Toys to fund Pacific emergency aid kits

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 11/04/2014
Sylvia Stokes

Sylvia Stokes helps organise more than eight tonnes of toys and books.

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More than eight tonnes of toys and books are piled high in an old building in Waitara.

Action figures are nestled on soft toy kiwis, copies of comic books are stacked against encyclopedias and Little Golden Books take pride of place at the front door.

Sorting through the treasures has been a labour of love for a team of volunteers from Waitara Rotary, Soroptimists Waitara and the North Taranaki Community House.

The supply of the pre-loved trinkets was carefully collected by former Waitara man Ashley Snowden in the past eight years.

He was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the 1970s and the disease compelled him to collect toys he wanted to send to children around the world.

Unfortunately the cost of bulk shipping is extremely high and despite Snowden's plan to get rid of his collection he had no means of doing so. That's where the Waitara Rotary club came to his aid.

Although they can't ship the toys, they have come up with an idea that Snowden is happy with.

The tonnes of toys and books are being slowly sorted for a giant sale and the money raised from the project will go towards buying emergency response kits for the Pacific, Waitara Rotary club member Brian Jackson said.

"We started shifting this stuff before Christmas and we've still got a bit to go. It's a big job, but it will help him to fulfil a dream he had."

Each kits costs $600 and includes more than 60 items likely to be needed by a family in an emergency - like tarpaulins, food, hunting tools, a medical pack and basic clothing.

Once all of the toys have been sorted the doors will open on the old Waitara Post Office and a mass sale will start.

The sale is likely to be in late May, or possibly Queen's Birthday weekend, but there was a lot of work to be done before then, volunteer Sylvia Stokes said.

Any group on the lookout for toys or books is welcome to contact the Waitara Rotary president Colin Feltoe on 0274456387.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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