Filling the need at Christmas 

Kids in Need co-founder Linda Roil wraps presents for families who need a helping hand this Christmas.

“…there’s just no food and you’ve got six little kids running around – some with no nappies on because they can’t afford nappies – I can’t just walk away,” – Linda Roil.

A Hamilton grandmother raising 14 grandchildren was moved to tears  when she learned Cambridge-based charity Kids in Need Waikato was giving her family a new trampoline for Christmas.

“Jumpflex has donated a trampoline every year for us and this year it’s going to this particular family,” said Linda Roil, who founded Kids in Need with her husband Graeme in 2018.

“They’re very excited.  The grandmother cried when I told her.  She just cried.  It means those kids are outside with something to do.”

Kids in Need offers ongoing support to Waikato children being cared for by someone other than their parents.

It lends an extra hand at Christmas time, collecting and distributing donated gifts to its families.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of the people we’ve been supporting and a lot of caregivers are saying we can’t buy toys, we can’t give our kids Christmas this year,” Linda said.

“So some of these kids would be getting nothing if we didn’t supply something.  Our Christmas list is growing every day and we’re up to 450 already.”

In Cambridge Kids in Need “wish trees” have been set up at Mitre 10 Mega, ASB bank, CurtainStudio, Reload Coffee Shop, Paper Plus, Bunnies Licensed Childcare and Pre-School, Absolute Coffee House and the Kids in Need shed at 118 Fencourt Rd.  There’s also a tree at UK Flooring in Te Awamutu.

Children’s wishes are posted on the branches and people can choose a gift to buy and leave under the tree.

“Some kids have asked for some big things, which I’ll put out there,” Linda said.

“I’ve got three boys who wanted a guitar and we’ve had a beautiful guitar donated.”

Linda said since Covid she had come across a lot of caregivers who were struggling to provide food.

“We do network with other charities…but when I go and drop a pack of clothes off and find that there’s just no food and you’ve got six little kids running around – some with no nappies on because they can’t afford nappies – I can’t just walk away,” she said.  “So I will go and do a shop for them.”

She said there were many ways people could support the charity and donations of money were particularly helpful.

Her organisation also welcomes donations of good quality new and second-hand clothing and shoes and new toys and toiletries.

“Clothes and shoes need to be clean with no rips or stains and have a lot of wear left in them and we need to know what size they are because the kids can’t come in and try them on,” Linda said.

Kids in Needs relies on grants, donations and public support to help children all over the region.

“We want children to be valued and recognise their potential,” Linda said.

“A lot of them lose their self esteem so badly they just don’t want to be here.  They feel there’s no value.  So we want them to know that someone cares.  And we want caregivers to know there’s support for them too.”

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