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Strong Support from Wellington Businesses

29 Apr | 2014

Over 170 people attended the Red Shield Appeal business breakfast at the Hotel InterContinental Wellington on Tuesday 29 April. This was an opportunity to thank businesses that already work alongside The Salvation Army, alongside prospective corporate partners, and to encourage them to give to this year’s Red Shield Appeal. All are doing their part to stand side by side with Kiwis in need as The Salvation Army continues to help more than 120,000 people a year.

Simon Marsh opened the proceedings as MC and welcomed guests including The Salvation Army's leaders Commissioners Robert and Janine Donaldson, keynote speaker Mr Peter Hughes, Secretary for Education and Chief Executive for the Ministry of Education, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and others. He also thanked the event’s key sponsors, Vodafone New Zealand and JB Were, along with other sponsors Fuji Xerox, Grant Thornton, Marsh Ltd, Arrow International, Eftpos, InterContinental and Videoplus.

Mr Marsh set a light-hearted challenge to those attending the Auckland breakfast later in the week, saying that he expected that Wellington donations would outstrip Auckland since those in Auckland had ‘gorse pockets’. He emphasised that the gathering should not be seen as a ‘free breakfast’ but a chance for businesses to help people who are born into poverty in New Zealand. While guests were going to enjoy a great breakfast, it was important to remember that some Kiwi kids regularly went to school without breakfast, he added.

Lieut-Colonel Ian Hutson (Divisional Commander, Central Division) prayed a grace over the breakfast. He prayed, ‘We live in a blessed country, but help us to remember those who do not have so much.’

Keynote speaker Peter Hughes addressed the breakfast gathering. He asked that his comments not be reported as they were intended just for those who had chosen to attend the fundraising event.

Guests were able to watch a brief video promoting The Salvation Army’s work that featured Stan Walker’s song ‘Freedom’, written specifically for The Salvation Army and reflecting his admiration of the Army’s work.

Mr Marsh reminded guests that the Red Shield Appeal slogan was about ‘standing side by side with Kiwis in need’. This was about businesses partnering with The Salvation Army to give the Sallies the tools to keep doing what they are doing, he said.

He introduced Susan, the actress who plays ‘Jenny’ in this year’s Red Shield Appeal advertising. Susan read an account of real-life Jenny’s experiences. After a long period of suffering violence, Jenny then found emotional support and practical care including addiction treatment, food parcels and budgeting advice from The Salvation Army that slowly transformed her life and that of her family. Jenny came back from rock bottom and is allowing her story to be told to encourage others to give so that the Army can do even more.

Commissioner Robert Donaldson then spoke, talking about how people take strength from The Salvation Army when they feel lost and alone. The Salvation Army was motivated by the example of Jesus’ strong compassion, he said. ‘We have been here for 131 years and we are committed to Aotearoa New Zealand. Thank you to the many partners and supporters who help us. Is there still need? Yes, there is!’

Red Shield Appeal Chairman Phillip Meyer talked about his long-term commitment to The Salvation Army. ‘The Sallies do the work, and I help them,’ he said. In urging guests to pledge monetary gifts to support The Salvation Army’s work, he said, ‘Please stand side by side with the Sallies to help children trapped in material deprivation.’ He urged people to look at their pledge cards to see if they amount they had written down was ‘right’ or ‘if it needs another zero on the end’. Mr Meyer then passed a donation from him and his wife to Commissioned Donaldson before expressing his thanks to those who had sponsored the fundraising event.

In recognising the event’s ‘Platinum Sponsor’, Vodafone New Zealand, Mr Marsh praised the company for its commitment to building better communities and for their technology services that helped reduce bullying through TXT ‘black lists’ as well as the Vodafone Guardian, which helps parents keep children safe from unwanted calls, TXTs and inappropriate use of the Internet while using Smartphones. Vodafone was represented by Jim Burke (Regional Manager, Enterprise and Government).

Gold sponsor JB Were, an investment and brokerage service, were also thanked for their strong commitment to The Salvation Army. CEO Tom Alexy talked about his company’s commitment to meeting The Salvation Army’s investment goals so that they could continue to serve and meet the needs of many thousands in New Zealand. It was great to be part of the Salvation Army family, he said.

The breakfast closed with a blessing from Lieut-Colonel Lynette Hutson (Secretary for Business Administration). ‘God, help us to stand side by side with the most vulnerable,’ she prayed. ‘May we know what it means to love and give to others.’

A similar breakfast will be held at the Crown Plaza in Auckland on Thursday 1 May. The keynote speaker at this event is Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse.