Book sale pro­ceeds put to good use

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

Those who bought books from May’s Red Cross Book Sale have made a telling con­tri­bu­tion to re­set­tling former refugees in the city.

Two fam­i­lies from Afghanistan and one from Burma who ar­rived from the Auck­land cen­tre to take up new lives in Palmer­ston North on Fri­day, di­rectly ben­e­fited from some of the money the an­nual sale raised.

Na­tional Red Cross pres­i­dent Jenny McMa­hon was in Palmer­ston North last week for new area coun­cil in­duc­tions, and ac­cepted the $100,000 cheque from the lo­cal branch.

‘‘The book sale is amaz­ing – the lo­cal sup­port is phe­nom­e­nal,’’ Jenny says.

The city’s an­nual sec­ond hand sale event is the sec­ond-big­gest fundraiser in the coun­try for Red Cross be­hind the na­tional ap­peal.

‘‘It’s hard work rais­ing money, and the peo­ple who do the work have a say where the money goes lo­cally, na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally,’’ she says.

‘‘Lo­cally they’ve de­cided it’s go­ing to pro­vide sup­port for an Afghan refugee; for Cur­tain­bank; the Rise Up teen camp; a small moun­tain of win­ter-weight du­vets for new fam­i­lies, and new kitchen­ware and fur­nish­ings for three fam­i­lies ar­riv­ing in Palmer­ston North from Afghanistan and Burma.’’

The lo­cal branch’s Liz Pointer says in the past newly ar­rived fam­i­lies were given sec­ond-hand goods.

‘‘It used to be 100 per cent do­nated; now it’s 100 per cent brand new.’’

Liz says that where there are cur­tain­banks of­fer­ing full-length cur­tains, there have been sig­nif­i­cant de­creases in res­pi­ra­tory cases.

Na­tion­ally, some of the money will go to­wards dis­as­ter wel­fare sup­port such as the Pil­low­case pro­gramme for chil­dren, and de­vel­op­ing trained emer­gency teams.

‘‘The bet­ter pre­pared peo­ple are for a dis­as­ter, the sooner they come out the other side,’’ Jenny says.

Money will also go to­wards refugee fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion for groups torn apart by con­flict and cir­cum­stances.

The cheque han­dover co­in­cided neatly with the ar­rival of the new refugee fam­i­lies, and the World Refugee Day cel­e­bra­tions at the week­end in the Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, and on Mon­day at City Li­brary. And also with Na­tional Vol­un­teer Week.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIR­FAX NZ

Kukuh­too Hen­ery from the Karen Burmese group per­forms dur­ing Satur­day’s World Refugee Day con­cert in the Cen­ten­nial Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

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