Happy helping the homeless

KAYNE PETERS
Last updated 14:01 22/06/2011
ANSWERING A NEED: Wendy Harnett buys blankets, linen and towels for Wellington's Night Shelter.
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Dominion Post
ANSWERING A NEED: Wendy Harnett buys blankets, linen and towels for Wellington's Night Shelter.

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Wellington's Wendy Harnett, 45, is doing her share and then some to provide food and comfort for the homeless.

As well as giving money every month to the Wellington Night Shelter, she buys groceries once a fortnight and shops around for towels, blankets, linen and clothes for those who go without.

She says her energy consultant husband, Patrick, is the one who earns the money: she just gets to spend it on shopping for the homeless.

Mrs Harnett has been donating to the shelter for about a year and is modest about her efforts.

She says it all started when she walked down Lambton Quay one night and saw homeless people begging out in the cold.

"I felt awful," she says. "I couldn't walk past them without giving them anything.

"I got talking to them and I asked a guy 'Where are you sleeping?' and he took me to the Night Shelter."

She says she knew the shelter existed but did not know how to donate to it or what the best way was to make contact.

With the frost of winter settling in, the shelter is filling up and day manager Mike Leo says he is continuously on the lookout for any donations. "We want anything we can get."

Mrs Harnett, a self-employed mother, is a great supporter of the shelter. "It's fantastic," he says. "Out of all of our donors, she goes above and beyond the call."

He says many people may not know about the shelter because there is not enough funding to promote it.

"If we could afford a website we would make one but we can't."

Mrs Harnett is recovering from a hip replacement, and her brother died recently. She says helping the homeless gets her focus away from her own problems.

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- The Dominion Post

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