Red Shield ap­peal ready to roll

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

Be­fore buck­et­head sea­son de­scends on us, there will sim­ply be buck­ets. Spade-loads of buck­ets – wielded by a small army of vol­un­teers col­lect­ing for the an­nual Red Shield ap­peal in sup­port of the Sal­va­tion Army.

Tak­ing place on city streets from next Mon­day May 2, cash raised dur­ing the week-long ap­peal will go to­wards main­tain­ing the Sal­lies’ com­mu­nity ser­vices.

‘‘Last year the Palmer­ston North City Corps raised $18,500 to­wards our on­go­ing work,’’ ap­peal co-or­di­na­tor Er­rol Marker says. ‘‘Dur­ing 2015, we dis­trib­uted over 1900 food parcels, and pro­vided ap­prox­i­mately 2500 com­mu­nity meals.

‘‘We also op­er­ate a men’s hos­tel, dis­abil­ity group, and a bud­get­ing ad­vice ser­vice, and pro­vide coun­selling and so­cial work­ers to as­sist with our So­cial Detox Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gramme.’’

Col­lec­tors from the Feild­ing and Kelvin Grove Corps will also be out col­lect­ing on the streets.

How­ever, to cover the eight city col­lec­tion sites, which in­clude out­side su­per­mar­kets dur­ing the week and around The Square on Fri­day 6 and Satur­day 7, more peo­ple are needed to help out on the one and two-hour shifts.

The short shift op­tions recog­nise that peo­ple are not al­ways avail­able to spend length­ier pe­ri­ods as col­lec­tors, but may be able to fit in pock­ets of time around their daily sched­ules.

‘‘We pro­vide re­turn trans­port if re­quired, and ar­range ta­ble, chairs and the nec­es­sary iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and col­lec­tion equip­ment at each site,’’ Er­rol says.

Newly ap­pointed city Corps Of­fi­cer, Ste­wart Lee says the col­lec­tion is all about help­ing oth­ers in need.

‘‘I have the sense that the gap be­tween the haves and the havenots seems to be grow­ing, and I’ve been shocked by the num­bers of peo­ple com­ing in for as­sis­tance.’’

While these num­bers vary, Stu says it’s not un­com­mon for 15 peo­ple to come in for food as­sis­tance dur­ing the course of a day, and some­times there are more.

Vol­un­teers want­ing to as­sist can phone 358 7455.

PHOTO: GRANT MATTHEW

Red Shield col­lec­tion or­gan­iser Er­rol Marker gets the buck­ets and sig­nage ready for next week’s Sal­va­tion Army ap­peal in Palmer­ston North.

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