Charity keen to offset winter chill

The grant has been called a 'blessing'

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2012
Vaipa Isaako
CARYS MONTEATH/FAIRFAX NZ

IN NEED: Quake relief grant recipient Vaipa Isaako, 31, with her son, Junior Isaako, 21 months.

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As winter takes hold, earthquake-displaced Christchurch residents are still calling out to charities for basic needs such as firewood, clothing and bedding.

Grant applications are still flooding the Variety Christchurch Earthquake Fund and the charity has asked for desperate residents to continue to apply for funding because "we still have money left".

"We are experiencing a very cold winter and we are noticing a trend that some of our Christchurch grant applications are still for basics like firewood, heating and clothing costs," spokeswoman Nicole Renata said.

With plummeting temperatures and many displaced residents in the city, Renata said the children's charity had been "inundated with requests for help".

It had helped Cantabrians fund essential childcare items, such as warm clothing and shoes, bedding and blankets, firewood and heating costs, toys, school fees and uniforms.

"If kids need warm jumpers or appropriate school shoes, that's what they can come to us for."

One Christchurch family said the grant was a "blessing".

Vaipa Isaako, 31, applied for the grant last month and said it was a "relief" for her family.

The Samoan mother of three received funding for school fees, uniforms, stationery, clothing and firewood.

Isaako, who is studying electrical engineering at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, said she would not have been able to afford to pay for her children to go to school without the support.

Her husband worked as a filleter at a fish company but his hours were dependent on the amount of work available. Some weeks he would be fulltime and others he would only get 10 hours, she said.

She bought winter jackets and pants for her children from the Warehouse, school uniforms from Postie Plus. Her two primary school-aged children had their fees paid and the family received $500 worth of firewood.

"It was such a relief. It made me feel happy and was a blessing for my family," she said.

Isaako told friends about the grant and said they had also received funding.

"If people need help they should ask for it," she said.

Christchurch families who are still facing hardships can apply for funding at variety.org.nz.

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