The power of social media
Timaru women Andrea Hurst and Rachel Kershaw are using the power of social media to make a difference.
The pair are helping keep the shelves stocked with food at Ronald McDonald House South Island through their Facebook page - Charity Swaps Timaru.
Hurst said the pair established the page about three years ago after realising that South Canterbury parents needed support when taking their children to Christchurch for health related matters.
Hurst said she had seen pay it forward pages and thought; ‘‘why not swap goods instead of giving them away’’.
‘‘People donate food for an item, that’s how it works.’’
The pair said the page had evolved with auctions now a feature and other organisations, including the Child Cancer Foundation, South Canterbury Child Restraint Rentals and Heart Kids NZ benefiting from the page.
They helped co-ordinate the storage, transport and delivery of mainly non perishable goods.
Hurst said ‘‘quite a few people from South Canterbury go to Christchurch and they have to stay for a while’’.
‘‘We are doing this to give back to the community, just to help,’’ Hurst said.
‘‘You don’t realise how many people need support until you start doing this.’’ Hurst said the pair ‘‘would just love to get some more people on board on our page to try and help’’.
Kershaw agreed and added; ‘‘I got talked into it by Andrea and it has just grown from there.’’
Ronald McDonald House South Island chief executive Mandy Kennedy said she was aware of the Facebook page and how it was helping assist families who stayed at Ronald McDonald House.
‘‘We are extremely grateful, super grateful when people like Andrea help an organisation like ours,’’ Kennedy said.
‘‘We use the groceries to restock our pantries as we are essentially a home away from home in providing the respite from hospital.’’
Kennedy said the Christchurch facility had 26 rooms which ‘‘equated to a lot of food’’.
‘‘For some it is just an overnight stay, while for others the house becomes a home for many months and frequent visits. ‘‘It is only because of people like Andrea that our doors are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.’’