The power of so­cial me­dia

South Canterbury Herald - - FRONT PAGE - AL WIL­LIAMS

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.’’

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