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Christmas comes early for needy kids

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

It’s still another eight weeks until Christmas, but the spirit of giving has already taken off in Masterton.

Elaine Leggott of the Wairarapa Care Network made it her mission to collect 100 Christmas presents for Masterton children who may otherwise have gone without.

“I just woke up one morning and wanted to do it, thinking I might only get five presents,” Ms Leggott said.

“But it’s just gone nuts and we already have more than 100.”

Ms Leggott rallied support for the project using her Facebook group, Doing a Good Deed, calling for people to donate $10 presents for boys or girls aged 0-12 years old.

Her post was shared 110 times.

“I really didn’t think it would go as well as it did,” she said.

“Everyone just wants to give and donate and be part of something special.

“I was thinking it was going to be a real challenge getting 100 presents, but now we’re just going to go without a limit.”

She said one woman, who had donated six presents, had never been given presents growing up.

“I want to make sure the kids of Masterton get presents,” the woman had told Ms Leggott.

Each of the donated gifts are being stored in a “secret location” in Masterton which Ms Leggott has dubbed “The North Pole – Masterton depot”.

They will be passed on to the Te Awhina Cameron Community House to be given to children around Masterton.

Cameron Community House coordinator Donna Gray said she was so excited to be involved with the selfless project.

“It’s absolutely incredible, you know,” she said.

“The generosity of this town is just immense.

“Times are hard, and as organisations we deal with these families all the time and we’re quite aware of the struggle and the pressure that Christmas time is going to put on these whanau.”

She said it was particularly difficult for families with young children who would not understand why they had not received a present from Santa.

She said Cameron Community House volunteers – “Christmas elves” – would be personally delivering to the children’s homes in the days leading up to Christmas.

“It’s so exciting and I can’t wait.”

People wanting to be involved can drop off presents worth $10 to the ANZ and BNZ bank in Masterton.

For more information, check out the Doing a Good Deed Facebook group.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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