WelCom August 2023
“Never see a need without doing something about it.” – St Mary MacKillop
The Catholic Parish of Hastings runs an annual community project called ‘Thermals for Children’ that helps to keep local children warm during chilly winter months.
The project fundraises and donates to local schools hundreds of thermals and track pants bundles each winter.
Parishioners Mary and Peter Fama initiated Thermals for Children several years ago and it has grown over ensuing years.
Suzanne Rose and I form the committee that continues to operate this important legacy with financial and prayerful support from throughout the parish. The project sits under the Environmental, Social Justice group umbrella.
This year we raised more than $26,000 to supply 1,391 children with merino or thermal tops and fleece track-pants across 30 schools in the region.
Due to the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle we included three additional schools outside of our parish catchment.
We also supplied 58 sets of thermals to two pre-schools at Flaxmere College and William Colenso College.
Once again, we purchased the clothing from the nationwide clothing store Postie, who are very supportive of our work. Postie include our order in their winter order for all of their shops, so they can supply the clothing to us at a discount.
In May, Suzanne and I visited Ōmahu School to present the students with their clothing. Ōmahu School community is operating from Irongate School in Flaxmere after their school and some of their homes were inundated with flood waters when the Ngāruroro River breached its banks during Cyclone Gabrielle.
Through a waiata the students and teachers sang with passion about their desire to be back in their own school and thanked us for the clothing. It was so special to see their anticipation and enthusiasm when we arrived with the boxes of clothing.
All of our deliveries were completed by the end of May just as the cold weather arrived.
We are grateful to our referees Dr Russell Wills and Jim Leogreen who are enthusiastic supporters of our project. We appreciate the strong support from our parishioners and we work hard to keep them informed by speaking at Masses, placing notices in parish bulletins and on social media.
After the clothing is distributed, we ask the schools to give us feedback, which helps us to demonstrate to our funders the project’s success so we can continue every winter.
Here is an example of feedback: ‘This absolutely makes a difference to the kids’ wellbeing, attendance and their overall happiness. Our staff, parents and tamariki are very thankful that the Catholic Parish of Hastings goes that extra mile to show loving kindness in allowing us to be part of this wonderful initiative. We would be lost without it.’