November has been a pretty special month for us – Auntie Jackie (our Auntie-In-Charge) retired from her teaching position and became a fulltime, hands-on, roll-your-sleeves-up auntie. This is, right now, unpaid work but one day we hope to find ways to fund the leadership she gives us.
So because we have a fulltime Auntie, a lot has been done. We made contact with a particularly vulnerable young woman and provided bedding for her, plus bedding for two Shine refuges. We went shopping for some baby stuff for a woman who has a baby and not much else. We bought some bras for a woman who didn’t have any, and some tyres for another woman’s car, and some Warehouse gift cards for a family, and some cheap phones for women who had made it into refuge, paid a doctor’s bill, and fixed a TV aerial for a woman who has left refuge for her own place so she can watch a bit of telly. We gave several women vouchers for groceries and for clothes and household things, and paid for another woman to sit her full driver’s licence so she can move around the world independently.
We advocated on behalf a person with the police, and have been asked to continue that advocacy for them with MSD and Housing NZ and other agencies that can be difficult to navigate on your own, especially when you’re not at your best because life is scary and hard. It makes a difference to have someone sitting beside you.
Auntie Jackie took one of the women and her daughter out for lunch (her treat) and bought her little girl her very first Fluffy. To be honest, she preferred her mama’s iced chocolate but every kid should get a Fluffy at some point, even if it’s so they can work out that iced chocolate is better.
We are also getting Christmas-busy, filling our new storage unit with containers full of gifts and clothes. We make an effort to gather up presents that match up with the 70 or so kids we will have at the refuge Christmas party – have a look at our Facebook page to see ages and genders and particular wishes, and let us know if there is a kid you would like to buy a gift for. Some of us are picking kids the same age as our own kids or grandkids, and buying them the same stuff to make the shopping easy. The party happens in the week before Christmas. We’re getting some really lovely things to give to these kids – lots of them don’t get brand new, shiny things to unwrap in an ordinary year, so we’re working hard to make this one special.
So thank you to all of you – Aunties and friends – for your gifts of cash and kind (and kindness) for helping us get all this done.
Nga mihi nui,