Needy children to benefit from clothing hand-me-downs
Needy kids to get clothing from better-off pupilsMATT STEWART
Thousands of children in Porirua schools could expand their wardrobes with hand-me-downs from Wellington's better-off pupils.
Newtown designer Beba McLean and Island Bay mother Erin Todd are behind the Care, Share and Wear children's clothing initiative, which aims to deliver clothing bundles to some of the estimated 3000 pupils in Porirua's 15 decile 1 and 2 schools at the start of the next school term.
"In a throwaway society of cheap clothing and excessive consumption, we've lost the concept of hand-me-downs and we're bringing it back," Ms McLean said.
Alarmed at seeing school pupils in Newtown wearing inadequate clothing, Ms McLean contacted nurse Linda Cook, who founded Care, Share and Wear in Taranaki last winter after seeing two children walking to school in New Plymouth dressed unsuitably for snowy conditions.
Ms McLean and Ms Todd are in talks with several Wellington schools, and so far St Benedict's School in Khandallah has expressed interest in signing up.
In Taranaki almost 100 per cent of pupils at schools approached to donate have come on board, and Ms McLean is expecting similar support from Wellington.
"It may seem obvious, but clothing not only has a significant impact on children's physical wellbeing by protecting them from the elements, but also on their emotional wellbeing.
"Unfortunately we do - intentionally and unintentionally - judge on appearances and I think that when people feel good about the clothes they're wearing it has a positive effect on their self-esteem." Each child gets three bags of clothes in a gender-specific pack containing 12 to 20 tops as well as shorts, jeans, track pants, skirts, dresses, pyjamas, underwear, jackets and shoes.
Twenty volunteers have enlisted - mostly women, many of them mothers - who will pick up the clothes, wash, mend and sort them for gender and age, and then deliver them.
But the not-for-profit operation needs space and the pair have their eye on premises in Mt Cook's Tasman St.
To get the ball rolling they have taken to crowd-source funding website PledgeMe with a target of $1500 by September 21.
Like its Taranaki counterpart, the Wellington group offers clothes to children in Women's Refuge safe houses, who can arrive at the secret locations with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Porirua public health nurse Annie Highet said schools canvassed in her catchment had been positive about the scheme.
Some pupils from schools she worked with in the city had missed school - especially in winter - because of a lack of adequate clothing.
"When kids are at school they're learning and socialising - if they can't get to school because of inadequate clothing, they're missing those outcomes," Ms Highet said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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