorship and donations from the community to survive. All proceeds raised from the appeal will go directly to the local refuge to support the region’s women and children affected by family violence.
‘‘We have a community out there that recognises the need,’’ Smith said,
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Daniel McWatters, Callum Shimmin and Rory Bevins from New Plymouth Boys High School collecting up a storm for charity.