Charitable work with bite…

Deb Espin-Scott and Steph Dunsmore, left, delivering their ‘Replacement Programme’ donations to Busy Bees founders Betty Busst and Brenda Rameka.

Steph Dunsmore and Deb Espin-Scott have collected piles of dental hygiene products for families in need.

Just before Easter, the Waipā real estate agents delivered hundreds of oral hygiene items to Busy Bees charity op-shop from where the outlet’s founders Betty Busst and Brenda Rameka will distribute them to those in need.

Steph and Deb launched their ‘Replacement Programme’ initiative late last year, collecting donations at their Sheridan Real Estate offices during the first three months of 2022.   By the time Easter arrived, they had 203 toothbrushes, 238 toothpastes, 11 mouthwashes, 11 dental flosses, and three floss picks.

“We had been trying to get something going last year, but Covid stalled it,” said Steph.  It was through her long association with Cambridge Lions Club that she knew Betty Busst and her work with charity, so the decision was made that when they were ready they would bring Busy Bees on board to help.

They launched late last year, spreading the word through their colleagues and clients, adding ‘Replacement Programme’ information to their business flyers.  It wasn’t long before the products started pouring in.

Their stated rationale was to help families at a time when repercussions around Covid and increasing living costs were starting to bite.  “We realised that when people are struggling to put food on the table, dental hygiene products are at the bottom of the priority list,” said Steph.  “We wanted to do something to help,”

“The flyers generated a lot of support,” Deb added.  “People either dropped items into our office or Steph and I collected them.  We are incredibly grateful to the Cambridge community for generously supporting us.”

Contributions came in from Waipā dentists and other outlets, and a package even came in from a local childcare centre.

Steph and Deb said they will continue collecting the items and would like to see the ‘Replacement Programme’ extend beyond Cambridge.  Together with Busy Bees, they are also pondering the next phase in the initiative, collecting products such as shampoos and conditioners, and feminine hygiene products.

“We’re keeping the dental hygiene one going for a while still,” said Deb, “so people can still drop items off if they want to.”

Busy Bees marked its first year as a charity outlet in February, and has raised well over $4500 for families in need.  It started as a pop-up on-selling donated goods to raise funds for various charities.

Betty and Brenda said the donations from Steph and Deb would be distributed to families in need through Cambridge Community House and Kids in Need Waikato.

They also said they needed more volunteers at the moment – even for just a couple of hours a week.  They meet at Trinity St Paul’s Union Parish church hall in Queen St from 10am to 2pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  Anyone keen to help should drop in for a chat.

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