As the seasons change and temperatures start to drop, police are working with Auckland charity Give a Kid a Blanket to help offer comfort and warmth to whānau in need this winter.
The charity collects blankets, winter warmers and vital supplies that are distributed through health workers to children and their families, and Tāmaki Makaurau Police regularly use them to help those who need it.
“Give a Kid a Blanket (GaKaB) is an incredible NGO that the Waitematā Family Harm Intervention Team (FHIT) rely on heavily and daily,” says Inspector Stefan McIntyre of Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Director - Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke.
“Nothing is ever too much to ask. Staff will contact [charity co-founder] Bernie and his team in the morning to request goods for victims and whānau in need, and by the middle of the day the packages are ready to pick up.”
These goods can be anything from blankets, clothes and shoes to school supplies and food parcels.
“Give a Kid a Blanket never refuse a request and will even come in on the weekend to assist if called up by the family harm team,” says Stefan.
“The quality of the goods they provide is excellent, and they are always tailored to the specific needs of the tamariki, rangatahi and whānau.
“We would be lost without the amazing contribution GaKaB make to our local community.”
GaKaB was started as a “community activated art action” in 2015 by artists Donna Turtle Sarten and Bernie Harfleet, built on the belief that no child should go to bed cold. It became a registered charity in 2019.
Throughout winter Bernie says, they work Auckland-wide, responding to requests from several social agencies who are seeking bedding and other resources on behalf of their clients.
“Each winter these requests increase, and we expect this winter to be no exception,” he says.
“We want those receiving items from us not only to feel warmth and comfort, but importantly to feel valued by the community. To this end we ask that all pre-loved donated items are in excellent condition. We also welcome new and handmade items.”
GaKaB’s winter campaign launches on 28 May and runs until late July. You can find out more, including a list of donation drop-off points, on the Give a Kid a Blanket website and Facebook page.