Easter eggs had a different mode of transport over the Easter Weekend with West Coast Police teaming up with the community to deliver eggs and essential items to West Coast families.
Since 2017, a small group of West Coast Police have been finding simple ways to connect with tamariki and make a difference where it’s needed the most. One of their initiatives is to reach out to young people through an annual Easter Egg Drive.
While the Easter Bunny was busy elsewhere, the Police volunteer team was hard at work delivering treats to over 300 children on Easter Sunday.
But it wasn’t all about the sweet stuff. The team also supplied dental kits alongside the eggs, winter warmth packages and other essential items to those in need, thanks to the broader support of partner agencies and local businesses.
Senior Sergeant Jayne Bretherton and Detective Senior Sergeant Kirsten Norton are part of the team that thought up the initiative several years ago. With COVID restrictions putting a halt on the past two years, they were overwhelmed by the amount of support this year’s Easter Egg Drive attracted.
“We've been absolutely amazed with all the support to get eggs and essentials out into the community," says Jayne.
"It’s a hard time for many families and some kids could have missed out on Easter treats all together if it weren’t for everyone involved."
Greymouth School Community Officer, Senior Constable Terri Middleton, worked closely with schools and partner agencies to identify those families that might need or deserve an Easter surprise. The Easter treats are collected via drop boxes in the community and distributed by a team of Police volunteers.
All Police involved volunteered their personal time to do the deliveries and, to ensure there is enough for every nominated home, organisations top up the egg bank. This year's efforts superseded previous years largely due to the efforts of Station Support Officer Eugenie Robinson, who coordinated a large amount of donations from local businesses.
Jayne says that many organisations came onboard with the all-important eggs, but the initiative also received some additional funding. This meant the team could extend the Easter offering to other essential items.
“We introduced the winter warmer packs for families in need this year. The ability to do this was thanks to the funding and support provided by Mayor Tania Gibson, the Grey District Council and The Warehouse. Over 40 winter warmer packs were given out to households with plenty of items for warmth including sheets, blankets and socks.”
Detective Senior Sergeant Kirsten Norton highlighted the value of collaboration in the community as well as the opportunity to have conversations about where additional assistance might be needed.
“Along the way some of the conversations became about other gaps people were seeing within our community and how we might solve these," she says.
"The care for our kids was so evident across this whole enterprise and everyone we spoke to. I felt the genuine care of all for our community that makes me so proud to serve on the Coast.”