The food bank initiative was more successful than centre manager Jean Harding could ever have imagined:
At the start of the last term of the year, we started thinking about Christmas and the Kiwi tradition of making donations to those less fortunate than ourselves at this time of the year. I realised that many migrants and refugees may not know about this, so decided to visit each class with several pieces of information including our tradition of donating. I asked each class if they would like to donate one item of food, bearing in mind that they already donate to the Mosque or Temple and that they may not be able financially to give to Kiwi families.
I had imagined each person may donate a bag of rice or tin of tomatoes, and that some would not be in a position to contribute.
The opposite happened; the very next day my desk was covered with donations, which multiplied a hundred fold. The window sill became full, the cupboards were piled high, the floor became covered with bags of donations. We became very emotional as learners arrived with bags of food, toys, toiletries and cash donations.
We had been in liaison with the Salvation Army and they arrived with a van to collect the items, and we recruited four strong former refugees to carry everything downstairs.
It is sometimes said that those with the least are the most generous, and for our learners, this has proven to be very true. Thank you to you all.
– Jean Harding, Auckland West Centre Manager
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