Back the Bear Hug Appeal

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 13:41 21/02/2013
Alistair Sowman
Derek Flynn
Bear back ride: Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman, left, with Plunket Marlborough’s Big Blue Bear and Adele Large with son Theo Large, 2, at Seymour Square in Blenheim, in the lead-up to Plunket’s nationwide appeal week from March 4 to March 10.

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Plunket Marlborough is rallying Marlburians to take part in their major annual fundraiser, the Bear Hug Appeal, which gives 100 per cent to families needing support in the community.

Plunket's nationwide annual appeal takes place from March 4 to March 10.

The non-profit organisation has been providing Kiwi parents with the support they need to nurture healthy, happy babies for more than 100 years.

Nelson Marlborough finance co-ordinator Kerry Hamilton said the appeal week relied on donations and volunteers from around the region, but also gave back to the community. "Everything that we raise - 100 per cent of it - goes back to the Marlborough community."

Proceeds were used for Plunket services such as parent support groups, playgroups, car seat services, parenting education programmes and toy libraries.

Plunket Marlborough volunteers would be collecting donations in neighbourhoods during appeal week, and at the Blenheim and Picton street appeals on Friday, March 1.

Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman, a Marlborough Plunket patron and one of many "Plunket babies", said the organisation played an important part in providing support to new parents. "More and more new parents don't know how to respond to a birth in the family."

Many parents needed support from the outset to counteract the poor start in life that led some children to "go off the rails" later on.

"We've got to have intervention at the start."

Marlborough appeal co-ordinator Heather Sorensen encouraged people to give Plunket a hug by donating money or volunteering.

"We want to be around for another 100 years, but to do that we need community support," she said.

"We're heavily reliant on the funds raised during our appeal. While Plunket's free home and clinic visits are government-funded, the many other services we provide are delivered by volunteers from funds raised in the community.

"A hug is a sign of love and appreciation so we're hoping that Marlburians will help us to continue to provide support to local families when they need it by supporting our March Bear Hug Appeal."

Plunket Marlborough aims to extend services and revive their volunteer presence in the community.

To make a donation to Plunket, visit: plunket.org.nz/help-us-today/ways-to-donate/donate.

To volunteer during appeal week, email Marlborough appeal co-ordinator Heather Sorensen at heather.sorensen@plunket.org.nz or call 0204 000 9864.

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- The Marlborough Express

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