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Helping those in need to be Super Warm this winter

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

With Winter Energy Payments due to start on May 1, Auckland Foundation is calling on superannuitants who can afford to stay warm to donate this additional payment.

The NZ Government introduced the Winter Energy Payment in 2018 as part of the NZ Super to help older people stay warm and healthy during the winter months. This winter it will amount to an extra $450 for a single person, or $700 for a couple.

Auckland Foundation’s Super Warm Fund was set up last year as a way to enable those who wanted to give back and donate their Winter Energy Payment to someone who needed a little extra assistance to stay warm.

This year Auckland Foundation will be distributing all donations made to the Super Warm Fund to community organisations and charities who are working with those who are most vulnerable during the winter months; the very young, the elderly and the homeless.

CEO of Auckland Foundation Mark Longbottom says,

"As a father of four young children I am extremely fortunate to have the ways and means to keep them warm, safe and dry during winter. But there are far too many Aucklanders who are far less fortunate. Sadly in New Zealand 1,600 people die each year from causes attributed to damp, cold homes."

"Auckland Foundation set up the Super Warm Fund as a way of supporting those who need some extra help to keep warm during winter. And there are some effective grassroots initiatives doing great work in this area. Give a Kid a Blanket is a wonderful example of providing those in need with not just much-needed material items but also some kindness and compassion, while the RaWiri Residents Association works closely with their homeless community to provide them with clothing, washing facilities and bedding."

"This is exactly the sort of activity we want to support through the generosity of Aucklanders. The more donations we receive, the bigger the difference we can make for our most vulnerable communities."

Last year Give a Kid a Blanket gave out over 17,500 blankets and some 5,000 warm items such as hot water bottles, pyjamas, socks and beanies to families in need.

Co-founder Bernie Harfleet says their collection has doubled in size each winter.

"Give a Kid a Blanket will start its fifth winter of collecting blankets and other warmth for kids and families on June 1st. We want the kids and families we support to not only feel warm, but to feel valued. To this end we aim to gift only new and excellent/great quality pre-loved items."

"We focus on, and encourage kindness. This project has created a growing community of care, where generous acts of kindness join together to make a practical difference for those in need."

Manager of RaWiri House Liz Kiriona has also seen an increase in demand for their services, which includes driving the homeless to showers and supporting them with getting back into emergency housing.

"While our services are open to the wider community, we work very closely with the homeless and have built up a huge level of trust with them."

"This is the second winter that we’ll be providing them with our winter bundles. This includes a poncho made out of blankets, sleeping bag, hat and toiletries. We were recently lucky enough to get some umbrella material and have managed to make another 50 ponchos out of that."

"We’re seeing the need in the community increase all the time."

Donations to the Super Warm Fund can be made online at aucklandfoundation.org.nz/donate.

For more details about the Super Warm Fund, including how to apply for a grant, please visit aucklandfoundation.org.nz/superwarm.

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