Charity drive for tornado kids

AMY MAAS
Last updated 05:00 08/12/2012
Ali Mau
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Fair Go presenter Ali Mau and her fiancee Karleen Edmonds will collect gifts for children affected by the tornado.

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Drives to collect food and gifts for children whose homes were devastated by the tornado which swept through Hobsonville are in full swing.

Fair Go presenter Ali Mau and her fiancée Karleen Edmonds were touched by an interview they saw online about a woman who had set up a Christmas tree and decorations to surprise her children when they got home from school.

But, before her children could get home the tornado tore their house apart.

"We just thought three weeks out from Christmas that there must be heaps of kids who are not facing a very bright Christmas out there and we thought other people would probably feel the same way we did," Mau said.

Edmonds sent out a message on Twitter yesterday urging people to donate gifts for families.

"The tweet went out [yesterday morning] to gauge interest and it seems like there's a lot of interest, which is great. People are very generous," Mau said.

While details around how people can donate are still being "nutted out", Mau hopes to get a school hall where people can drop off "whatever they can give".

"It's very early days. It wasn't meant to be a complicated, over-organised thing," she said.

"It's more about making sure that the kids out there have got something to open on Christmas morning. I would hope that everybody is well insured, but there's certainly no guarantee that things will be back to normal for those people by Christmas."

Mau said plans to firm up where people could donate gifts would be in place next week.

Also hoping to reach out is children's charity Variety.

Lorraine Taylor, the charity's chief executive, said food vouchers and gifts would be delivered to children in the area.

Whenuapai School principal Warren Spanhake said roofs and windows had been torn from some of the houses of children at his school, while one family's house was completely demolished.

"Coming into Christmas there will be many worries, especially with shelter and knowing that there will be no power for at least four days. Any donations would be greatly appreciated," he said.

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- NZ Autocar

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