Whitby boy's Christmas goodwill snowballs

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 09:59 18/12/2012
18-KPNollie1WEB
Kris Dando
SAINT OLLIE: Ollie Robinson, 10, displays a maturity beyond his years and his social conscience has ensured a brighter Christmas for many local families.
18-KPN-ollie2WEB
Kris Dando
SAINT OLLIE: Ollie Robinson, 10, displays a maturity beyond his years and his social conscience has ensured a brighter Christmas for many local families.

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Ollie Robinson is likely to get a few nice presents this Christmas, but lately his mind has been on those less fortunate than himself.

The Whitby 10-year-old has been on a mission for the past month, after realising many kids his age won't get any presents on Christmas Day.

Ollie and his family distributed more than 600 flyers around Whitby three weeks ago, asking for donated gifts, and requested support in a letter to the editor of Kapi-Mana News.

"New Zealand is a country with lots of generous people and there are kids out there that don't get stuff like some of us do," said Ollie. "If I don't ask now, it might not happen."

The response has been overwhelming. Ollie anticipated a shopping trolley full of goods to take to Kmart's Wishing Tree last Thursday, but was wondering how more than 200 wrapped and labelled gifts were going to fit in the family car.

Mum Kate said presents were being dropped off on their Port Lane home's doorstep at all hours.

Families and staff from Pauatahanui School, which Ollie attends, were especially generous. "Pretty much everyone there gave something, it's just been amazing.

"Complete strangers have been coming up to the house, one lady gave us a call and came with a big bag full within two hours [of receiving the flyer]."

Former All Black Dion Waller, who has children at Pauatahanui School, gifted All Black posters, Hurricanes flags and basketballs. Most gifts were sports gear, soft toys, games, dress-up costumes and books.

Ollie is still coming to grips with the landslide of gifts and goodwill he created. Because of the success of his inaugural effort, he plans to do it all again next year.

ARMY CHIPS IN

Kmart's Wishing Tree is fully laden, but there is hope the presents will keep coming.

Soldiers from the Trentham Army base trundled into the Kmart car park in Porirua last week, delivering more than 400 presents collected by the personnel. Store manager Julian Hopkins hopes to beat the 3000 presents collected last year. All will be given to the Salvation Army to hand out before Christmas.

"The response from the NZDF, Ollie and members of the public has been impressive, people have seen the need out there and they want to help."

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Staff sergeant Dee O'Connor said the thought some children would wake up with nothing on December 25 touched a lot of people. She hoped the NZDF initiative, in its second year, would continue to gather momentum.

Kmart's Wishing Tree is fully laden, but there is hope the presents will keep coming.

Soldiers from the Trentham Army base trundled into the Kmart car park in Porirua last week, delivering more than 400 presents collected by the personnel. Store manager Julian Hopkins hopes to beat the 3000 presents collected last year. All will be given to the Salvation Army to hand out before Christmas.

"The response from the NZDF, Ollie and members of the public has been impressive, people have seen the need out there and they want to help."

Staff sergeant Dee O'Connor said the thought some children would wake up with nothing on December 25 touched a lot of people. She hoped the NZDF initiative, in its second year, would continue to gather momentum.

- Kapi-Mana News

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