With a new 130m2 shed almost ready to go, Kids in Need Waikato founder Linda Roil is looking forward to the extra space. It’s badly needed, as the charity continues to be supported by generous locals who have been dropping off clothes, toys and other gear for children around the Waikato who are coming into foster care.
And local businesses have got behind Kids in Need Waikato as well, with Jumble Around recently donating $3,000 to the cause, and $1375 raised by Mitre 10 with a recent Ladies’ Night event. Also on board has been Onyx Cambridge, which ran an afternoon tea recently with all proceeds going to Kids in Need Waikato. That raised $420, Linda said, and gave her the chance to share the work she’s been doing for foster children who very often arrive at a caregiver’s home with the clothes on their backs and nothing else. Scheduled to speak from 3 – 4.30pm at Onyx on October 7, Linda talked until 5.30pm, “and conversations carried on afterwards”, she said.
Linda and her volunteers have made up about 440 packs for kids in need this year, with each containing toiletries, new underwear, socks and pyjamas and other things the young people might need. Linda is keen to see the end of the black rubbish bags the kids often use to cart around what possessions they might have – either those or the ubiquitous red, white and blue striped bags – so her next plan is to provide each foster child with a backpack and sports bag.
“They deserve a proper bag when they go for respite or to camps,” Linda said.
In the meantime, Linda is busy applying for grants to get the new shed kitted out with shelving, with the aim of having morning and afternoon drop-ins where caregivers can come and find support and friendship. Not one to forget the children, there’s also a playground taking shape outside the shed, where kids can play while their caregivers can have a coffee and keep an eye on them.
And Linda hopes volunteers will pop in and out to help make up the packs, with each one making a tremendous difference to children in need.
“People have just been amazing,” Linda said, adding that she had no idea Kids in Need Waikato would take off the way it has done.