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A hand up to those who need it most

JESS LEE
Last updated 05:00 08/11/2012
Charity care
JESS LEE
HELPING HAND: Auckland Catholic Caring Foundation’s Clare Wade and St Vincent de Paul’s Bill van Dam are lending a hand to those in need.

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Even a small organisation can make a big difference.

That's the message Auckland Catholic Caring Foundation general manager Clare Wade says is at the heart of addressing poverty in New Zealand.

Since it was founded in 1989, the foundation has provided more than $10 million in grants to organisations helping Kiwis in need.

"Poverty is rampant within our communities and our grants help fund these entities which address issues such as problem gambling, addiction and unemployment," Ms Wade says.

"We are here to give a hand up to the community, not just a hand out."

The Ponsonby-based foundation relies on donations, bequests and fundraising events to continue providing a much-needed helping hand, she says.

It has paid out grants of $640,000 this year to more than 40 organisations despite a small drop in donations.

A wide range of organisations benefit from the grants, including St Vincent de Paul, Monte Cecilia and De Paul House which help provide emergency housing, food parcels and budget assistance.

The foundation also provides funding to youth programmes, school breakfast clubs and other community services.

St Vincent de Paul regional co-ordinator Bill van Dam says one of the foundation's greatest benefits is the number of people it is able to help.

"It uses a broad brush to help many organisations," he says.

"They take all of the pain out of deciding who to donate money to.

"We couldn't operate and help the people we help without funding from organisations like them."

St Vincent de Paul provides those in need with budgeting assistance and cooking classes demonstrate how to prepare healthy meals on a tight budget.

Ms Wade says funding programmes and charities which look at addressing the cause of community issues is crucial.

"We're here for the long haul. Charities are often seen as the ambulances at the bottom of the cliff and sometimes we have to start at the bottom to help make families stronger."

The Catholic Caring Foundation is currently running its annual Bishop's Bake Christmas Cake Appeal.

Go to caringfoundation.org.nz or phone 360 3045.

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- Auckland City Harbour News

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