Students in the Rotorua area who have to change schools during the year are being helped to make the transition with 100 backpacks.
The backpacks were donated to The Salvation Army’s Rotorua Community Ministries by Smith and Smith to help children and teenagers who have to move schools during the year because of changes in their family's circumstances due to housing insecurity or family changes.
The bags are filled with supplies to help ease the transition into their new school. Each bag contains stationery such as pens, pencils and books, along with a lunch box and drink bottle, but is also set up with extra specific supplies for either a boy or girl, at high school or primary school, with items such as sanitary pads in bags for high school girls.
Putting together the backpacks and visiting the Rotorua team was a powerful experience, Smith and Smith People and Leadership Director Pati Bloor said.
‘The backpack experience was really memorable for the team. We really felt impacted by the poverty stories. To then be warmly welcomed in by another passionate Salvation Army team and be able to do something that we could see would make a difference was an experience one can only grow from.’
The bag donation was the latest of a series of creative efforts by Smith and Smith to support The Salvation Army.
Last year Smith and Smith staff across the country were part of Giving Back teams who worked to come up with creative ways to fundraise for the Army. Each team came up with their own initiative to fundraise. Ideas ranged setting up a coffee stall and a tuck shop to sell food and drink to colleagues, to a joint Trade Me account where staff could donate items to be sold and all money from sales went towards the fundraiser.
In addition to raising $7500, teams also joined The Salvation Army 14 Hours Homeless event, collected food for Army foodbanks, and volunteers as collectors for the Red Shield Appeal.