Huge response to blanket appeal

The Blankets 4 kids 4 Winter “Wall of Blankets” in the Howick War Memorial Community Centre. From left to right are Lole Turner, volunteer from All Saints; Bill Charkow, Rotary Convenor; Sarah Laing, Howick Village Association; Chontelle Bidois and Ann Voykovich, Stand Children’s Services; Jane Newbury, Howick Village Association. Foreground, Reverend Lucy Nguyen, All Saints, and Libby Giddey, Our Lady Star of the Sea. Times photo Wayne Martin

The Blankets 4 Kids 4 Winter appeal organised by Howick Rotary and supported by the Howick Village Association drew to a close last Tuesday with a record number of donations.

With blankets still flowing in, the end result will be in excess of 1500 blankets donated to help keep needy families and kids warm this winter, Rotary Convenor, Bill Charkow said.

“The response has been amazing across the whole community with individuals, families, schools and the BNI [Business Network International] and Howick Click business groups making donations,” said Charkow.

“Last year we collected around 350 blankets so this year’s effort has been incredible. As a club we are thrilled that the community has got in behind the project and has been so generous.

“People have donated excess home blankets, the Knitting in Public Group made and donated lovely colourful blankets, crochet squares have been made into blankets and there is a substantial quantity of brand-new blankets that people have purchased and donated, some still in boxes.

“In addition, there were donations of children’s gloves, socks and knitted hats…just marvellous.”

Howick Village Association town centre manager Jane Newbury said, “It was great to support Rotary in such a worthwhile community project and we are thrilled with such an outstanding end result. Lending our resources to the project and assisting Rotary’s well-oiled machine was a privilege and a pleasure.”

The three charities who will distribute the blankets to families in need – Stand Children’s Services, All Saints Anglican Church and Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church – were invited to the information centre last Thursday to see the huge range of blankets that had been collected and stored there.

They all expressed their amazement and gratitude for the generosity of the Howick community with Reverend Lucy Nguyen summing it up, “From the warmth of hearts to the warmth of homes in need.”

With a large number of infant and smaller blankets donated again, as last year, Littlemore the charity that looks after the needs of babies across Auckland will also be a recipient of the community’s generosity.

Rotary president Madeleine East said, “Based on the success of the first year, we committed more resources to the project this year, even developing a new logo, and it is wonderful that the Howick community has really embraced the project so generously and we have achieved such an amazing result.

“It will be an annual event in our calendar so watch out for Blankets 4 Kids 4 Winter in May next year.”